I love the widows who attend my church. They fill the back pew at Sunday morning worship service. I never thought about them much before I became a widow. They were just there: the little old ladies who lived alone, who remained faithful to God and served in the church. Then I became one of them – not by choice, but rather by default. They welcomed me; they put their arms around me; they cried with me; they understood my pain and my loss as only another widow could.

Right after Ray died, while still in a daze, I left the hospital, and returned to my home. I pulled into my garage, and realized I was ALONE. I got out of my car and walked over to Ray’s car –the car he restored and loved, the car we had taken on so many road trips. Since his illness, it had remained un-driven in our garage. I put my arms around that little sports car and cried while I hugged it.

After a while, I finally gathered enough strength to enter my home. All was as WE had left it, Ray and I. His shoes were still by his chair, his hat was on the dresser. I felt overwhelmed!

The phone rang; I did not want to answer it. Something inside of me said, pick up the phone, it’s OK. I picked up the phone and said, “Hello.” A familiar voice said, “Cathy, Cathy, are you OK? I was just sitting here, and I felt I should call and check on you.” Then this 92 year old widow, from my church, began to comfort me with her words of compassion and understanding.

My grief at times has been all consuming, even overwhelming at times. However, through it all, I recognized the hand of my God in my life. I am grateful that my God watched over me by inspiring a widow angel to be my shelter in a storm.

As she reached out to me, I felt a sense of hope and possibility. This woman was also a widow and one who could relate to my pain, although I also felt a sense of peace and joy about her! Her husband had passed, and she was still alive and, in that moment of service, giving me a sense of hope for peace and joy! My husband had passed and I am still alive!!!
I am grateful for the empathy that comes from my fellow widows. I am especially grateful for the widows who attend my church. I love these women who take the time to care and support each other. Their example of being at peace and their sense of happiness became my inspiration.
Perhaps our pain and loss can be alleviated by service to one another. Service just might be one of the secrets to moving forward.