Next Friday will be the Anniversary of our last goodbye. Over the last year, as a recent widow, I have sought to understand my new and different life. After forty plus years with my husband, I find myself alone. For all those years, and right up until Gary died, I knew exactly what I would and should be doing each day. My life with my sweetheart was good and fulfilling. In the months following his departure, adjustments have been made in my life and are still happening. I suspect the future will hold more changes, and growth for me as well. That’s ok. The changes are sometimes hard, or painful, but I'm seeing that there is good on the other side.
Discovering (and dealing with) the new me!
I’ve been learning about “the new me,” the “me-without-Gary.” We were one flesh for 40 ½ years and I’ve been shaped by him. Being alone, and being in the grief stage, I've found some things in my heart that need to be repented of. I've also found more depth in some of my interests and creative side. There are brand new and faith stretching opportunities to explore and I plan to do so. (Specifically an upcoming trip I'll be sharing about here.) The Lord has used Gary to help me grow, as a Christian and as a woman. I am still “me” but I am finding new ways to grow.
Saying "yes" to everything - well not EVERYTHING, but too much!
One thing I’ve noticed is that after nine years of having certain restrictions on my life, (because of Gary's health needs), I began to say yes to everything. Well maybe not “Everything” but lots of things. I kind of went crazy with going here, going there, doing this and that, and taking on a lot. Nothing bad here, just LOTS. I was wondering how the Lord would direct me, and unfold what He wanted me to do. I’ve been able to see more clearly now certain things that are more important than others and great ways to enjoy life. I don't think I will EVER really get a handle on time management, but I've noticed that I need to be on guard against being greedy. For instance, I like to put many intriguing things on my list of "to-dos" but sometimes it's better to do fewer things, and do them better. There will never be enough time or opportunity to do everything. It's ok to dream, but when something can't be done, I must not get frustrated, but rather be thankful for what I AM able to do.
Changing roles is not easy.
My sorrow for Gary, has been ongoing for many years. When he departed, I was already kind of used to missing him. What I was NOT used to, however, was feeling the loss of my main “occupation,” being his helper. This has been the thing that brings the most tears. I miss Gary, I miss being his other “half.” It's a slow process, but God is steadily healing this part of my heart. I've been able to study about the beautiful role that widows have in the church. I'm excited about that. We widows, have a special place in God's heart and He has much for us to do. "...so that they (older women) may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored." Titus 2:4-5
I’m almost through the first year of being on my own, and all the first holidays without Gary are behind me. I’ve been up and down with emotions as I approach the anniversary of Gary’s home going in a few days. Mostly happy for Gary, but sad when I think about the final goodbye, and missing my role of helping him. Through this entire first year, God has been at my side, drying my eyes, giving me things to laugh at, and love, and reminding me of wonderful memories with my sweetheart. I hope you are all expressing your love to your dear ones and treasuring your days together. We are only guaranteed the breath that is in our lungs at this present moment so make your day a good one. May we all feel and think deeply, and give ourselves completely to Jesus Christ so that our lives will count for eternity.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.
I've read a couple of wonderful books on grief. The most recent was The Undistracted Widow, by Carol Cornish. I highly recommend it! (Click HERE for my review.)