Tag Archives: widow

A Wonderful Life

After cancer, after death, after a bottomless pit of grief, it really can be a wonderful life.

I have been silent for a while because my life has shifted again. This time for better. I laugh, I love, I work, I play and really truly live.

At 43 I thought my life was done, I knew I would continue to breathe in and out and keep moving through my existence, but I really thought that was it. My partner had died, my kids dad was gone, I was alone, scared, and sad.

So what caused the change?

For the first 8 months I was a train wreck. Pure and simple. It was just hard, I survived hour to hour, day to day. Then I had to face the reality, he wasn’t coming back, I really was in this alone. Kids grow up and move on, as they should, and in a few short years it would be me and the cat. So I had to ask myself the big questions, face the reality head on and get help.

The big questions were answerless. No answer to why my husband died of cancer and the rat bag down the road gets to live forever. No answer to what my life would look like now. No answer to why I felt picked on by God and why He decided to destroy my family. But I had to move forward regardless. Answers or not. I decided to let the questions go. To stop demanding “why” because it was draining me of life. That’s not what Paul would have wanted. I chose to step into a new world and trust that God knew my footsteps before I took them. And you know what? He did.

Beyond that I stopped shutting the world out and began once again to accept love and friendship around me. From my kids, family, friends, and a church family that demanded nothing of me but encouraged me endlessly to bask in grace and believe solidly that God who truly loved me offered new mercies daily. I believe my faith grew up a lot. Now I just know that I know He loves and cares for me. Despite circumstances. My reciprocation of that love is not always without doubt or fear, but it’s there.

I desperately needed comrades for the journey, and I usually needed them in the middle of the night. So I looked online for women, brave women, who had lost and had begun to live again. Their stories, their inspiration, and even their sadness helped me. I was done with pity, I needed real grit and real guts, these women had it.  I wasn’t alone in this; others survived this wreck, so maybe I could too. Some practical sites that helped in some very, very, very dark moments were as follows.

http://www.onefitwidow.com/

http://www.widowschristianplace.com/

http://www.secondfirsts.com/

https://anewseason.net/

Sometimes just reading helped, but through these sites I found new friends from all over the world and we pushed each other along. I am forever grateful.

There is one more reason for happiness, one more joy in my life that is new. I felt a whisper deep inside to keep my heart open and to believe that I could once more experience the greatest gift one person can give another… love. The odds weren’t good. Then 44, 3 kids, and a whole lot of complication to offer, I didn’t like my chances. But God doesn’t gamble, it was all there in His plan, a man that loves me and I love him. Not a secondary kind of love, not someone else’s leftovers, but a man I daydream about, can’t wait to be with and have to pinch myself sometimes to remember it’s all true. I feel adored, honoured, and embraced. I really thought those days were over, it is the greatest gift I could ever receive. He is wonderful and I love him deeply.

Of course I still have moments and ache because my kids lost a good dad, but I also know that goodness and life are true things and not just theoretical concepts. Life can turn around, hearts can heal and love can be felt again.

It really, truly is a wonderful life.

Advertisements

Single Parenthood – Grace in the Desert

                                                   hand-pouring-sand

I realize single parents have to do all the tasks; laundry, cleaning, shopping, endless running around after kids etc. But it’s not always those things that are the hardest. Of course sometimes the actual doing of these things is exhausting beyond belief but when rest finally finds you, recovery follows.

I am a widowed single parent. Something hard to understand until you’ve faced it personally, when you’re forced to stare in the face of circumstances and make them part of your life. Your own life, not someone else’s, not a movie you can watch and leave behind in the cinema, but yours. This is hard for me, I know I am a single parent logically, but in my heart I still find it hard to accept. All the responsibilities land on me, no one else, no Dad somewhere else, no consultation about anything. I have focused hard on coming to terms with my widowhood, and focused on trying to heal, but being a single mum adds another dimension.

The hardest part about being a single parent for me is not having a partner. Sounds obvious right? What that means to me is that there is no one else on the face of this earth that has the same vested interest, unconditional love, or do-whatever-it-takes energy towards my family as I do. No one to come alongside when I have had enough, no one that chooses not to just come and go in the kids’ lives as they please, because parents, well good parents, no matter the circumstances are always there for their kids. So when two becomes one there is just less and that just seems so unfair for the kids. That becomes part of the kids “loss” and the control freak in me just can’t handle not being able to change that.

For arguments sake let’s say shared parenting is about 50/50. Now that I’m on my own, can I possibly become the 100% they need? I really don’t believe I can. My reality is that I became about 75%, give or take. Your normal 50 + everything extra you try to cover. But try as I might I can never be male, never be their Dad, never be all they need; I come up short, and very tired! So two things come to mind about figuring this out. Firstly I just need to accept the reality, it is what it is so for goodness sake I should take the pressure of myself and quit trying to be everything. Secondly, I have faith in God and He will need to help me accept the first thing and I need to trust Him to be there tangibly for my kids.

