On Being a Widow

Author Helen Raley writes on widowhood,

"In loving, you and I assume the risk of loss ... We're so happy now, but we must accept the fact that one of us will have to live without the other some day."

From whatever vantage point you see it, widowhood is anything but happy. Psychologists and research statistics actually reveal it's a top life sorrow and stress.

It's not morbid to accept and prepare for such reality. Rather it's psychologically healthy and wise to do so.

In one of my men's group sessions, Jimmy recounted his reaction whose wife died several years ago. Even as a God-trusting man, he still found himself in a state of blank bewilderment.

He still missed her. No matter how he emotionally and spiritually prepared himself in his mind, Jimmy continued to "see and feel" her wherever he goes.

Speaking from experience, he described the wonderful years he had with his wife that are no longer replaceable. His wife is no longer present to love and be loved.

An aching void for Jimmy. It felt somehow as if you're a half-person or non-person.

How I wished the men in the group as well as my self can do something more for Jimmy. But there is a very real sense in which the pain of widowhood must be borne alone.

Soren Kierkegaard once asserted that suffering is inexpressible. He spoke of a cry, when "there is not one who really understands, no one to enter in to what I feel."

Years after his actual transition from widowhood, Jimmy shared his ultimate healer. Quoting a verse in Scripture, he stated where he is now:

"Praise 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" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Psychology describes such an experience "transcendence" - a state which surpasses the physical world and the nature of material presence. The self "going beyond."