It’s 9 weeks since my husband passed away and I’ve found this time extremely difficult, much more so than I expected; because he had been terminally ill for a long time I thought I was prepared for when he eventually died. Not so! I have felt, and at times still do feel, lost, completely bereft and so very alone and the strength and depth of those feelings has taken me by surprise and made life feel very difficult.
One of the reasons my feelings have taken me by surprise is that I always thought I was quite strong and self-sufficient and I had to take the lead in many areas of my marriage. My husband was a good and faithful man who loved me and provided well materially for his family; however there was little emotional support or connection and I had to take the lead spiritually and in our family life.
I was pondering this recently and my mind went back to an aspect of the teaching on the Step 3 Understanding Yourself weekend and suddenly my feelings made sense and I understood them. It was in the session on Understanding and Changing Family Patterns; the ideal model for relationship roles was presented as GOD – HUSBAND – WIFE – CHILD. Whilst I could not disagree with the biblical basis, I had considerable difficulty with that slide and the explanation; it can be very painful to be presented with the ideal and told it’s God’s blueprint when it is so far removed from your own experience and you have had to step into that role. My recollection is that I argued against it and never quite resolved it!
During this process of grieving the loss of my husband I have come to realise and appreciate the strength of my marriage and the bond that was formed when we made that commitment to each other 30 years ago. The practical, day to day working out of the marriage was difficult at times but that never diminished the bond or the spiritual union that had been created when we made our vows to each other before God. Similarly the order created by God of a husband, in submission to God, as head of his wife and family is in place regardless of how well those principles are worked out in practice.
That realisation has helped me to understand the depths of my feelings and why I feel so bereft and daunted at the prospect of spending the rest of my life on my own. It doesn’t take away the feelings but, as I’ve written before, understanding them helps me to manage how I feel and to look at the bigger picture. I also find it very comforting to realise, despite the many struggles we had, just how strong and secure my marriage was and how much I valued it