Monday, January 27, 2014

A Long-Ago Email

This old e-mail I recently found was like looking at a snapshot of my first year as a widow. I thought parts of it would interest you. Since it's personal I changed details of who wrote to me, but my reply is the real thing. Oh, and it's obviously on a "good" day. Good days didn't always happen, but eventually they outweighed the bad.

Dear Ferree,

I have a question about grieving but I don't want it to hurt you. If you don't feel up to answering or even reading this, please delete it now!

Something awful happened in our church--grief has struck again. A family lost their son in a car accident last week.

They are strong in the Lord, and this is what I question. Will their strong faith hinder them from grieving? Do you feel it is disloyal to God to grieve for the loss of your husband? I believe your husband is blessed to be in Heaven with Jesus, but you are still dealing with the loss of not having him in your daily life and helping you raise your children.

I hope you don't feel guilty for any grief you feel! (I hope I'm making sense and not causing you more pain).
In God's love,
A Pastor's Wife


Dear Pastor's Wife,

What a good question, and it's good to be able to talk honestly about it. I never felt it was disloyal to God to grieve over my husband's death. The challenge continues to be to let the grief out in a healthy ways, so that it's not denied and it doesn't turn to bitterness. What helps me most is to continually give Bruce and my life back to God; to lay it on the altar, so to speak. Not easy, and not something to recommend to the grieving parents, but you could pray God would give them insight into that idea.

You should have seen me the first couple days. I almost became physically ill, didn't sleep at all, lost 5-10 lbs, cried several times daily--great, heaving sobs, not polite little sniffling.

The best advice I received was a few hours after Bruce died. A friend stopped in briefly--didn't even take his coat off, and told me to "Lean into the wind." Those four little words meant so much; they told me to face the grief, open my arms to it, and experience it fully. Thus doing, it's been the most incredible experience of my life. I've never felt such pain before, yet at moments I've never felt so alive either. I cherish every minute. Every breath is sacred.

Everyone handles grief differently, though. I feel my experience has been like this so far because almost every week I meet a stranger who tells me they've been praying for me every day. I can't get over it! I just tell them their prayers are very effective, and "Don't quit!"

What's important to me is that people remember my husband. I can't tell you how desperately I need that. His birthday was Friday and several people sent me "Thinking of you" cards. It was also good when my sis-in-law and brother phoned me almost every day for the first couple weeks. But if it had been anyone else, or more than they, it might have worn me out.

So be sensitive to this grieving family, but do try. Any expression is better than none, no matter how strong they may appear. God bless you in ministering to these dear people, and thankyoufor listening to me!

love,
Ferree

Has anyone ever asked you if grieving was somehow disloyal to God? Could you relate to any of the ways I said I felt in my letter?

May today be one of those "good" days for you,

ferree

5 comments:

  1. Ferree how would you respond or what would you say to a widow whom her and her husband had just moved into a new town, not having been established there only for about a year and a half.
    The widow is unemployed, unknown and hasn't met a lot of people. She hasn't been privileged or blessed to hear those wonderful words "I'm praying for you" all his and her family live out of state and pretty much caught up in their own lives, she grieves in silence.
    I don't feel guilty for my grief, it's just that it is such a lonely journey. Yes I have faith, but I'm not a super saint, just a tired one. Thanks & God Bless.

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  2. p.s.... to the above.... no one remembers my husband or seldom ever mentions him. No one remembers of how absolutely wonderful, giving and loving he was and when I speak of him to those who never knew him - sometimes I am looked at like someone from the twilight zone. Just tired. thanks again. Grieving in Silence.

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    Replies
    1. Dear, dear Anonymous ~ I feel your pain. It's just been a little over a year since my dear husband and best friend left this planet. Grieving is lonely. No one knew your husband like you did, no one can take his place. Only God can fill the void left by your husband's absence.

      I found a Christian widow's group and a church and have been blessed by both. I have read my Bible daily, plus devotionals, and books for widows, and I pray throughout every day. God is my husband now, and He knows my heart, He knows my needs, and He bottles my tears.

      We all grieve differently. It is not something we can just turn off, to me it will be with me always, just not so raw. Knowing my husband is with God, gives me joy and peace and I know one day we will be reunited. God is my strength when I am weak, He has promised to never leave or forsake me.

      You are in my prayers. You can email me through my blog profile, if you wish. You can talk to me about your dear husband and your life together. It really helps to talk, to remember.

      Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

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  3. Dear Anonymous, How my heart goes out to you. I've been in a new town for about a year and a half too, and although I'm remarried now, I can easily imagine what it'd be like if Tom died so soon after our move. The loneliness would be immeasurable! My heart would ache and ache, the grief would be so draining, and such a constant weight. I'm so sorry you're in this circumstance. Please know that I will pray for you! And feel free to email me at wcplace@gmail.com. Better yet, if you are on Facebook, send me a friend request so I can add you to one of our Lifeboat groups where you will find a "boatload" of widows who understand and will be your friends. Also be sure to find a local church, even if you have to visit many of them. Look for one that has a GriefShare group you can attend. Just type your zipcode into the search box at GriefShare.org. Please stay in contact with me and as we pray and seek avenues of understanding and friendships for you the Lord will move on your behalf. He deeply loves and cares for you, even though all seems silent, and He will see you through this. ((hugs))

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  4. Dear Ferree ~ This was a wonderful, thoughtful post and will be a help to many.

    Love and hugs and thanks for this blog.

    FlowerLady

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