There are not a lot of books out there on the grieving widow, but there are a few. I am sure that most of you have as many as you have been able to find. Why do we gravitate to these books? I am convinced it because of two main reasons,(although I am sure there are plenty of other reasons). The first of these two I feel is to see if there are any more comforting words, or “magical” words that will make is feel better. Secondly, is because we want to know if what we are feeling is “normal”. Let’s look at those two points for a little bit today.
As for the “magical” words, there are none. There is nothing that can be said that can remove our grief. However, I too reached out to find what others had to say about their grieving and widowhood. Even though the only real comfort comes from God and His word, in the beginning of your grief, you find that you can not concentrate very well. It is one thing to read God’s comforting words and be able to digest them and chew on them awhile, but it is another thing to read God’s word and have your mind distracted continually by your lack of concentration. However, when you can read the scripture and then read how another widow has applied it to herself, it seems to be simpler to digest. Please do not mistake what I am saying. We do still need to read God’s word, and His Holy Spirit can speak to us at any time in our lives. However, I felt that when I lost my son at age 21, and again now with the loss of my husband, that I did better with encouraging words written to me along with scripture, than I did with long reading on my own. When I started being able to concentrate better on my own, I made index cards with the scriptures that really helped me. I put these at different places in the house where I would see them. This is something that I highly recommend for anyone. When I was “heavenly minded” I felt so much better, but no one has time to sit and read their bible all day. Therefore, having a comforting verse sitting above my kitchen sink, on the mirror in the bathroom and in many places throughout the house was one of the best things I did for myself.
For the second reason we seek out books from other widows, it does give comfort to read that others went through the same thoughts and feelings that you yourself are. No two people grieve alike or have the same circumstances. However, we do all go through many ups and down, often referred to as waves. It is good to learn that others also moved up two steps and in no time moved back a few steps. You read how others also suffered with memory loss, guilt and anxiety. So many widows have said,” I thought I was going crazy before I learned that others went through the same things.” And lastly, it is good to read how other widows were slowly able to eventually “move on”.
As I look back on my journey of grief and healing I know I have come a long way. I did not have to walk this pathway alone. God has been by my side every step of the way. Even when I faltered, He was there waiting for me and always picked me back up again. I have had to learn how to live without the other half of me. It was hard to realize that you are single again after all these years. I had to learn how to live a single life both socially, economically and financially. I had to seek God’s will for my “new” life, to find new goals and a new purpose in life. Once of my biggest lessons that God taught me is that I can not look back. I can not wish I had my old life back, or I will never be able to move on. God tells us not to look back. We must keep looking straight ahead at the pathway before us. I also learned that I need to be looking upward towards heaven and not downward. We need to be “heavenly minded” and let the things here on earth grow dimmer to us.
I am not completely to the end of my journey of grief and I do not know if one ever reaches reaches the end. But I can assure all of you that are not as far along on their own journey that healing does come. Isaiah 61:2-3 says ” He will comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve…,to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ass, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. ” May God bless you as you walk on this pathway with the Lord at your side.