In reading the post Widowhood Prepared Me For a Pandemic by Carla Duff, from  April 16, 2020, I was struck by several things. It was written three days after we found out my husband had a mass on his pancreas, which turned out to be stage four pancreatic cancer. For me, the pandemic and widowhood came at me hand-in-hand. But, I did not let the pandemic hold me back. Getting outdoors to walk and hike helped me keep a little sanity. I knew fresh air and sunshine were good for me.  The picture at the top of this post is from Red Mountain in Birmingham, Alabama, where we lived for six years, and where we were living when we got the diagnosis. The quote is from the song “High Steppin’” by the Avett Brothers. 

After my husband died, the effects of widowhood were probably enlarged because of COVID. It took a lot more time to get through all the paperwork because I was talking to people working at home and often, though they were all very kind, they had no clue how to help me. He died two weeks after his official retirement, before he ever received his first social security or pension check. All of that had to be changed to me. Not to mention the nightmare of the IRS and stimulus check fiasco. 

His funeral was smaller than it would have been, but I felt blessed that we had chosen, just a year and a half before, where we were going to be buried and purchased our plot. We chose a small, family owned and operated funeral home and cemetery and I could not have asked for a better place to be under the circumstances. They did all they could to allow us to have 50-60 people to attend. 

I tried to build up my immune system, but I did not fear COVID. After all, I felt like the worst thing to happen had already happened – I’d lost my husband. 

Looking back at last year, sometimes it feels like it happened to someone else because so much is a blur. Yes, the pandemic and widowhood could have done me in, but God was and is with me. I was, and am, not alone during this time of grief.


Angie Bell was born in Georgia but raised in Florida to where she recently returned after six years in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a former teacher who loves hiking, photography, and writing, often combining all three.

After planning for several years, working on a way to live on a shoestring budget, Angie’s husband of 41 years put in for early retirement so they could move back home. They put their house on the market and had a contract within four days. Less than two weeks later her husband was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. They decided to transfer his care and move back to Jacksonville, Florida, renting a furnished apartment and hoping for a miracle. One month later he was gone. After her third move in less than a year, Angie is now in Tampa where her grandchildren live, trying to find her way in her new life. God, in His mercy, has put numerous other widows in her life and a new empathy for this sisterhood she never would have chosen.