Today is a benchmark in time.
Five years ago today, Les left this earth to begin eternity with Jesus
and I began my role as a widow.
What is it about the 5 year mark? I know when Mama had breast cancer, passing 5 years and remaining cancer free was considered very significant. Five years ought to be enough time to get over anything, right? That’s what I thought, too, but I’ve found out differently. It seems that losing a spouse is something from which one never completely recovers.
Life moves on, but it isn’t the same. There is just this hole in your heart that only a soul mate can fill. Busyness passes the days, but it doesn’t fill the emptiness. In fact, sometimes it actually exacerbates it. Most days, I am fine, but then there are those days that I’m not even slightly fine. On those days, my life feels like this picture of what had to be torn out of my house because of Hurricane Matthew. This pile of household debris serves as a monument to how my life feels more than I like to admit; a big, jumbled, unsettled mess!
Les always said I over-analyze too much and that’s probably true. But I try to find life lessons; things that help me, and hopefully others, muddle through the difficulties of this life. So I’d like to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned over this past 5 years. Some may apply to you, but others may just be my own personal lessons.
Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Sure, it gets easier, but the scar always remains. Before walking in these shoes of widowhood, I thought it was ridiculous for someone NOT to be okay after a year. Just goes to show you how quick we are to jump to conclusions of which we know nothing about. I think I’ve shared this with you before, but one of my sweet neighbors lost her husband almost 35 years ago and when I asked her if it gets better, she teared up and said “No.”
Life goes on even though you’d rather it didn’t. Let’s face it. When we hurt, we want the world to stop and hurt with us. But it doesn’t. It’s just the cycle of life that keeps turning and turning and turning.
Widowhood sucks. I hope that doesn’t offend anyone, but it’s true. No matter how many friends you have and how busy you stay, it’s a lonely life. At the end of the day, you come home to an empty house with no one to share your ups and downs. There is no one to whom you can vent your frustrations or to help you work through them. That is one of the things I most miss. I think having Les to talk to made me a better person. He helped me stay leveled.
It can be hard on your self-worth. Watching women beat down a track toward my almost 87-year-old daddy and then recognizing my path is overgrown from lack of traffic makes me feel ugly and undesirable. Thankfully, my self-worth isn’t based on how many men show interest in me! My dad tells me nothing is wrong with me, but rather that men have a built-in radar about women. Les always said men can smell a woman who’s interested. Apparently, my “smell” says I’m not interested!!! Maybe the right one just hasn’t shown up yet.
We are all reluctant members of this huge “club.” Most of my neighbors are widows. I bet you know lots of them yourself. 13 million of us live in the USA, but none of us want to be in it.
It makes you more aware of how much we assume about one another. People always tell me I’m such a strong person. Maybe so, but most of the time I don’t feel very strong. Just because I choose to smile most days doesn’t mean I am always okay. And just because I have friends and family doesn’t mean my Saturday nights are already filled up. We all are guilty of assuming someone else is there for those in difficult situations. Be assured I am pointing to myself first as I say this.
What’s really ironic about my list is that feeling these things causes me guilt and that just adds another layer to an already thick palette!
Of course, there is one more lesson I’d like to share with you and it is by far the most important one of all.
God loves me. He hasn’t forsaken me. The precious Word of God is packed full of promises for all of us and when you read it, you will see that God takes time to point out those that are widowed and orphaned. He knew we would need special attention and He took time to say that. It warms my heart to know how much God cares for me. Never once have I felt that He has let me down. Do I like everything that has happened? No!! But that doesn’t mean He doesn’t care. God has promised that He has a plan for my life that includes a future and a hope. I choose to stand firm on that promise. What does that future look like? Only God knows the answer to that, but if it’s His plan, then I know it will be the perfect one whether it is continued singleness or another marriage relationship.
This has been a hard, hard journey and I don’t wish it on anyone, especially someone who isn’t in a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is only in His strength I have been able to endure. And it is in His strength I will continue on. He makes all the difference!
I miss you, Les!!!!
Lots of love, Sharon