Weaving through widowhood is a process we go through as we find a way to blend the life we had with our husband into a future without him. His physical presence is gone. We live on and discover things about ourselves we may have left behind while he was in our life, and even new things we may not have known while he was here. We are weaving a tapestry that incorporates these new things in the patterns and designs we made during our marriage.
Navigating the road of grief is about finding the grace and strength to scale our inner mountains. I found hope and courage during those first couple years by reading the stories of other widows. I needed to know I wasn’t alone and what I was feeling was some form of normal… whatever that is.
I found writing my feelings and thoughts down helped me release what felt trapped inside me. The chaos of grief that swallowed me needed to be expressed. It seemed like when I tried to express it to other people, they didn’t want to hear it, they couldn’t relate to it, or they wanted to give answers that would immediately solve it and if I didn’t accept their solution, I was the problem.
I learned I needed to carefully vet who I spoke to about my grief. I joined a couple different GriefShare groups along the way and those were very helpful. It was a safe place to discuss the pain with people who were also dealing with grief and loss. The videos and workbook were valuable tools to help me sort out my questions and feelings and focus on specific topics in a way that didn’t feel threatening.
When I found my first widows’ group that met in person, I got really excited. This group has been invaluable. I am finally making friends with ladies who know and understand in ways my family and friends from before this loss simply don’t. It’s a fellowship anchored on a shared experience, despite each experience also being uniquely personal. We carry each other as only sister widows can. For me, it’s a haven, a safe place to be. I feel accepted as me… even when I am still learning who that is now. I’m not as afraid to birth a new life and keep changing as I discover who I might be. It’s a place where I’m learning to laugh again. It’s joy, adventure, meals with friends, laughter, heartache, and pain… all mingled together in a perfectly imperfect and genuine bundle of caring and sharing friends with the same thread called widow that is being woven into the tapestry of each our lives.
My relationship with God and my faith are my biggest and most important gifts that keep me sane and anchored. Praying and pouring my heart out to God have truly been my lifeline. God keeps reminding me how much He loves me. When I read my Bible each day, He talks to me through His Word. He answers my prayers and keeps sustaining me through pressures and pains I know I can’t handle alone. I’ve grown in my relationship with Him more than at any other time in my life. He is faithful and available at all hours of the day and night.
I joined a women’s Bible study group about a year ago. This has been another good choice for me. It’s taking me a long time to build friendships here, but our common love of God and the Bible gives me a starting place to build on. I’m beginning to develop deeper connections with a few of these gals now. It shows me I am healing as I create a life that is building outside the pain of the grief and loss.
Don’t believe for a moment your best days are behind you. We can’t and don’t live in the past. We must be available and exist in our present. We need to identify and pursue a plan and purpose for our future to really embrace life and be alive. It is possible. In the early days and weeks, it is very difficult to see. As we heal, we begin to realize this truth.
Time keeps moving forward and there’s no way to stop it as long as we are alive. The pain and transition of grief has many layers. It has been a difficult progression. The depth of the wound this loss brought was so profound it changed both me and my world. I’m approaching almost four years now and the edges are not quite as sharp as they were. I’m beginning to find some beautiful colors to weave into this journey of widowhood to contrast the very dark threads that make up most of the last few years. It is my prayer you will find that as well. Stay strong. God bless you.