I gave him a big hug when I saw him. My history with this man and his late wife goes back to the time when I was a young girl. They were missionaries on a distant foreign field, and I was in my church, cutting up pictures of strangers who had birthdays that I could put into my prayer calendar notebook as a project. I remember her birthday…it was March 4. Little did I know when I prayed for her as a 10-year-old, I would come to serve with her as an adult. Her name was Martha, and she had a smile that matched the peace that flowed through her.
When my husband and I were in seven weeks of missionary orientation, the couple that served as “veterans” for our group were none other than Martha and her husband Norm. We began a friendship with them that would last for another 30 years, watching us all change countries, retire and then face the loss of a spouse.
When he hugged me back he said: “We widowers have to stick together.” My thought was, “Wow, I’m in a new group now.” I’m still new to this group, and it’s not one I would choose to be a part of. In reality, I work not to be affiliated, but it cannot be avoided. Others hugged me throughout the week and had a word to say about the one I lost–always thoughtful, encouraging, precious, while always reminding me that I am in the group of those who lost.
It’s OK. I just have to get used to it. God’s helping me along this journey of new experiences and feelings. Some are just weird and make you squirm, but aren’t impossible to deal with, with His help.
Norm is a good example for me, as I’ve watched him work through his own grief journey following his dear Martha’s death. He’s not the only one I’ve watched, but a special one, since his Martha played a special role in my life. I’m happy to be part of his group.
Is someone watching you cope with grief? How are you doing? Know you’re not alone…us widows and widowers have to stick together.
Grace and Peace