Monday, March 28, 2011

Will I Ever Be Whole Again?


Sandra P. Aldrich is a popular speaker
and award winning author.

Losing her husband to brain cancer when her son and daughter were 10 and 8, my guest today says she has her "Ph.D in the School of Hard Knocks," where she's learned to treasure the reality of God’s abiding presence.

Ferree:  Sandra, welcome to Widows Christian Place! I've got to tell you that last week the readers here were talking about how being widowed feels like being cut in half. A question on many minds was, "How can I go on with only half a heart?"
     At the same time, you and I were sending some emails back and forth. I read your bio, visited your website, and was amazed to find that question must have been on your mind, too. You wrote a book entitled, "Will I Ever Be Whole Again?"
     I've learned that coincidences like these happen for a reason, and I love how God brings people together! So, please, do tell, will we ever be whole again?

Sandra: Yes, we will be whole again in time—if we choose to be. Everyone in this pitiful world hurts sooner or later. And while we don’t have a choice about the grief that enters our life, we do have a choice about how we will react to it. Yes, we cry. Yes, we miss that dear person. Yes, we grieve the life we had planned, hoped for, prayed for. But we can allow the Lord to use our painful experience to grow us into a better person or we can choose to be bitter—blaming Him and resenting those who haven’t suffered yet. My Kentucky grandmother used to say, “Honey, there are some things in life that all you can do with ‘em is bear ‘em.” To that I would add, “And we bear them best by hanging onto the Lord.”

Ferree:  I was so sorry to hear your husband died of brain cancer, and shocked, too! I'd never known anyone with brain cancer, but when I started the Memorial Wall here, I found way too many women were widowed by it. What day did your life change forever?
Sandra: Our son had just turned 10 and our daughter was 8 when my 39-year-old husband/their dad died of brain cancer. But for the previous 16 months they had witnessed the effects of the disease and the results of massive chemotherapy.

Ferree: That must have been really hard. What was the most helpful thing people did for you? Sandra: They listened to me without judgment. They didn’t tell me to get over my grief. They didn’t go on and on about their own long-ago grief but just hugged me, told me they were praying for me and cried with me.

Ferree: On the other hand, what was the worst thing people did?
Sandra: Those who hadn’t lost anyone to death—yet--told me to get over my grief. (We don’t get over grief. We get THROUGH it.) They told me endless stories of folks who supposedly had it worse than I did. They quoted Romans 8:28 to me while I stood next to my young husband’s casket and then they went out to dinner. (Romans 8:28 IS TRUE. But I needed to get to the point where I could say it to myself.) They told me they knew exactly how I was feeling even as their first and only husband stood next to them. They told me not to worry since I would remarry quickly. (I chose not to even date in the following years.)
Ferree: What was the best thing you did for yourself and the children? 
Sandra: The best thing I did for myself was NOT make any major changes for the first year. I also concentrated on my young children and remained unmarried as I stayed in the Word and claimed Isaiah  54:5—“For your Maker is your Husband. The Lord Almighty is His name.” By hanging onto the Lord, I could accept—in the right time—a new career in Christian publishing.

Ferree: We're out of the holidays at the moment, but they're always a challenge. What did you do during the holidays, especially since the children were young?
Sandra: My husband died just a couple days after Christmas. And his favorite dinner was the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Thus, the only way to get through those early holidays was by changing our usual traditions and finding ways to help others. Our favorite solution was to help the Salvation Army by serving meals and delivering food boxes to the elderly and ill.

Sandra, thank you for your time today! We'll continue this interview on Wednesday and take a look at two of your books on Thursday. Your love for the Lord and testimony of His faithfulness is a great encouragement! 
ferree

4 comments:

  1. I felt the same way about Romans 8:28. I can say it now, with joy! I have told people to consider what they would want someone to tell their daughter if she were in my shoes. I hope it makes them carefully consider their words of "comfort" the next opportunity they have to comfort someone. --Kelly L.

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  2. I liked reading that Sandra and her kids helped serve meals at the Salvation Army the holidays after husband/dad died. It made a good use of their grief. --Sarah

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  3. The things people said to her hit home for me. My husband died suddenly and a comment that hurt so much was, "You're so lucky he didn't suffer." I was THANKFUL he didn't suffer, but I wasn't feeling very lucky. Throughout these past five months, I have learned a LOT about what not to say to someone who has lost a loved one.

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  4. We'll hear more from Sandra on Wednesday, and see a video of her on Thursday! :) I think you'll really appreciate her words because she knows what it's like to be widowed, but she also knows what the Lord can do. Her words are full of hope and God's promises that we can hold onto. Love hearing from each of you--hugs to all.

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