Tell me, Lord; what am I to be now that I’m a widow?

What am I to be now that I’m a widow?

I sit and ponder this question because I have no idea what my new life is supposed to look like.

I study the sky, searching for my answer as if expecting God to write it there with His finger, and I see a distant silver speck. A plane is heading for some exotic location, carrying couples who will have romantic dinners under the stars, take hand-holding walks on a beach, and smile intimately at each other as they close their bedroom door.

The world is made for couples like those on that plane. For years I took membership in the Couples Club for granted. But I am no longer a couple. I am a single. One, not two. I no longer belong.

So who am I now that there’s only one plate at the table, one glass, one knife, fork and spoon, one napkin.

There’s only one pillow with a head dent, one towel damp after a shower. There’s only one toothbrush in the holder. The seat is never left up any more.

I can still write Mrs. in front of my name, but I’m no longer in a marriage relationship. You need two people for a marriage, and there’s only me.

Terrifying thought. There’s only me.

 

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
-Deuteronomy 31:8

But I call to God,
And the Lord saves me.
Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in my distress,
And He hears my voice.
-Psalm 55: 16, 17


Continue the Journey


 

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75 Comments

  • Congratulations! I am excited for you as you embark on this amazing journey. Praying huge!

    Barb Davison

    February 14, 2012 | Reply

  • Your blog is wonderful, Gayle. What a gift…even to those of us who aren’t on this journey yet, but may very well be before this journey of life is over. I’m so sorry you’ve had to travel this path far too early in life, but so grateful that you are sharing your experiences and putting a beautiful silver lining in this very dark cloud.

    Deborah Raney

    February 15, 2012 | Reply

  • I can only imagine the bittersweet feelings this new website and blog are igniting in you, Gayle. This is much needed and I’m so glad you can be a voice and a support for others.

    Carrie Padgett

    February 15, 2012 | Reply

  • Bless you for opening your heart and sharing your pain and journey with others who are hurting. I know God is going to use your willingness to help others and I can’t wait to see how He will bless you in return.

    Sunni Jeffers

    February 15, 2012 | Reply

  • Beautiful and touching post. Thank you Gayle for sharing.

    Holly Clark

    February 15, 2012 | Reply

  • Thank you for taking on this journey. I’m sure it will be a help to many who find themselves suddenly alone.

    Right now there’s one person who would be helped by your blog: Ron’s sister Judy, who lost her husband unexpectedly just two weeks ago.

    Our next task is to teach her how to find you online as the computer is a tool she has yet to master.

    Janet Benrey

    Janet Benrey

    February 15, 2012 | Reply

  • Gayle, dear, dear friend, what a great beginning for something so needed for so many! I am going to recommend that a dear friend who is a widower check out your blog. He might not be the target audience, but he has lost his membership in the couple’s club and is grieving. Joy Gage

    Joy Gage

    February 15, 2012 | Reply

  • Dear Gayle, as you know, I am so sorry for your loss. Your blog is much appreciated by yet another member of the “singles club”. Your wisdom and insight is a source of comfort and encouragement. Thank you so much.
    Becky VerSteeg

    Rebecca VerSteeg

    February 15, 2012 | Reply

    • Rebecca VerSteeg » Thanks so much for the encouragement, Becky.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      February 15, 2012 |

  • Thank you for this Gayle. Wish I had it 5 years ago but I know it’s still going to be helpful now!

    Karen Roper Runyon

    February 15, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks, Karen. Your Jim was a great guy. I’m only sorry I didn’t know him better.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      February 15, 2012 |

  • I remember very well nearly 17 years ago when my husband passed away thinking “I don’t know how to be a widow”. I went back to college as soon as the doctors said Gordon was terminally ill and had 2 children still at home. The journey was tough but God was with me every moment,,,even in those times I could not feel him. Thank you Gayle for being willing to put yourself out here for others to share your journey. God will use you mightily with this. Blessings, Connie Sue

    Connie Sue Larson

    February 15, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks, Connie Sue. What a challenging journey you had! So glad you made it and doubly glad you rested in the Lord.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      February 15, 2012 |

  • Our 25-year-old son died of a drug overdose in Nov. I know that’s not the same as a spouse, but I thought I might find this helpful.

