I've been away for a lovely weekend with the family. I am blessed beyond measure, but glad to be home. And anxious to write!!
What can I say about the spattering of thoughts and emotions that have crowded my mind and heart in these last several days. I think in particular, I have meditated on Romans 12:15, Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Being a widow is unique. I am not divorced, or separated, or single... I am widowed. Re-entering society as a widow is not easy.
In all of my relationships, all of my comings and goings, there is a disconcerting awkwardness. No one knows what to say or how to be. I don't know what to say or how to be. I am committed to honesty, but find myself in all kinds of situations when I think, How can I be honest without making this person feel uncomfortable? How can I be real without breaking out into sobs that make me feel embarrassed and everyone around me awkward? How can I tell this person how I really feel when they have no way to relate to me and don't understand what I'm going through? How can I show people that I'm still here, but cannot hide or avoid the fact that the man I love is dead and I miss him more than I could ever say?
Sometimes, no one talks about it, and I want to scream. Don't you know my heart? Don't you know that my husband died? Not talking about it makes me feel like its taboo, inappropriate, too awkward for others. It makes me feel like people want to gloss over it as though he never existed. This causes me tremendous pain.
Other times, all people want to do is talk about my grief. I get tired of talking about it. Exhausted by it, and sometimes long for something light and unrelated!
Still others might approach me with pity. All they see is this poor broken widow. Oh dear, isn't that awful? You poor precious thing. Well, we just can't believe it. Etc. This makes me stand up a little straighter and want to hold my head up high. We're fine. We do not need to be defined by our grief. We do not need your pity.
Inevitably, I find myself in the presence of many happy families, loving relationships, smiling children, and solid marriages. This is a joyful experience that cuts deep with a bitter sword. There is no way around it. It hurts. Yet, I would want nothing less for these people, these families. Be blessed! Cherish your loved ones more deeply than you've ever done before!! and despite each others imperfections!!
As a society, culture, or community... How do we rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep? How do we get beyond the awkwardness, the elephant in the room sensation, or the inability to relate to someone else's struggle? I have concluded that it is not easily done and trying often wears me out.
This is messy. Grief is messy. I am messy. The grief and apathy and depression would keep me locked away in my bedroom, content to grieve alone... But you've all been there. You're all trying to be there for me. I am needy of your graciousness and have been so blessed by your generosity.
I am working hard to do this in a healthy way, as awkward and messy as it may be. Someday, my grief will be turned to joy (Jn 16:20) and smiling will come a little more easily...