Monday, September 30, 2013

Day 117


September 30, 2013


Day 117


I feel bad – really, really bad.  I was feeling not-so-bad for the last couple of weeks so this latest round/wave of grief is especially unwelcome.  I was folding laundry a few minutes ago and just lost it.  Nothing in the laundry triggered it, but it was a feeling in the pit of my stomach that had been building and finally erupted. 


I just want to feel good again.  I am fearful that will never happen.  For the rest of my life I am condemned to carry around this heavy burden of sorrow.  Anything happy will always be tempered by the knowledge that Paul is not here to share it.  I tell myself that I should really give myself a break; after all, it has not even been four months.  But then I hear things like the fact that years two and three are often even harder on the widow and I just feel so depressed.  I don’t want to be sad for that long!  But I don’t think grief is something I can rationalize away or hurry the process of.  I just have to endure.


I have been finding myself irritated at Paul lately.  And then I feel guilty.  I’m irritated that he was such a perfectionist and therefore took so long to do the house, which is why I’m still living in a mess.  I’m irritated that I had to handle the finances because he wasn’t gifted in that area (although, conversely,  I would have been in a world of hurt after his death had he been the one doing the books).  Paul has a friend/past customer who is being incredibly generous right now to our family and doing all kinds of nice things for us.  I find myself irritated because, while grateful, I don’t like receiving these things because of the fact Paul is dead.  Sometimes, lately, I remember past areas of disagreement Paul and I had and I find myself getting mad at him all over again even though I think it’s safe to say we’ll never again argue about any of those subjects ever again.  I find myself irritated at Paul for dying.  None of it makes sense.  I don’t think I’m irritated at Paul – not really.  I’m just chafing at the fact that he is dead and there is not a thing I can do about it!


But mostly I’m just sad.  I miss him.


I read a book yesterday and today called, The Unwilling Widow.  It was one of my free e-books.  The great thing about e-books is that there is a plethora of free ones.  New authors are anxious to get their writings read.  I’m quite sure I will end up doing the same thing at some point.  The bad thing is that some of these people are not that great of writers.  A lot of them apparently publish without ever having had anyone proofread their work, either.  I just grit my teeth every time I see an apostrophe s when the writer intends to use a word in the plural form.  In this particular book she did that and then about three lines later she pluralized correctly.  So she obviously knew better!  But I digress…


So anyway, The Unwilling Widow…I downloaded it because of the title and because I enjoy Christian fiction.  Although, I am pretty sure that the only reason this book fell into the “Christian” category is because the dead husband was a pastor.  The book was interesting enough to keep me reading it, but there was just this sense of immature writing, I guess.  I’m probably too picky.  It just wasn’t as professional as I would like to see.  The story takes place during the gold rush in Denver City (which later became Denver when Colorado became a state).  The widow’s husband is a pastor/farmer.  He’s helping some people in the church build their roof and falls off, breaking both his legs and becoming paralyzed from the belly button down (that’s what it said – not waist down, but “belly button” down!).  That leaves the reader a bit confused because you know the guy has to die in order to get to the “widow” part of the title.  Well, just as he begins to get some feeling back into his feet, he gets pneumonia and dies within a week.  The rest of the book deals with the widow part of the title and, eventually, the realization of said widow that she has fallen in love with her dead husband’s uneducated, uncouth farm hand.  They marry and live happily ever after (hopefully, this husband stays off roofs and away from disease- laden individuals).

I thought the author did a good job of describing grief.  It makes me wonder what she has endured herself in order to write as she did.  But then when I read that the main character was only 19 I found myself a bit exasperated – for lack of a better word.  Being widowed at 19 is not a tremendous hardship – not even in 1850.  That young and especially childless, you know it was just a matter of time before she found someone else and started over.