    Diana Urban

    February 15, 2012 | Reply

    • Diana, I can’t imagine your pain. Losing a child has always seemed the ultimate hurt to me. Maybe reading about how widows feel lost and aimless will sound familiar. You are very welcome here.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      February 15, 2012 |

  • Oh, sorry, I wrote the previous comment accidentally. I thought it just went to you, and that I was signing up for a blog newsletter. Shouldn’t look at websites on my phone! I’m so sorry for your loss. I enjoyed meeting you and your husband at Mt. Hermon. I remember him being very kind and efficient.

    Diana Urban

    February 15, 2012 | Reply

    • I love your comment about Chuck–kind and efficient. That was exactly right. Very kind as a man of God and very efficient as a PhD engineer.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      February 15, 2012 |

  • Congratulations, Gayle. I know this is going to bless and strengthen so many. I’ve already passed the link along to several.

    Kathy Collard Miller

    February 15, 2012 | Reply

  • Gayle, I don’t know if you remember me, but I remember you. I AC[R]W when there were only about 120 members, and came to every conference for the first several years. Then my writing life was sidelined because I became the sole caregiver, 24/7, for my beloved husband as he slid agonizingly away from me down the long, dark tunnel of a rare dementia. So I lost him as a husband and partner by maybe 5 years or so ago, and he died this June, an unknowing baby in a bed. Unknowing except in one way–he knew when I was near. I don’t know when you lost your husband, but I do grieve with you, and I think this blog is a wonderful idea, both for you and for those God will bless through you, including me.

    Debbonnaire Kovacs

    February 16, 2012 | Reply

    • Debonnaire, I’m so sorry for the long, sad journey with your husband. What a gift that he always knew somewhere deep inside when you were there. Some day you’ll write about it and God will use it. I’ve found that takes time, though the amount will be different for each of us.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      February 16, 2012 |

  • JOINED ACRW that is! Wow, first post I’ve ever published without rereading and editing! Just shows how much you moved me. . .

    Debbonnaire Kovacs

    February 16, 2012 | Reply

    • If this is your only writing mistake, you’ll be way ahead of me! (:

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      February 16, 2012 |

  • Gayle,
    Your blog is wonderful. I have two friends that became widows in the last 6 months. I am sure they will find your site helpful. I think it is profoundly helpful to understand what you are all going through. God bless as you minister to all those with hurting hearts.
    Jean

    Jeanette Ley

    February 16, 2012 | Reply

    • Hey, Jeannie. Thanks for the note. I appreciate you and your encouragement.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      February 16, 2012 |

  • You have always been such a role model for me. Strong, always trusting in God’s decisions, helpful, kindhearted and supportive. And even though it’s almost 4 widow years later it’s not getting easier. Thank you, dear Gayle, for your gift to us.

    Elke Melconian

    February 18, 2012 | Reply

    • Elke, your determination to forge ahead and do so with a smile has been a blessing to me! I know it hasn’t been easy, but you have been a widow of grace and grit.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      February 18, 2012 |

  • I’m so glad you’ve started this blog. I was widowed over 10 years ago. I was 38 years old with a 9 year old son. It was sudden to say the least! My husband was the picture of health and died of a heart attack while jogging.

    I have been called upon to minister to young widows on many many occasions, and am happy I can now recommend your blog for them.

    I always tell young widows…. you are now a member of a club that no one wants to be a member of…. yet we are sisters. I always felt like my peers were white haired ladies that sat together in church… I was young…. really young! I didn’t really have anyone to help me pave MY way, but I will tell you… life does go on. Amazing life goes on!

