A ridiculous lie was spoken in my mind tonight. "You’re not even a “real widow”, Aimee. You didn’t lose everything. You didn’t go into poverty or have to move in with your mom."
This ludicrous thought, with fragments of truth thrown in for good measure, popped into my head tonight while I was on the phone with a friend. Seeking to encourage me, there was mention made of how the Lord has a heart for widows; that it was okay and normal that I am in frequent need of the help of others (especially but not limited to childcare) as my life situation is far from ideal. As soon as the word “widow” was mentioned with regard to the Bible, though, I thought of those who are in destitution. I again thought myself ridiculous for being so needy when at least the physical needs of shelter, food, healthcare, and transportation are not concerns.
But as quickly as I had the thought "you’re not a real widow" I made myself throw it up like stomach full of poison. Not a real widow? How is that fair or true? I was a widow the minute his soul left this earth, even before I was aware it had happened.
I knew I was a widow when the chaplain and the man in the shirt embroidered “coroner’s office” ushered us into a tiny room at the hospital. Way to be subtle, guys. The words that followed held no shock. Yet despite believing it, I needed to see him, to touch him, to make it as real as possible in my mind. Like doubting Thomas, I needed the proof right there in front of me. They took me to his body so I could see the death upon it. The resuscitation equipment was still there. I grasped his hand but it was still. I kissed his cheek, no longer moving to take in air or greet me with a smile. I touched his chest, to feel that his lungs and heart no longer dared to stir. I knew a resurrection had come for him in spirit, but none in his flesh.
I was a widow then... his twenty-eight years bookended and my twenty-eight years unfurling into Book Two.
I am a widow still. No, I don’t grieve the way I did then in the beginning. It doesn’t consume me. But there are these constant nagging problems, things that are direct results, such as I have been so needy for the last three years. I am so weary of it. Believe it or not, being a burden to others is tiresome. There are times when I would rather pay for things like childcare than ask someone to babysit who I know would do it for free because at least then there’s no guilt. I don’t have to worry about them resenting me then.
I have to trust that even in all of this, the Lord has a plan. I know He does because I know enough of His love and character to know that He is always trustworthy and always good. And let me tell you, this has certainly been a humbling three years. It’s been a long season of the Lord working in me to teach me more and more about patience. Really though, who likes lessons on humility and patience? Probably no one, and I am no exception. But Jesus saw my need for these lessons and loved me enough to work on them in me (again). But it has also been a season in which the Lord has been so compassionate and merciful to me. I have seen such outpourings of kindness to my family even from strangers that have left me speechless. I have seen my family’s needs met, time and time again, even if it was frustrating figuring out all the logistics as to how.
I struggle. Yet my God is always so much greater than any struggle and I can rest peacefully in that.