Ö a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. (Psalm 68:5)
I didnít anticipate becoming a widow. Even when the word cancer was first thrust into reality it didnít impact in any way as being the forerunner to widowhood.
Eighteen months have passed since the day that shattered my life, but I can still praise God because Jesus has been my comfort and strength throughout those long months. I was given books on coping with death and simply flicked through a few pages before writing them off as not relevant to me. Yet there did come a time when it was right to read them and I was incredibly grateful for the wisdom and experience of others.
I think back to the Thanksgiving Service for Davidís life when I felt so blessed that God answered my prayers and gave me the strength to fill the service with his favourite songs and readings and most of all that peace that really is beyond understanding. Life without him really began the next day.
The house felt so empty. All that needed to be done had been done. There was nothing left to distract. The rest of my life had to be lived. Even church felt like a lonely place. One Sunday morning, sitting chatting after the service, a friend sat beside us and asked, ĎWould you two ladies like to come for Sunday lunch next week?í A loving, kind thought, yet it suddenly catapulted me into the role of a widow, a single lady. I didnít want to think of myself as a widow. Somehow it put me into a new and unfamiliar category. It didnít feel right. Itís strange how different incidences impact us in different ways. I felt devastated, yet still couldnít cry. The release of tears evaded me. I simply couldnít cry, as if my feelings were frozen. I talked to Jesus all the time and found my comfort in Him. Church activities took a back seat. I found it impossible to go anywhere without David. He had always been the talkative one and I somehow felt as if I had nothing to give anymore. Half of me was missing.
I gave up our car because I hadnít driven for years, but I found it a huge effort to go into town on the bus. And somehow there was nothing I wanted to do in town. Buying new clothes seemed pointless when there was no-one to see me and sitting alone in a coffee bar just emphasised the oneness. Arriving home in the winter to a dark and empty house felt so abysmal that I stopped going anywhere. I constantly wondered what I would do with the rest of my life. Yet I still believed that God had a purpose for me.
I had reached my lowest ebb when God reminded me that He certainly did still have a plan for my life. A plan that didnít include David, but nonetheless a plan. He gave me the courage I needed to start writing. I had tentatively begun to write a devotional book, but had put it aside, feeling that nothing would ever be the same again. It isnít. Itís very different. But I have a focus and Iím finding that healing tears are released as I consider what Iím writing. Iím not afraid to remember the past anymore and Iím not afraid that tears will overwhelm. They fall freely and they are healing. Music once again soothes my soul and evokes lovely memories, alongside the ones that bring pain. But my heart is beginning to melt again and Iím ready to face my future. Jesus fills the huge gap left by David. Without Him I would always be looking back in sorrow. Instead I look back with gratitude to God for the beautiful twenty five years we had together and especially the two months before he died, when we crammed lots of living into a short time.
Grief is the most devastating emotion. We cannot hurry the grieving process and weíre all different in the way we cope. I think I will always grieve, but I believe Jesus will turn that grief into something lovely that might be a help for others who find themselves in a similar situation.
ĎPraise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.í