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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Fulfillment (04/06/06)

TITLE: The Fulfilling Life of a Widow
By Delores Baber


The Following Treatise on the Fulfilling Life of a Widow

First Epistle to Christine the Just

I,Sarah,take in hand my pen to write these words unto you whom I love in the Lord.

Yesterday I heard a woman on my auditory receiving unit [radio] who explained the profound changes that occurs when one goes from being a wife, to being a widow. Her words spoke to my heart, O Christine, so I will share them with you now.

She spoke of the change that occurs to a woman when her role as a wife, mother, and caregiver makes her the “hub” of the household. And then one day she finds herself living in that same house, all alone. No one’s going to ask her where their blue shirt is or did Jason call while they were out. No one’s going to fuss if she late in putting dinner on the table. She now sets her banquet [frozen TV dinner for one] on her tray and turns on her audio/visual receiving unit [television]. The dinner conversation is now one way. She listens.

I rarely leave my dwelling these days and feel that I have become a “shelved” person. Not throw away, mind you . . . yet. Rather treasured, like an heirloom, but never to be used. Too fragile, you know. Who wants to be the one to put a chip on Grandmother’s last teacup. Far too precious to drink tea from. Shelved.

I can be grateful that I possess a shelf. Perhaps bag ladies are merely people for which no one provided a shelf. The mortgage on my “shelf” took 30 years to pay off. Now the whole shelf is just for me. All mine.

My heart was wounded recently by Judith the Busy. I had sent her a few of my epistles, but was instructed to send them elsewhere. Someplace where people were not so busy serving the Lord. Was that the sound of a door slamming? My love for Judith and her diminishing value of my communications has caused me great sorrow. Christine, I pray that you still have it in you to pan for the gold within these sediments.

I recall when my precious spouse was alive. We had a long standing rule about dealing with problems. First you assign blame, then, you can work on fixing the problem. We discussed why we seemed to need to assign blame, but then we recalled our long past Grand ancestors, Adam and Eve. Remember the whole “it was the woman that thou gaveth me” thing. So it must be hereditary . Who can argue with ones genes? (The genes that the Lord gave us.)

The children had left the nest, so if one of our grandsons had been in the house prior to the development of a problem then, the dialogue would go something like this:

“Who’s been messing with the thermostat? It’s burning up in here!” [or freezing]
“Don’t look at me! You know I never touch it!”
“Didn’t Eunice bring Timmy with her when she dropped by yesterday?”
“Of course, that’s it! That little rascal is always up to something. So let's work on adjusting the temperature, after discussing why only one of us is hot.”

Now to the “fulfilling” part of widowhood. While I have no one to blame but myself when problems arise, the good news is that I learned to become a very forgiving person. No need to cry over spilt milk, is what I say. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, ya’ know.

Now I remember; I wrote to see how you were doing. Unfortunately, I’ve run out of time and must assume the best. Please, no notes on the word “assume.”

I have much more to say, you but are not yet ready. The saints in Gardendale greet you.

Your servant in Christ,
Sarah, the shelved.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Paynter04/13/06
Interesting insight into widowhood. I liked your use of the 'shelved' concept
Jan Ackerson 04/13/06
This piece seems to have two different, fighting "voices"--the wry irony, and the updated epistle format. I couldn't quite make them mesh. Either one would have been fine; your writing skills are excellent. You gave me much insight into widowhood.