I have now entered the infamous and much-dreaded second year of widowhood. Are you surprised by that? I was until I Googled “second year of widowhood” a few months ago. Oh my, there is MUCH written on this subject, and everything I read was written by someone who was walking right in the midst of it. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty well-kept secret.
So, I can’t say I was surprised by this. I do think I entered this stage earlier than some, not because I’m trying to be an over-achiever, but because I was already living alone and had been taking care of all the household responsibilities for about four years prior to Dale’s death. I’d already experienced some “widow-like” circumstances.
I decided to Google this topic once more before starting this blog post, to be more intentional about what was being shared. (I also found that many of the women commenting on these blogs had ALSO Googled this topic!)
Here are some of the most prevalent emotions and experiences expressed by the many women whose words I read:
- Acute pain
- Going through the motions
- Handling the necessary details of death
- Taking on new roles
- Stronger support system
- Harder than year 1 (everyone said this)
- Support system moves on
- Disappointed reality – he’s not coming back
- It’s not getting better
- This is my life now
- Begin living without him
If year 1 and 2 were doors in a gameshow, would you really want to choose either one of them? Definitely not!
Do I relate to these Year 2 emotions? To a very great extent, yes, I do. And have since about the 8-month mark when I felt bombarded by so many memories that brought me to tears. Much more than in the first six months. And definitely lonelier.
Here are some additional heartaches I struggle with:
- I’m conflicted between wanting people to still check in on me – and yet not wanting to still need it.
- I’m tired of daily crying, but part of me doesn’t want to lose that emotional connection to Dale.
- My go-to person for all the joys and sorrows in my life isn’t here anymore. I can’t take this deep sorrow and increasing loneliness to him. And that is an ache that continues to grow the longer I’m without him.
But, if you’ve been following any of this blog over the past months, you know that I am not without hope, and I am not unaware of the blessings in my life.
It bears repeating – God is my all-sufficiency in this trial. And not just for the gut-wrenching first few weeks. He’s here for the long haul. And honestly, the long haul is essentially until I leave this earth.
Widowhood isn’t a condition you eventually get over. It is something you learn how to live with for the rest of your life. You are forever changed by it. Kind of like having a limb amputated. You ALWAYS know it’s not there anymore, but you figure out how to do life without it.
So, I guess the goal of this post is really two-fold. First of all, I wanted to shed some light on what this journey is like, even past that “magical” (not…) first year mark.
Secondly, I wanted you to know that my strength and my hope is still rooted in my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus.
- He is the same today, yesterday and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
- He will never leave me or forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6).
- He collects my tears in His bottle (Psalm 56:8).
- And because of these promises, I can count it all joy (James 1:2).
Here’s to a year of learning deeper truths from God, no matter how my heart is doing.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.