I just passed into another stage of widowhood. I’m no longer a NEW widow. Bob has been gone just over a year now. I will no longer be experiencing birthdays, holidays, and special occasions for the FIRST time without Bob.
It’s now the second Thanksgiving season without him and the hurt has lessened a bit. Is the hurt less or am I coping with it better? Is the pain going away or am I becoming immune to the sting? Is the sorrow lessening or am I a stronger person now? I have no idea. I just know that I can smile more, feel more pleasure, and face these milestones without caving in completely. The percentage of happy moments to sad moments is shifting. Happiness and joy are winning!
I receive emails daily from Grief Share Support Group. Some are meaningful, some aren’t. Some just speak straight to my heart. Here’s the zinger that I pulled from a recent email.
“That is why you must train yourself in biblical hope where you are absolutely convinced that God is and that He has a world to come for you and that on the other side everything will be okay. That certainty has to be bigger than the certainty of your sorrows.“
One of the consistent testimonies in Scripture is that faith can grow strong during the darkest times of adversity. It is during those darkest moments that I have come to know personally that my Lord is the God of hope.
What does this mean to me? My sorrows are certain. They aren’t totally going away anytime soon. Or ever. I miss my husband and the life we had together so very much. I miss sharing my life with him. I miss his touch and kiss (sorry grandkids if that’s gross!). I miss the things that we never got to do that I had thought we would. I miss reminiscing about our trips and adventures together. I miss his silly stories and jokes. Yes, my sorrows are certain.
But on the flip side, my God tells me that on the other side everything will be ok. I cling to that certainty as it is a bigger certainty than my sorrow.
How reassuring. No wonder I can smile.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).
My goodness. Bob has been on my mind 24/7 this month. And it’s not a bad thing. I think it’s because a year ago right now, things were rough. Bob had declined to where he needed help with almost everything. He couldn’t hold his spoon to eat or hold his coffee cup without dropping it. He had a terrible time getting into bed and just couldn’t figure that out. He would just plop himself into bed and where he landed is where he would sleep. Even if most of his body was hanging off the bed. Once super fastidious, Bob had forgotten how to shave and taking a shower was a very difficult process that he (and I both) dreaded. He was confused over what Fixodent was for and there were times he tried to brush his teeth with his razor. It was so sad to watch the physical decline that most people don’t know is associated with Dementia. Yep, the brain just stops being able to tell the body what to do. The body just stops being able to function without the brain directing it.
Bob was on a downhill slide, and it was excruciating to watch. Thinking back to last October/November brings me chills. But it also is a reminder that Bob was not living a life that he would have wanted. Yes, it was time for him to pass and sometimes these memories of the rough times make me realize that I didn’t lose a healthy happy Bob, I lost the Bob that was ready to go. Weird as this may sound, that helps a bit. I know how Bob wanted to live and how he was living last October/November was NOT how he would have ever wanted to live. On that issue, I am 100% clear.
But this year, I still have lots of changes to process. I am still not used to my new life without Bob. I’m not miserable. I’m just still trying to sort through my feelings about everything! I can be positive and upbeat and then downtrodden and miserable in the same hour. I can cry at the drop of a hat over a tiny thing or be perfectly content and smile during the most emotional experiences. Yes, I’m a mixed-up mess.
I’ve read many books about grief— about 5 stages, 10 stages, etc., but I just don’t think that those books cover everything. They barely scratch the surface. Just when I think I’ve worked through most stages, I come across another hurdle or issue. Maybe I’ll write my own book! Maybe my book would have 50 stages of grief or more!
So today I take another big step in this grief process that isn’t in any of the books I’ve read. Today I change my Facebook status to widow. Yep, it’s finally Facebook official. I know it sounds silly, but my stomach is churning a bit. Dare to move ahead. Here I go.