The Shadow of Grief
I've heard it said that loss is like a large tree. The greater the love, the longer the shadow of grief. The shadow is darkest the closer it is to the tree, but it thins out as it stretches forward into the light.
My husband's death cast a long shadow of grief, and I still miss him. God blessed us with 40 wonderful years together. You don't get over that--you learn to live with it. Fortunately, his absence doesn't have the sting it had in the beginning. Now the memories of him put a smile on my face. They no longer bring painful sadness and tears.
A widow called me one day and shared her concerns. "It's been nearly two years, and I still cry almost every day. Shouldn't I be over it by now? Do you think there's something wrong with me? What should I do?"
I thought carefully how to answer her. "Personally, when I feel overshadowed by grief, I go to my porch swing with a handful of tissues and let out all my tears. Then, I get up, and keep going forward." I don't believe tears are a sign of weakness. They don't mean you’re losing ground. Tears are a reminder of the love you had with your spouse ... but keep going forward. Eventually, you'll walk beyond the shadow of grief."
My Pastor, Don Boldt, lost his young son to cancer years ago. He shared that he has a place in his heart that he still visits on occasion. "If I go to there, I'll be in tears almost immediately, but I don't live there."
I like knowing where I'm going--don't you? Part of that is knowing which lane I'm supposed to travel on. When part of your identity is being a wife, widowhood is a drastic lane change requiring huge adjustments. We almost have to reinvent who we are.
In the beginning of widowhood, I attended a group called Grief Share. It was very informative and helped me understand the effects of loss--emotionally and physically. After taking the course twice, I still felt the need for support. That's when the Lord inspired me to start Lives Overcoming Loss, (L.O.L.) a monthly Christian fellowship for widows.
Our focus in L.O.L. is on the Word of God and the journey forward. Widowhood is a journey of discovery. Who am I now? Fellowship with others who have walked in our shoes is very helpful. That's what L.O.L. is all about.
What we have available:
1. The Rush chapter of L.O.L meets the third Sunday of each month, at 1:45, in my art studio. (2458 Rush-Mendon Road, Honeoye Falls, NY) Email us if you'd like to attend: Stevens.email@example.com.
2. Schedule a one-time outing for the widows in your church. The women bring a dish to pass and we enjoy fellowship, ministry, and browsing in my art studio. Contact us to schedule a meeting.
3. Start your own chapter. See: L.O.L chapter.