Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How ARE You?

Have you heard this question enough? How Are You? 

Writing your own "grief letter" can be a cathartic and useful thing to do when faced with trying to answer this over and over again. It helps your friends know how you truly are because they'll take time to read it, and you won't be caught off guard and mumble, "I'm fine, just fine," meanwhile wondering how in the world they expect you to define the universe with a simple answer.

If you've attended GriefShare, you might recall that Dr. H. Norman Wright suggests writing such a "grief letter" and provides some samples. Today I have one for you too, posted on Facebook by a widow who's allowed me to share it with you.

So take time to read Kristin's letter, and then try composing your own. Nothing fancy, nothing perfect. Life isn't perfect so your letter doesn't have to be either. Just heartfelt and honest. It'll help. If you're going to an event where you'll see a lot of people who will ask the dreaded question, print off copies on 3x5 cards. Don't write it when you're angry, but do let your friends know specific ways they can help you or pray for you.

Here's how Kristin did hers on her Facebook wall:

People ask how I am because it's a common American greeting, the polite thing to do, and they don't know what else to say. Then I don't know what to say-- it takes to long to explain. I finally posted the following on my wall.

People ask me how I am, and I'm never sure what to say. "I'm OK." I am. I'm financially secure, I have a lot of help (sometimes too much...), I have two great kids, and I have summer plans that I'm looking forward to. I know God has plans for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me. I know I'll be fine. I'm OK.

But my heart hurts. There have been some days when it's like a little scab, and my heart gives a sad, wistful, smile. On those days, I think "yes, I can live like this, and enjoy life. Life is good." I'm hoping for more of those days, because it's more common that my heart feels like half of it has been chopped off. My heart gives off silent sobs that play in the background of everything I think and do. I have comfort in where Adam is, and God's plan for my life, but that doesn't keep my heart from hurting. In spite of all this, I still know I'll be fine. I'm OK.

So when you ask me how I am, know that I'm not trying to be misleading, I really am OK. But also know that I miss Adam, and that will never change. Some days I miss him more than others, but even on the days I miss him the most (which has nothing to do with how the day is actually going), I still know I'll be fine. I'm OK.
Copyright 2013 by Kristin Kay Smith, used with permission.

Now it's your turn--- How are YOU?
 

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for this - this is exactly how I feel, only didn't know how to express it quite so eloquently. Karen D.

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  2. I wanted to write something to tell people how I feel but didn't want people to think I am looking for sympathy. This is beautiful and has given me some good ideas of how to do what has been on my heart to do.God bless

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  3. I too am okay, that is physically, financially,materially . . . but then there is reality - my heart sobs also - "just missing him" I would like to share something I wrote for Father's Day - June 16, 2013 as a tribute of Love to Tom / and you might say a sacrifice of praise for his life.

    CELESTIAL REUNION . . .

    It seems like yesterday
    that you quietly slipped away
    I've cried until, I don't believe
    there are anymore tears left
    But... when I think of the beauty
    of your life and how happy you are
    now, I can smile through my tears,
    Awaiting that glorious day, when I
    know we will see each other again,
    We will know, even as we are known.
    I rejoice in knowing that never again
    will you suffer from comtempteous deeds
    or suffer from unkind scorn, I rejoice
    in believing with all my heart you are
    free and happy.
    I believe you might even have a front row
    seat before the majestic throne, knowing
    you are truly one of his precious own....
    Your life taught me so very much,
    Sometimes you looked at me with such love
    and would say "I don't deserve you, I married
    out of my league"
    The truth is dear Thomas "I am the one who married
    out of my league and didn't deserve you"
    I was so blest and count them always.
    I had always heard about who Christ was, but
    never really saw him util I married you.
    You showed me everyday in everyday the Love
    of the Lord Jesus.
    Living, Loving, Laughing, walking, talking
    through your life.
    I rejoice in the assurance of knowing and
    look forward to our Celestial Reunion, when
    our true souls will reunite and so shall we
    be forever with the Lord.

    I grieve for your physical presence and spiritual
    aura and guidance, but I do not sorrow, because God has promised
    me in His word . . . "In that day, we will know
    even as we are known . . and . . that to live is
    Christ and to die is gain.

    Looking forward to that Celestial Reunion
    where we will meet again . . and so shall
    we forever be with the Lord.

    So until then . . .

    Just a simple good-night

    Until then....

    L/dodi

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  4. That's just beautiful, dear Dodi. Hugs to you and the other commenters too. And special thanks to Kristin for sharing her letter.

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  5. My wife died last Christmas day and I'm raising my eight year old daughter alone. I get asked this question quite a bit and my knee jerk response is always I'm all-right. Not true but it's what people want to hear.

    I ask myself that same question everyday and it is getting a bit better. Tomorrow would have been our 15th anniversary of being married.

    Faith in Christ is what keeps me going I'm not sure why my beloved wife was taken away at 40 years old but I'll see her again. Looking for a peak and tired of being in the valley but know it will come.

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  6. Dear Anonymous, I'm so sorry for your loss. Death is no respecter of days, and I hope in the years to come Christmas will take on profound meaning to you and your daughter.
    Please know you are welcome here. There's not much out there for Christian men who are widowed but we can understand each other. If there's a particular concern you'd like to see addressed sometime, please don't hesitate to let me know.

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    1. Thanks Ferree, there is not much out there for Christian men and a friend from Apex directed me to this site. If you know any sites for men dealing with the loss of a wife I would be grateful. Thanks...

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  7. Dear Anonymous,
    We must have a mutual friend at Apex. :) Please say 'hello' to him/her for me! I was in a house church there for a few years before we had to move here to SC.
    Although there aren't many resources for widowers as compared to those for widows, there are some, so take heart. And always remember that God is on your side. He will never leave you or forsake you. He knows your situation, and there are good plans for your life that he will complete, Phil. 1:6.
    The first place I'd refer you to is GriefShare. I know there are a few groups in your area. On the DVD's you'll hear from widowers and the general knowledge about grief will not only help you recognize what you're going through, but will also give you freedom to release it in God's timing.
    www.griefshare.org and type your zipcode in the search box to find a group.
    Did you know Jeremy Camp was widowed? He has a book, 'I Still Believe' that talks about his experience and remarriage. C.S. Lewis was widowed, and wrote "A Grief Observed" which is very raw and at times hopeless. No resolution is offered but it may help put words to how you are feeling. Once you can identify those feelings you can begin to deal with them. H. Norman Wright was widowed, too, and his book is "Reflections of A Grieving Spouse." He's a Christian counsellor. If you can relate to any of these men--their ages, their circumstances, etc--their books might help.
    Online there are various pages by widowers/for widowers. Here's a blogger I just found:
    http://comfort2themourning.wordpress.com/for-the-widower/
    Also, R.C.Sproul a Presbyterian theologian who recently lost his wife has a few blog posts that will easily surface with a google search if you're interested.
    For general/secular info for widowers, here's a website based on a book that looked pretty good to me (I think the book is still at Centerville Library where I used to work)
    http://www.widowerstoolbox.com/
    I hope this helps a bit, and if you have some specific questions about being a widower, I'll do everything I can to help you find some biblical answers. My husband, Tom's first wife died from ovarian cancer when he was 40, leaving him with a 10-year-old son, so he might have some good things to share with you too.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Ferree. I truly appreciate the response and the information. I emailed you a bit ago and you did respond. My name is Christian Nostrom and my friend at Apex is Chris Collins. I'll be sure to take a look at these sites. God bless...

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