    I feel like I have led a charmed life, even with the heartache of losing my husband. I am recently remarried to a wonderful man! My father has been deceased since I was 16, so this time when I got married, my two adult life-long bff’s walked me down the aisle and gave me away. That was huge to my new hubby. It meant that they were happy for me!

    I pray for each of the women who visit this sight. I’m thankful for your insight to begin this blog!

    Susan

    Susan

    February 18, 2012 | Reply

    • Susan, thanks for your note and for the good word that life continues and can be fulfilling even though different. I hope that you will visit often and post your thoughts. And congratulations on your marriage!

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      February 18, 2012 |

    • Susan I am so sorry for your loss. everyday we heal more in our Lord. I had another hard loss four years ago when not only my husband died from his disease at the age of 31, but my 20 year old son died in a car accident. i have been putting my life back togther. I would like to encourage you to keep moving forward in the good things God still has for your life Bless you.

      Julie DeGon

      May 6, 2012 |

  • Gayle, so sorry for your loss. I too am a widow, 5 years in January after almost 40 years of a good marriage. As Christians I have the blessed assurance to know where my husband is PTL, he’s in heaven enjoying all God has prepared for him. Amen. The Lord reminded me that a day in heaven is a thousand years on earth so David won’t even be there a day before we are reunited. :0) Until then God has a plan for me. Jeremiah 29:11 I have a hope and a future, something special just for me. It wasn’t thrown together at the last minute when my husband died, God had His plan in motion long before I needed it.
    I’ve learned that grieving is a process with no short cuts. We widows must learn to rely on God, trust His plan and allow ourselves to go through the grief without guilt for being the one who is still here or for the tears that spring up spontaneous for no apparent reason.
    For the newly widowed it might be hard to fathom as each day is one of determination simply to get up and live, but one morning in the not too distant future, you will wake up and realize YES, I do have a hope AND a future. I know first hand. Blessings and prayers, Jan

    Jan Warren

    February 19, 2012 | Reply

    • Jan, thanks for your encouragement, given as one who has been where new widows are and lived through it. I like how you say grieving is a process with no shortcuts. So true! But you are proof that there is tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. Thanks for sharing your story.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      February 19, 2012 |

  • Gayle,

    Once again you found a way to bless others on their life journey. As I continue to reach out to women I will share your blog with those that find themselves in this time of their lives. Thank you for showing His mercies are new EVERY morning- even in their mourning.

    Karen Pennell

    February 25, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks, Karen. I appreciate you and your kind comments.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      February 25, 2012 |

  • Gayle, this is one of the most beautiful, ministering blogs I’ve ever read. I’m not a widow, but I read because I want never to take my husband for granted. I also have many close friends who are widows.

    I send them all here because this blog is in many respects like the comforting arms of God: a refuge, a safe place, a very present help in times of need, a solace of reminder that He is very near to the brokenhearted.

    Love, Cheryl

    Cheryl Wyatt

    April 30, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks, Cheryl. Enjoy your man. He’s a great guy.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      April 30, 2012 |

  • Thank You for your website. I have been a young widow since 1990. I raised my four year old son alone until he died in a car accident in 2007 at the age of twenty. I have found healing in writing my first book’Healing In the storms.’I hope we can keep in touch.

    Julie DeGon

    May 6, 2012 | Reply

    • Julie, I’m so sorry about both your husband and your son. I’m glad you’re writing your story. There’s great healing in writing, and we get to offer the comfort with which God has comforted us, as St Paul writes.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      May 8, 2012 |

  • A friend gave me the name of your blog and this is my first time here. I’ve been a widow since June of 2005. Thank you for sharing your heart with your wonderful writing. I’ll be back.

