There are many titles a woman carries throughout her life – girlfriend, fiancée, wife, mom, or grandma. But one title you never think you will carry is widow.
After losing two husbands, one after 28 years of marriage and the other after three years, I am making peace with this title.
Don’t get me wrong; I know what it feels like to have my heart shattered into a thousand pieces. You know life will go on, you just don’t know how you will face it without that special person. I often compare grief to living in a “big bubble” while you watch the rest of the world going on around you.
Eventually, when enough time passes, you must come out of that bubble. When you do you will find that caring people are waiting and ready with advice to help you move forward. They mean well of course, but while some advice is very helpful, other advice is just downright strange.
Not long after my second husband passed, a good friend said to me that “it was a shame that I wouldn’t be able to go out to nice restaurants any more.” To her a single person would never want to sit and eat alone in a nice place. Did she think that single people are relegated to fast food, or family dinner establishments only?
Actually, I frequently eat out with and without friends, but before now I never noticed how many women eat out alone and are comfortable with it.
One friend, who was recently widowed, is known to invite other women dining solo to join her at her table. What a great way to make a new friend, or at least partake in an interesting conversation over dinner.
Other ladies I’ve known go out to concerts, museums and movies. They take up running in 5Ks, working out at a gym, taking up creative hobbies and volunteering at local hospitals.
Personally, I liked to go to antique malls with either of my husbands. So the first time I went without someone, I cried my way through it. Now when I go, I see items that each man would have loved (or would have made fun of). It makes me feel close to them and I catch myself smiling.
For those like myself who are Christians, Isaiah 54: 5 says, “For your Maker is your husband — the LORD Almighty is his name.” Can you think of anyone you would rather have by your side now?
If you can put aside the fear of facing a new life and let go of the guilt which whispers that you don’t have the right to move forward if your spouse is not there to move forward with you, then you will discover a rich, rewarding future.
It’s your life. It may not be the life you thought you would live, but it doesn’t have to be mundane, depressed or lonely. The only person who can move you out of the bubble and make your life special is you. In doing so, I promise that you will honor the memory of that special person who helped you get to this point. Then you will continue to blossom into the person God wants you to become.
About Karen Weaver: Karen S. Weaver is a Christian, writer, journalist, mom to three great adults and grandma to two of the cutest little boys on earth. She resides in Dayton, Ohio where she has worked in community and military newspapers over the last 15 years. Karen lost her first husband of 28 years, Alan, to brain cancer. She lost her second husband of three years, Leonard, to heart failure. Now she wants to bring encouragement and hope to readers of all walks of life.