Today I read What is a Helpful Practice in Marriage on the blog, Practical Shepherding. The article speaks of how useful it is for couples to speak with those who have been widowed to renew a sense of thankfulness for what they still have. How often we can focus on petty annoyances and cease to see the bigger picture - that of the blessing of still having our spouse with us.
When I'd read the article, my mind went to two people with whom I've spoken this week who have gone through the pain of losing their spouse. Although I spent only a very short time with each of them, one thing was clear in both cases: they will never, ever stop missing their loved one, an they feel the loss as though part of them is now gone.
I spoke to a widow and a widower. Boy, this article is right that they are worth speaking with! The widow was married for over 40 years, and lost her husband last year after a very long, and debilitating illness. She is a shadow of her former self. Even though, in the years before he passed away, he could do almost nothing for himself, and used an electronic device even to 'speak', her grief at actually losing him was humbling. 'I am lost without him', she said (even though he was unable to do so much latterly).
Unlike the woman I met, who'd had a long marriage with her husband, the widower I spoke with was only married 12 years when his wife passed away. That was 26 years ago..... Twenty-six years, and he still can't stop talking about her! How he loved her, and though all this time has passed, his heart still grieves.
I felt humbled to have met these two Christians (whose spouses were both Christians too). I also felt a renewed thankfulness that God has seen fit to, as yet, make me a wife, not a widow.