Monday, October 26, 2020

Letter to Widow About Her Husband's Suicide


Dear ______,

Greetings to you in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ. I'm sorry to say we have never met, but if we ever do I hope you will know that my heart was touched by your husband's death. I don't know if you get the Plain Values magazine at your house, but I write a column in it every month called The Widows Path. I was a widow many years ago, and since then I've written a book and reached thousands of widows, so  I'm familiar with some of the choices you now face. A kind friend asked me to send you my book. I'm truly sorry for your loss. 

Widowhood is always a shock. Even when a wife knows it's coming, it seems overwhelming. It's hard to know where to begin. Although I don't know you, God does, so I will pray to Him for you. Our God, who knows your needs much better than I do, will answer in his perfect time. Don't give up. Many people have days of grief when it's very hard to feel God's love, but it's still there like the sun behind the clouds.

Widowhood is one of the biggest challenges in life that a woman will ever face. Widows need widows and other brave people who will walk them through it. Watch for the assortment of people God might send your way. You'll find others who've survived and eventually thrived---eventually. 

Please give yourself time. Do not be bothered by people's comments. When their turn at grief comes, they will probably hear the same thoughtless things so pray for them and let God deal with them. 

Please understand that your husband did not "commit" suicide as many commonly refer to it. That's really like saying someone "committed" cancer. It's complicated and mysterious; we often think that we could have prevented it, that we might have caused it, or that it was a selfish choice our loved one made. But those explanations are not the real reason; we are not God so we should not make judgments. Your husband died of suicide like others have died of a heart attack or work accident. Death in any form is always devastating. 

But suicide is complicated and it's prudent to seek wise counselling. Ask your church leaders if they know anyone you could talk to. Also ask your doctor, a funeral home director or the people who lead grief support groups in your area if they know of a good counselor. A grief support group would be good to attend. You will learn about grief and what to expect, and you will find out you are not alone. But also seek individual counselling. A few sessions for yourself or for other family members might be extremely helpful.  

I will close now. I'm sorry, this turned out much longer than I intended; my words are probably not what you really need right now. Much better would be your own. "Give sorrow words" is a famous line from old. It's good advice so I hope you can release your own words of sorrow out in prayers, writing a journal, or letters, or talking to a friend who will simply listen. 

May God bless you through this valley,

with His love,


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