    Blessings,
    Wanda

    Wanda S. Maxey

    June 27, 2012 | Reply

    • Wanda, thanks for visiting with us, and I look forward to you coming again. Any wisdom you’ve gained through the years would be mush appreciated.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      June 28, 2012 |

  • Gayle,
    Thanks for your reply. After I had been a widow for two years I got on the Internet and found a new love. I married him and on our wedding night I found out that I had married an abuser. My son had to rescue me at gunpoint. I have published a book about what all I went through. “Love and Abuse on 40 Acres,” can be found on Lulu.com
    if you want to check it out.
    Blessings, Wanda

    Wanda S. Maxey

    June 29, 2012 | Reply

    • Oh, Wanda, I am so sorry for your hard experience! As if being widowed wasn’t bad enough. May the Lord be your protection and your strength. I hope your book helps women be cautious.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      July 3, 2012 |

  • Thank you, Gayle. That has been my prayer throughout this long ordeal. And God is wonderful. He held my hand and helped me every step of the way. And I’m getting some great feedback on my book, which makes it all worth while.

    Blessings,
    Wanda

    Wanda S. Maxey

    July 3, 2012 | Reply

  • I just lost my husband last week after a massive heart attack. A common acquaintance sent me to this blog. Thank you, Gayle, for sharing your own grief. I haven’t gone very far but already your words and the verses you’ve sited answer a need.

    Diane Ashley

    December 5, 2012 | Reply

    • Diane, I am so sorry for your recent loss. Learning to be a widow is hard work. There are so many things to do and concentration is so hard! Know we here understand and ache with you. May you feel the Lord’s strong arm about your shoulders.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      December 6, 2012 |

  • Ashley sent me the link to your blog We are FB family My husband of 27 yrs passed away Nov. 24th of this year in his sleep of a massive heart attack totally unexpected I found him when I woke up Complete shock can’t even remember most of what happened that morning My Dad died 40 yrs ago today when I was 15 yrs old We have 3 grown children so I grieve for them also knowing how it feels to lose your Dad not sure where I’m going next just day by day one foot in front of the other

    Karen Edwards

    December 10, 2012 | Reply

    • Karen, I am so sorry about your husband’s abrupt death. Such a shock! I grieve for my grown sons too and the loss of the father they admired and who was an advisor and counselor for them. And for my grandson who needs a male hand not his own father’s (he’s 13; I think that explains it.) Because I trust God, I accept that He knows what He’s doing, but I don’t understand it. Still I trust.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      December 10, 2012 |

    • Ashley I am so sorry about your husband, wow words can’t explain why these things happen, only trust that God has a plan and a purpose. See my post below. Keep the memories of your husband alive and he will forever live in your heart. God bless you

      Peggy Wood

      December 10, 2012 |

    • Thanks for your encouraging words, Peggy.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      December 14, 2012 |

  • Gayle, I lost my husband, my best friend, my protector, my cheerleader, my true love, the father of our daughter, my hero this summer, July 19th. Chet went to be with The Lord three short days after asking Jesus into his heart. We would have been married 30 years. Chet died of cancer and it took him so quickly, I don’t know how to be a widow, but I am learning to breathe and to take one day at a time. I know I will see My Bubba one day and for that reason I will make it.

    Peggy Wood

    December 10, 2012 | Reply

    • Peggy, I’m so sorry you lost Chet. How wonderful that he trusted the Lord before his death! If it’s any comfort, I don’t think any of us know how to do the widow thing. We all learn as we go, and it’s not one size fits all. I’m glad you’ve joined us here, and I hope you find comfort and feel the arms of Jesus about you.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      December 14, 2012 |

  • Gayle, One of my best friends lost her husband three days ago. I can hug her and “be there” for her, but I can’t identify with her sorrow, because I’ve not lost my husband. She’s not online. Would it be all right if I printed a hard copy of your blog posts to take to her?

    Connie Stevens

    December 20, 2012 | Reply

    • Please do, Connie. What’s your friend’s name so we can pray for her?

