I’ve always heard it said that you can’t know what someone else is experiencing unless you walk in their shoes. Of course, we all think we know, so we are quick to give our opinions and make judgments as to how someone should be responding to their present situation. Been there, done that! As I continue down this journey called life, I am finding out the hard way that you can only truly know how a situation feels if you are or have been in that situation. Although you may be sympathetic toward me, unless you are a widow, you cannot fully know how I feel. (I pray you won’t have to know for a long, long time!) Before Les got sick, I always wondered why so many people seemed to pull away from the church and other activities in their lives when they faced sickness and/or death. Now that I have been there, I see why more clearly. I also know that it doesn’t mean they’ve pulled away from God.
Every single area of my life has been affected since the loss of my mom and shortly after, my husband, Les. I don’t think I can even explain just how much things have changed for me because of these losses. All of us want our lives to be “normal.” When Mama and Les were both sick, I craved the day everyone would get better and we could return to normal. Daddy had to embrace a “new normal” when Mama was placed in a home and Les and I had to accept our “new normal” as we faced his terminal disease head on.
These past 3 1/2 months since Les moved in with Jesus have been quite an adjustment for me. It is so quiet in my house; no sports playing on the TV, no meals to prepare as I always did, very little laundry to do, and the ironing is WAY down. There is no one to talk to about my day or help me sort out a problem. Decisions have to be made without my partner’s input. Every morning I get up with grand plans, but find myself mostly floundering from one thing to another, unable to focus on anything for very long. I take out my Bible study and spread it out on the table to begin my homework. An hour later, I may or may not have even started it. I just look at it sitting there, knowing I have to work on it. My emotions are like a roller coaster or maybe a better description would be a pendulum that swings back and forth, back and forth. OK! NOT OK! OK! NOT OK! OK! NOT OK! Get the point?
When I leave home, things are different out there in the world, too. Sunday school and church don’t feel right because Les is supposed to be there with me. He was my Sunday school teacher until he got sick and couldn’t teach anymore. Every Sunday, he sat on my right side in church. I feel so, so alone there even with all the other people, including family and friends, sitting all around me. If you are widowed, you understand what I am saying. I just feel out of place.
Going to the grocery store is different now, too. Remember the book, The Scarlet Letter? The woman in it had to wear an A all the time because of what she had done. Now, I haven’t done anything, but I feel like I’m wearing a big flashing neon sign on my body that says “ALONE.” It is a miserable feeling; one I’m sure my mind is causing me to feel. The fact is, most people don’t even notice me, much less see my sign!! Oh, the things our minds can do to us.
My sister and my aunt are also struggling with life since our losses, so I know I’m not completely crazy. I know I am much loved. I know I am not truly alone. I know I have many people I can count on to help me with whatever I need. Yes, I know all this and more, but I am not yet settled in my “new normal.” With time, I feel things will level out for me. Until then, I will just keep on keeping on, with my hand in His hand, as He leads me down the path He has chosen for me. It may take me 5 times longer to get something done, but it will get done.
I pray you have a week filled with joy and peace.
Lots of love, Sharon