Monday, September 26, 2011

How Long Will This Go On?

How long have you been widowed? Days? Weeks? Months? Years?

In the first weeks it seems like you cry non-stop and you never expected it to hurt like this! Like you're flooded. You didn't know you had so many tears. Then you get a repreive. You only cry a couple times a day. After a month or two, a couple times a week.

Sooner or later--there is no schedule, each goes at her own pace--the crying gets down to a couple times a month . . . a couple times a year . . . These crying jags are like labor pains in reverse. While labor pains start out mild and far apart, grief starts out painful, fast, and intense. The next round of "grief pains" are a few seconds shorter, a little further apart. They still hit, but most of the time each new round is a bit diminished; they are a little weaker. Or perhaps you're a little stronger. Brace yourself for birthdays, holidays and anniversary pains. Like labor pains, you know they'll come. Prepare for the wave. But these, too, will become easier to bear.

If the "Grief pains" have done their job well, like birth contractions, something new has been born. When the tears diminish, don't think it's because they've dried up or you've become numb and indifferent. Tears have watered you like raindrops, and you've grown and transformed into the resilient, fruitful orchard of a woman that God had planned all along.

When we look at an apple, we see a piece of fruit with seeds. When God looks at an apple, He sees an orchard. I heard that the other day. It's true, isn't it? I think God sees an orchard when He looks at widows, too.

You might think He sees just an ordinary woman, but I think He sees the real you--the courage, resiliance, and faith. God also sees the legacy of blessing--the seeds--you'll leave for future generations by the choices you make today. There is a lot more "fruit" to be produced in your life, and many more "trees" to grow which will provide the shade of God's goodness to the world because of you. What sort of plans do you think God has in store for you?

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 17:8 (English Standard Version)


  1. Thank you so much for this post!!! I lost my husband 5 months ago. I realized I was crying not EVERY day, but it is weird because those tears will sometimes just start falling for no apparent reason.

  2. This is an encouraging post. I guess I had never considered that my grief could bring fruit. Thank-you for this post and all the other ones.

  3. I lost my Ben about 3 1/2 months ago. Seems like after his memorial in late July, I have actually cried more. I do have a few days go by like last week where I didn't cry for 4 days, but then I had 2 or 3 very tearful days. I know it's all "normal" and that I need to cry to release the grief, but sometimes the yearning and the ache I feel for him is so severe that I sometimes think I won't survive it.

    Thank goodness I go to a grief support group and I belong to several online groups and blogs about widowhood so I know I'm not going crazy.


  4. It is 5 months tomorrow since I lost my dear husband. I am functioning well, doing all the things I should. As for the tears - they have levelled off - there is no telling when, where or how long they will last when they do come - but I find that I always feel much better after a good cry - physically better and more at peace with the situation. The pain is very great at times but the disbelief that it has happened still comes and I have to pinch myself sometimes to convince myself that it isn't a nightmare that I am going to wake up from. The pain of missing him is one thing, but I am also finding that the pain of having to let him go is crippling at times - I am moving on by default because life doesn't hold still. His clothes are still in place, his coat hangs in the closet, his shoes are still on the rack, I have done very little in this area yet. To summarise, the tears are fewer but the pain seems deeper. There are, however, times where I can momentarily forget and have a laugh with a friend. My mind is still very skittish. The Lord is the anchor for my soul at this time.

  5. Grief is always unpredictable! I have learned to view tears as my friend after being a widow for two and a half years. It is comfort to know it is normal and necessary in our journey towards healing of our hearts. Not to discourage anyone, but, I found the second year to be harder than the first as the reality of our loss really sinks in. The tears do lessen over time as God's grace pours in to love us back to wholeness. He walks with us each day and brings comfort as we cling to Him.

    I found it interesting that I went from this post to yesterday's beautiful video and had a good cry as I drank in all the beautiful photography that reminded me of all the outdoor adventures my husband and I shared! We never know what might trigger a new wash of tears. Just know that it is always a positive and a gift from God! Thank you for walking with us, Ferree, with your beautiful, eloquent writing!

  6. I thank each of you for your comments and insights today. It's interesting to see the various points you're at, and so helpful to others on this path. And so encouraging to know that although it's hard, this won't last forever.

  7. Ferree, it will be 2 years for me on Nov. 10th and I am still crying every day sometimes several times a day. The pain is no longer 24/7 and the tears don't last as long. I guess I'm an unusual widow, but my personality is such that I feel things very deeply.

  8. Dear Candy, Thank you for sharing your experience which shows how different grief can be for each person. Personality type certainly plays a part, plus the many additional losses and life changes you've suffered. Yet, I'm amazed at the continual help you offer others and wonder if there will be an extremely abundant "orchard" in your future, given all the "watering." May God bless you in a special way today as you cling to Him.

  9. Wow, Ferree, I never thought of being an orchard for God and of my tears watering me for God's purposes for fruitfulness in me. I wonder what He's going to do with/through me? I certainly keep watering myself with those tears! It's much better than in the beginning, but I still have "grief days" where I cry more. Today is one of those days.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am not always able to reply but your remarks mean a lot to me and will appear as soon as possible.

Here are some tips for commenting:
Remember to click the Publish button when you are done.
Choosing the anonymous identity is easiest if you do not have your own blog.
Using a computer rather than a cell phone seems to work better. Thanks again!