I have come to believe that Gods love for my kids is endless, fearless and pursuing. Even if they can’t see that yet. From the time they were but a twinkle in His eye He has loved them unconditionally and without hesitation, and will continue to do so forevermore. Gods position on that love does not move if they doubt or make a mistake, His desire is relationship with them not retribution, He is fearless. God is a pursuer, He never gives up on people, instead He waits for them to choose Him. He never forces, He actively waits, endlessly offering love, acceptance and grace.

When all seems hopeless, dry deserts, lost loves, battles lost, God offers us love, grace and repair. That’s one amazing Dad. Even if I tried my hardest every single minute of every single day I could not offer what He can, I can never ever be enough, it’s His design. I will believe in that design and hope my actions follow suit. I will trust that He is enough for my kids, enough for me; He is Father to the fatherless.

This is the way God put it:
“They found grace out in the desert,
these people who survived the killing.
Israel, out looking for a place to rest,
met God out looking for them!”
God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will.
Expect love, love, and more love!
And so now I’ll start over with you and build you up again,
dear virgin Israel.
You’ll resume your singing,
grabbing tambourines and joining the dance.
You’ll go back to your old work of planting vineyards
on the Samaritan hillsides,
And sit back and enjoy the fruit—
oh, how you’ll enjoy those harvests!
The time’s coming when watchmen will call out
from the hilltops of Ephraim:
‘On your feet! Let’s go to Zion,
go to meet our God!’”
Jeremiah 31:2-6 (The Message Bible)


Scared

I am scared to live fully and abundantly.  What if I lose again? What if I am never the apple of someone’s eye again? What if no one else on this whole planet ever cares, really cares, if I am theirs? What if I love again and am not loved back. What if I can never again lend the strength of my heart to another just to see them smile back at me? What if I compare too much and kill something before it even gets a chance to breathe? What if I never feel the touch, the heartbeat, the breath of another again? What if all this is true? What then?

Love found after love lost must be an amazing thing. Quite a gift. I wander if the wrapping, the complications of the past, adds to the gift? Layers and layers of intricacies that add to how special that gift could be. The very things that once broke our heart becoming the things that binds together. Or is it just romantic fodder? I don’t know. I think about this sometimes and conclude that it would be easier to shut my heart down, never feel bad again, but I would never feel good again either. I have felt a whisper in my heart of late “Keep your heart open” over and over. I am trying, but an open heart can be a target for pain, rejection and disappointment, and I’m not sure how much courage I have left.

I’m so tired. It takes so much energy to keep going, to keep trying to find the joy in things. It’s worthwhile, but it can become tiring. I’m sure God would have me quit trying, and just be in order to stop worrying about all the “what ifs” I cannot control. To do that requires some contentment in current circumstances. Further acceptance of my lot, that’s the real dilemma. Current worries versus a new level of accepting my widowhood. What a choice! I know the latter is the only pathway to peace, it just really sucks, but it’s my new challenge and I’ll try.

I guess I should be grateful really, not everyone experiences love like I did. We could fight like there was no tomorrow (mostly because I’m a bit fiery), but my Paul loved me deeply, that’s what I miss. No one on this earth loves me like that. Everyone’s different, every relationship different, but today I miss being the apple of my Pauls eye. I miss being his best friend, his closest everything. I don’t know if it’s possible to have anything like that again, but if I did, it would be the greatest gift.

 

2012 Janene camera 541 - Copy

 


This is why honey…

Hi Honey, I hope you don’t mind but I am sharing you with my little world. I’m gonna keep telling you how much I love you, how much I always will, and someone else might read it too. It’ll be good for me; it helps our love live on a bit more. Some days I miss you so much it’s hard to function, life isn’t the same anymore. I know I never have to let you go, you can stay a part of me, in the very fabric of my soul, in the deepest part of my heart. But man, I really miss you here beside me. I miss you holding my hand, talking about our day, the way you were Dad to our kids, cuddling beside me, driving with you, your great coffee, how you could fix about anything, face challenges together…you know, everything!

You had me totally convinced you know that? That two really are better than one, I gave in and loved you with everything in me I could. It wasn’t always a smooth road, but thanks for walking it with me, bumps and all. Actually, some of those bumps added strength once we figured them out. You were good like that. Oh honey, you’re like home to me, warm, loving and comfy, I’m so damn homesick without you. I promised on your birthday that I would find hope again, and I will, we will. I know you want me to live my life here until I get to come there. The sun peaks through the clouds some days, it’s not searing, but I know seasons don’t last forever, they change, no two ever the same. It’s odd and scary to make plans without you, like I’m leaving you behind. I think you are praying for us though, and my plans are still our plans as long as I lean into God and let Him lead me. I love you my honey babe, play a song for me up there, and make it loud. xxxxxImage


%d bloggers like this: