From Wife to Widow

Last week, I grieved with two women as they began the journey from wife to widow. There’s no map or GPS for that trip. No schedule. No time limit. And the destination is yet to be determined.

How do I know that? I’ve been on that journey for 14 years. 

No one can prepare you for that life-jolting moment when you watch your husband pass into eternity. And you are left standing in life’s reality.

For me, I was standing at the bottom of our front porch steps. My husband Gene was standing at the top. He fell backward and down. I lunged forward and up. But he was already gone.

And so it began.

I’ve traversed a landscape of feelings since then. Fear. Blame. Anger. Confusion. Excitement. Love. Doubt. Panic. Peace. Abandonment. Hope. 

"Dark Music," a painting by  Sharon Ruane , artist and widow

"Dark Music," a painting by Sharon Ruane, artist and widow

I’ve experienced my own transition times.

Like walking into a dark, empty house and saying, “Honey, I’m home.”

Going over the checkbook for the 10th time to try to find the error I made that caused the overdraft.

Reading a great chapter in a book. Then having no one to share or discuss it with.

Driving so many hours alone with no one to talk to or navigate for me. And missing the turn and having to go back. So many times.

Watching couples and families enjoy a holiday celebration while I’m wishing I were anywhere else.

Lying in a hospital bed and wondering if I’m going to survive cancer.

Now, I want to turn to all widows who are coming along behind me. I want to warn them of the snares in their paths. To protect them from the bad decisions and poor choices I’ve made. To warn them about charlatans and Prince Charmings who are lying in wait for them.

Photo by Katharyn Pimpo

Photo by Katharyn Pimpo

But that desire is pointless. Their journeys will be different from the one I’m on. The enemy will try to trip them in different ways than he tries to get to me.

I want to help them. But what can I do?

Encourage them to embrace the new, the different, the extraordinary, the blessings. Sometimes it seems like letting the new into our lives somehow diminishes the past. We can’t invest in the past. It’s over and done. But we can invest in the present and future. In the people who need us. In the ministries that need our wisdom and time. In the work God gives us to do. In our own peace and good health.

My desire to help other widows brought More Than A Widow into being. God laid out the plan for me to use my experiences in positive ways. Now, I’m doing my best to follow that plan.

Please join me. Look around your life. Are you a widow? Do you know a widow? Then you can make a difference in someone else’s transition from wife to widow.

“Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows” (Isaiah 1:17).

Laura Warfel is a widow, writer, and follower of Jesus Christ. Her greatest joy is to bring others along with her on her faith journey. In 2015, because of the encouragement of the Launch Out Conference and Jon Acuff, she launched More Than A Widow on Facebook and Twitter. Today she blogs, tweets, and posts to help widows (and those who know them) find encouragement, hope, and resources for the journey. Her goal is to help all widows live beyond the label and live as more than a widow.
Copyright © 2017 by Laura Warfel