Monday, October 9, 2017

Aftermath of Grief and Widowhood

From the Google dictionary:

  af·ter·math
  ˈaftərˌmaTH
    noun  the consequences or aftereffects of a significant unpleasant event.

From "Ferree's dictionary:"

wid·ow·hood
ˈwidōˌho͝od
noun:  a significant unpleasant event!


Does the "significant unpleasant event" of widowhood include aftermaths? Indeed it does! The list of possible aftermaths can be as varied as each person involved, and as unique as each individual. There are financial effects, social hurdles, grief issues, career changes, estate decisions, family relationships, health effects, and immense loneliness to navigate. May I give you a ray of hope though? In time, God can give you the strength and wisdom to work through all of these. 

But there is one aftereffect that I seldom see discussed. Please chime in with your thoughts on this particular aftermath--it might be one you've not considered yet--but unless widows confront it, it will prove an ongoing battle. I'm talking about temptation, specifically the temptation of giving in to bitterness.

temp·ta·tion
tem(p)ˈtāSH(ə)n
noun
1. a desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.
2. a thing or course of action that attracts or tempts someone.

bit·ter·ness
ˈbidərnəs

noun
1. sharpness of taste; lack of sweetness.
2. anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly; resentment.

When life changes forever in an instant, there's no going back. We can't pretend it never happened. We grieve because we loved, and we can never forget because we still love them! The person died, but our love for them did not, and it will not. 

The emotions are so strong! The memories so vivid! The longing so painful! 

I know!

I'm often dismissed by widows now and I'm ok with that. I was widowed seventeen years ago and I've been remarried for fifteen years. I totally understand. Had I met someone like me when I was first widowed, I would have dismissed her too. I would have thought the same thing that widows assume about me: "Oh, she's married now. She's fine, she's lucky, blessed, happy and "over it!" 

But the only difference between my first year of widowhood and today is that I've learned how to deal with this one aftermath: the temptation of bitterness.

Please visit again in the days ahead for five points I still return to when the aftermath of bitterness tempts me to wallow in it. If this topic is personal for you too, don't hesitate to comment or email. I won't be able to answer any emails individually, but I will be happy to address them in this blog if I can. 

ferree
used with permission by Steve Hastings

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