“He’s in a better place,”
“Oh honey, everything happens for a reason,”
“God needed another angel,” and last but not least
“Aren’t you over him yet, he’s been gone for a while?”
Most people have the best intentions when using these phrases but these words for the woman, who lost the one she chose to go through life with, often lead to isolation and more despair. Losing a spouse is one of the hardest things we endure in this lifetime. Research reveals that spousal bereavement can open the door to problems such as depression, chronic stress and anxiety, and even a reduced life expectancy if not dealt with in a healthy manner.
We have come to know this devastation as grief. Unfortunately, it leaves widows with difficult and dark emotions that never asked permission to be invited into their lives. Many books have been written on the stages of grief. A popular theory is from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s Stages of Grieving, where one goes through each step of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Yet these stages were never meant to take the plight of emotions in a well-organized scheduled manner. Emotions from grief are messy and often leave the widower crippled with pain. We become angry at the person leaving us, mad at ourselves as we could have done things differently, or even angry with God because He could have done something to intervene. We bargain, promising to do things differently in return for easing the pain. All the while, sadness, guilt, and even depression creeps in steeling our mere existence.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
There’s a famous saying in the grief community, “Grief is like a tunnel, to come out of it you must first enter.” Grief requires us to sit with our pain. It asks us to put one foot in front of the other, trusting that this incredible sadness will someday open doors to a new meaning and purpose for this lifetime. Yet so often, we want to hurry the process and numb the pain. Why wouldn’t we? The grief process is laborious, and we have jobs to get back to, children to be healthy for, the list goes on. Yet over time, those feelings accumulate, and if we do not deal with them, they usually have a way of reentering at the most inopportune times.
Significant transformations come in those baby steps, and before you know it, those hundreds of steps bring you to the other side of the tunnel. In the therapeutic world, this is called acceptance. You get to call it what seems most appropriate to you.
But the most important thing to remember is that this is your story and your story matters. Healing comes when we engage in our story. God is coauthoring your epic storyline.
We at Peace Restored would love to hear it!
As we (Peace Restored) continue discussing the topic of widowhood, we want to offer another
a resource to those who may find themselves grieving:
A book titled, “From One Widow to Another” By Miriam Neff.
From one widow to another or from one story to another, we believe this book is filled with practical help and encouragement in the face of profound loss.
Here’s the link if you or a friend could use this: https://amzn.to/2USuSWF