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      December 21, 2012 |

  • Her name is Marcia McIntyre. Funeral is tomorrow. Scares me that she hasn’t cried yet. She’s still numb. I know the grief is there waiting to crash in on her.

    Connie Stevens

    December 21, 2012 | Reply

    • Connie, let her cry when she’s ready. Let her tak about Mr. McIntyre as much as she wants. Let her tell his dying story over and over. It’s currently the focal point of her life. She’ll grieve according to her schedule, not according to the books. Lord, give Marcia a full measure of your comfort and love.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      December 23, 2012 |

  • Gayle, thank you for letting me know about this site via Facebook this morning. I lost my husband on October 27. As you, and others, have said, I don’t know how to be a widow. Or single. Or alone. I went from being my father’s daughter to my husband’s wife to my second husband’s wife. Now I’m facing an unknown future for which I was—am—totally unprepared.

    I will read through the rest of your journey as I can. Thank you for this. And for the others who have left comments in sharing this same path.

    Peg

    Peggy Phifer

    December 23, 2012 | Reply

    • Peg, I’m so sorry you need to read something like Widow’s Journey. There’s no one way to do widowhood and we learn as we go. It is a painful process, but somehow we all survive, and you will too. I think the learning to be alone can be one of the hardest things. May the Lord give you the comfort and strength you need.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      December 23, 2012 |

  • Really liked what you had to say in your post, Tell me, Lord; what am I to be now that I’m a widow? | WidowsJourney.com, thanks for the good read!
    — Aubrey

    http://www.terrazoa.com

    Aubrey

    January 30, 2013 | Reply

    • Aubrey, thanks for your kind encouragement. So glad you dropped by.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      January 30, 2013 |

  • Dear Gayle,
    I just found your website today. I was referred to it by a writing friend, Verda Glick, who met you at a WC years ago. How I relate to what you’ve written!

    I felt my husband’s soul pass beneath my fingers as I gripped his arm, while his eyes gazed rapturouly into glory… almost 16 months ago.

    I am writing, writing, writing, and healing as I write. Your website was a great encouragement to me today. I will explore more of it as I have time.

    Please pray for me as I consider what to do with the things I have written. Do I blog? Follow through with publishing interest? Or wait…?

    Bless you as you minister to widows and find God’s grace sufficient.

    Brenda Weaver

    Brenda Weaver

    February 4, 2013 | Reply

    • Brenda, Welcome to Widow’s Journey. I’m so sorry you have to join us. Writing is often the way we handle the grieving process. Putting those feelings into words and expressing the pain concretely helps so much! I know you’ll figure out the best way to use your writing. Give my best to Verda.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      February 4, 2013 |

  • I just found your “Widow’s Journey” today – I too am new to widowhood having lost my husband of 54 years. It will be 8 months next week – while one has to move on with life, I don’t think you ever get over losing your mate, especially if you had a good marriage. God has a plan for each of us but sometimes, it is hard to see the forest for the trees!!! I’ll pray for you and you pray for me. God Bless you in this ministry.

    Phyllis Rundell

    Phyllis Rundell

    April 5, 2013 | Reply

    • Phyllis, I’m so sorry you have to visit this web site and I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband. 54 years! Long time to enjoy someone you obviously loved. May the Lord comfort you on the lonely nights and strange days.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      April 16, 2013 |

  • Just was shown your website by a friend..my husband died “3 years ago” and without the help of the Lord, I don’t know “what I would do”..yet, Jesus is “closer than a brother” and a great comfort to me….

    Claire Shaffer

    April 13, 2013 | Reply

    • Claire, three years sounds like a long time, but some things are ever present, aren’t they? I’m sorry about your husband but glad you have found your courage and strength in the Lord. May He continue to bless you.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      April 16, 2013 |

  • My husband and I were married for “50 years” and he died the “day after Christmas of a heart-attack..this was “unexpected” and it happened, here, in my home..”right in front of me”..hard to “explain the shock” but, yes, the Lord is “daily looking after me” as the Bible declares..”the Lord becomes a husband to the widow’ (that is He looks after her..and I have found that to be “true.”)