Following that line of thought I then decided that being widowed in old age can’t be that horrible, either.  One can comfort themselves with memories of their husband, enjoy their grandchildren, and wait for death when they’ll be reunited.  But being widowed at 42 – now that’s the pits!  I am no longer young, I am no longer in the first flush of youth (think gray hair,  crow’s feet, and c-section scars), and I have lots and lots of children.  There is no starting over at this point in life.  But death is probably decades and decades away yet.  Oh, I know it’s the easiest thing to magnify one’s own situation. I’m sure plenty of older widows probably look at me and say, “Well, at least you have your health and all those kids to keep you occupied!”  Just feeling sorry for myself, more than likely.  I had probably better veer off this particular rabbit trail…


Last Saturday was rainy and cool.  I have always loved fall Saturdays like that – spending time indoors, feeling cozy, listening to the Hawkeyes on the radio, anticipating the pleasure of Sunday and church the next day.  Paul would be doing some sort of work on the house during the day.  He’d finally quit sometime in the evening and we’d get the kids to bed and watch some who -dunnit crime show on television before going to bed.  I was enjoying the feel of the day and then I remembered that Paul was no longer here and the pleasure of that feeling quickly dissipated.  Sigh…


Lizzie attended her first birthday party later that same day.  That was a bright spot.  For the first time in her life, she is settling into normal little-girl activities.  There’s no more indecision in the air, no unsettledness, no shifting between a foster home and visits with birth mom.  She’s home…for good.  And she can finally just be a little girl now.


The other day I asked David, “Do you know where your dad is?”  I was thinking “Will” in my brain, but “dad” came out.  David looked at me, completely horrified, and I felt bad.  I don’t think it was a Freudian slip, even though Will has assumed a lot of his dad’s responsibilities these days.


I was re-reading the piece I published for Jewels last week.  Something caught my eye.  I referred to walking through the valley of the shadow of death as a “calling.”  Where did that come from?  I wrote it, but I don’t remember doing so.  I’ve been pondering the truth of that ever since – this idea of widowhood being an actual calling.  When I named this sub-blog, “Diary of an Unwilling Widow” I did so only 8 days after Paul’s death.  I couldn’t think of anything better at the time and it was honest, if nothing else.  But it has always bothered me.  Aren’t all widows “un-willing”?  Well, except maybe for those sometimes profiled on those crime shows Paul and I enjoyed!  But if God has called me to widowhood – and this is something I need to ponder further – then should I not be willing?  I think of the words of the hymn, “Follow On”:


Down in the valley with my Savior I will go,
Where the flow’rs are blooming and the sweet waters flow;
Everywhere He leads me I will follow, follow on,
Walking in His footsteps till the crown be won.

    • Follow! follow! I will follow Jesus!
      Anywhere, everywhere, I will follow on!
      Follow! follow! I will follow Jesus!
      Everywhere He leads me I will follow on!

Down in the valley with my Savior I will go,
Where the storms are sweeping and the dark waters flow;
With His hand to lead me I will never, never fear,
Danger cannot fright me if my Lord is near.

Down in the valley, or upon the mountain steep,
Close beside my Savior will my soul ever keep;
He will lead me safely in the path that He has trod,
Up to where they gather on the hills of God.


Follow…has He not lead me into the valley?  Where the storms are sweeping and the dark waters flow?  Am I not on a mountain steep?  This hymn speaks of a willingness to everywhere and anywhere.

Perhaps I need to become a willing widow?  Something to ponder and strive for, I think.  Right now all I feel is pain, but if this is the pain Christ has asked me to bear...






1 comment:

  1. I remember hearing the same about the 2nd year of grief and feeling depressed. BUT......
    Back up and take it one moment at a time.
    God gives us grace for each moment when we need it.
    Not months or years ahead of time.
    He will be there when you get there and walk you through it.

    You are processing, and being irritated is normal and you will get through this also.
    It will come back at various times, but getting through the bulk of it is important.
    More healing will come. So just like tears this irritating feeling is a part of grief; and like all of grief, it won’t always be this way.

    Christian or not, I stay away from any kind of romance.
    It makes me very discontented with life.
    It makes me miss Jim even more.
    It makes me vulnerable to the enemy and pity parties.
    Many, many widow fiction stories have the widow remarrying.
    Not that is a bad thing, but when you are a widow still in widowhood,
    It can be very depressing.
    Any way, this is just what I have found with myself.

    Other thoughts….
    Unwilling widows………would any of us choose the path the Lord has placed us on?
    No, because we don’t enjoy pain we wouldn’t be willing even if we knew the good God was going to work despite the pain. But I agree with your words, widowhood is a calling, I think of Jesus’ words, “Shall I not drink the cup which my Father has given me?” Jesus was called to suffer. And our heavenly Father who loves us more than we can ever imagine placed us on this path of sorrow, He gave us “this cup” to drink.

    Many hugs and prayers,