A Widow Finds Comfort

Roberta discusses how some psalms and proverbs that continue to comfort her after her husband's passing.

By Roberta Meyers, A Pastor's Widow

Categories: Abundance, Loss

As a recent widow, one of the hardest things for me is the way others go out of their way to avoid even mentioning my husband's name. It almost seems as if, for them, he never existed. I know this isn't true. Everyone I know loved Jerry. In my intellect, I know that. But it translates to my heart as something hurtful when they never talk about him. Only those who have lost someone utterly dear to them can understand this feeling of repeating the loss when others simply never mention him again.

I need to talk about him. Not dwell on him or deify him - but just feel free to talk about him now and then, without others becoming embarrassed and awkward about it, averting their eyes and changing the subject. I have a couple of widow friends who understand this, and we openly discuss our losses with one another, each being supportive of the other. We don't flinch and retreat into stupid talk about the weather and plans for an upcoming picnic, when one of us needs to talk about that special person whom we will never see again in this life.

It's worst with our families. The kids don't like talking about "him." It reminds them that he's gone. Well, kids, heads up! He IS gone - but not from our hearts and memories. That person was a warm and funny and difficult and truly-interesting person. And the one who was closest to him, shared the most of life with him, needs to not be inhibited about speaking openly and lovingly of him, and how much she misses him.

Understanding the dynamic that is at work here has been a help to me. I remember doing just what they're doing. Avoiding all possible reference to the person who has passed away, thinking I was protecting them from painful memory and also protecting myself from emotional and social blunder. The truth is, we just don't know what to say when someone dies. We don't know how to comfort "the bereaved." It reminds us of our own mortality and that of all our loved ones. We're uncomfortable with that. That's okay. Everything doesn't have to always be comfortable.

As Christians, our comfort comes from the Lord. Psalms and Proverbs are full of reassurances of God's ever-presence in times of trouble.

  • In Isaiah we are told He was acquainted with grief.
    • (Isa 53:3) "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
  • In the New Testament, when Lazarus died, JESUS WEPT!
  • In John 14, we read Jesus' tender words to us.
    • (John 14:1-3) "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
  • Again in chapter 17.
    • (John 17:1-3) "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

We can, and must, as His ambassadors, His family, here on earth, learn to comfort one another with these words, and when we can't think of them, just be still, extend a loving arm around the sad person in front of us. Give them eye contact, don't look away.

Don't act as if we have no hope! For our hope is the greatest there is -- hope of eternal life with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And, in that heavenly setting, we will also be with those dear loved ones who embraced Him as THEIR Lord. ---- forever and ever.