    Claire Shaffer

    April 16, 2013 | Reply

    • Claire, I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband. 50 years is a long, long time. Such a sudden death is hard to take in. I’m glad you’ve been finding comfort in the Lord. Being a widow is hard stuff, but knowing Him does make it easier. Not easy, but easier.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      April 17, 2013 |

  • Please add my business email to your mailing list. at this time, it is the only email I use. I have been a widow four and 1/2 years. it is still so painful, and I cannot share without still crying. just the thought or mention of his name brings tears of sadness to my spirit, my soul, and in the deepest parts of me that I do not have a name for. I am a child of God since a young child, 8 years old. He was too, and I rejoice that he is in Heaven, walking the pearly street beside the crystal sea, and feasting on the banquet table with friends, old and dear, ancients who went a long time ago, and with Jesus Christ and the Angels. I cannot even imagine how wonderful that must be. But I try! And I am grateful for a long marriage to a wonderful teacher, beloved and honored by so many, including our President in 2006. Prayers to you also!

    Bonnie Walker

    June 22, 2013 | Reply

    • Bonnie, I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband who sounds like a wonderful man you obviously loved dearly. I’m not surprised that it still hurts four and a half years later. When someone is such an integral part of your life, his absence is huge. I’m glad you know the Lord and that your husband did too. That makes the pain more bearable. Not non-existent by any means but more bearable. I’ve added your email.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      June 23, 2013 |

  • My journey began Tues Feb, 11 2014. Although I haven’t read much of this blog, I can already tell it will minister to my heart. I am grateful to have found you.
    Thank You, Gayle for sharing.
    May I add a link to this from my blog?

    Kathy

    Kathy Lowrey

    February 13, 2014 | Reply

    • Kathy, I am so sorry for your loss! And so recent! I’m glad you found Widow’s Journey. I hope it comforts you. All of us here have been where you are and send you our prayers. Feel free to add a link to your blog.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      February 13, 2014 |

  • My husband died unexpectedly 2 wks ago. He was my soulmate best friend and my love. We a big romantic vacation planned for this month. Just one moment in my life and everything has changed. We had a wonderful dog that was here to comfort me and now he is gone too. The dog gave up on life. And now I Am too. I can’t take the pain.

    Cindy

    February 15, 2014 | Reply

    • Cindy, it’s hard, hard, I know. But you will survive. Please realize you owe it to the other people in your life to fight through. Cry and rage if you want but don’t d anything foolish, all right? Let us know you’re okay.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      February 19, 2014 |

  • My journey began nearly 3 years ago and still the loss seems so fresh. I am struggling with so many things right now. I don’t know really who I am. Coming to terms with becoming an “I” instead of “We” has been difficult.

    God in his infinite mercy took my beloved husband quickly. He had dementia and feared ending his days in a facility not knowing anyone. His heart simply stopped. One moment he was with me. The next he was gone. Though I knew it was coming I was not prepared.

    The silence is deafening. No one to talk things over with. No one to do those “husband things” around the house. And finding someone competent to help has been a real challenge.

    There are still many decisions that I need to make, however, I just feel stuck. I know that I have made progress through the phases of grief but still I am yet to find my way.

    Some days I feels like I am just barely hanging on.

    Thanks for just letting me say all this. I just found this site today.

    Barbara J.

    March 18, 2014 | Reply

    • Barbara J, I know exactly how you feel. I’m so glad you found us. Know that we here understand that lost feeling and the silence. I wish I had happy words to cheer you up with, but I don’t. Grief is just something we have to fight through and deal with. I am glad your husband didn’t have to suffer the indignity that he feared. Even in our pain, God is there and is still good. Please hang around and write as often as you please.

      Gayle Roper

      Gayle Roper

      March 19, 2014 |

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