As I join widows on their journey, one realization often surprises them, that being that even after several years of widowhood, I still…. Yes, I still experience the paralyzing affects of grief. Yes, I still question God, and I still seek answers to some of the difficult questions. “Yes, I still feel my loss…”
Our culture has done a great disservice with it’s perception of grief. A myth circulates, the myth that says one can “get over” grief and loss. I held to the same belief before my personal experience with death. If a person can “get over it”, it eliminates the need for others to face the reality and totality of loss, or the need for me to engage in the grief process. Often, this brings about the thinking, “You will be fine!”. Give the grieving widow six weeks, maybe a year, surely, grief has an end date and she will “get better”.
Grief changes us, loss redefines us. We don’t simply “get over” a change in any area of our life, we assimilate, the change becomes part of us. Same is true of loss. Those observing a widow’s grief need to understand the impact of loss and learn that the myth is just that, “a myth”. One doesn’t and shouldn’t “get over” death, we absorb the loss and work to recover. A widow’s husband died and her children don’t have a father, grief will always be attached to that reality.
Thankfully, grief isn’t always unbearable nor all consuming, we can and do assimilate to the “new normal”. Yet there are times, we still grieve.
Those who grieve need love, patience and understanding. The myth needs to be shattered; grief doesn’t have an end date. As we adapt to the loss and new roles, we need the support of our family, friends, church, and community so we can become better women.
To encourage a widow in the darkest of hours, to listen to her cries, to hold her as her heart is breaking, to absorb her pain, to share the bitterness of life, to walk the journey; it is a gift you can humbly accept. Walking with widows is an amazing blessing!