Something horrible happened. My world crumbled. I remember the terror filling my heart, the first time I peered into the ominous… black… pit…
A tractor accident had ripped my husband Greg away from our lives, away from our two teenage sons and me in 1997.
And there, one day I found myself, clinging at the edge, looking into the abyss. Although its realm is spiritual, the pit loomed real, a genuine threat – as the bottomless black pulled as a magnet at my soul. In that moment of impending doom, dread spilled over, wilting any remaining strength in my arms. Panic rose as I realized where I clung.
That dark hole is the place people fall into… when they are neither here… nor there.
The day of the accident struck like a sneaker wave, out of nowhere, washing my world out to sea, hurling me into a whirlpool of shock.
Yet, so peculiar, so surreal, I remember the sensation of being lifted out of bed the morning after. Most certainly, people were praying for me. This sense of being carried through the subsequent days expanded my faith in the power of prayer, from mere knowledge to profound understanding. Observers shared how remarkably composed I appeared during the planning and event of my husband’s celebration of life.
But then, but then, life goes on. Or that’s what they say.
But, how? How can life go on? How can the world continue turning, as if nothing happened?
Gone, is the one I went to sleep with every night. Gone, is the one I woke up with every morning. Gone, is the one I shared everything, everything with. I close the bedroom door and he is not there. Replacing the space of this one who was always, always here for me now exists a horrifically painful unescapable absence. Day after day after day… Night after night after night…
Greg was taken in November and apparently in December the world had not stopped. So, one December day I forced myself out of the house on some errand. Soon I discovered I could only take so much of being out there. Silently, I wished the cashier would hurry and finish ringing up my purchase before the claustrophobic rising pain would swallow me up then spew me out all over the counter.
Trembling, I got in the car. I had to get home. Pain. Suffocating pain. Oh no – home would not bring sanctuary. Home would be worse. I gripped the steering wheel, an attempt to hold myself together, breathing in… breathing out… breathing in… breathing out….
“God, when I get home and walk through the door, Greg is going to have to be there,” I told Him. “I cannot survive this. You’re going to have to raise him from the dead.”
But he wasn’t there.
I crumbled onto the staircase. And that’s when I first saw it – the ominous pit. My fingers dug deeper into the carpet, resisting the magnet force of its blackness. In the chasm, I could be lost forever.
Sinking…sinking…oh, God…oh, God…
The subtlest sound broke into the darkness, interrupting the torrent. My phone was ringing. On the other end came a person willing to climb into the pain with me, to simply hold me there.
That day, I discovered something. Although it did not erase the pain, I discovered how even the most unexpected lifeline thrown my way could keep me from falling endlessly into the bottomless pit.
Perhaps you have seen it. Perhaps you have been there.
Maybe you’re there right now, clinging at the edge.
Even if you’ve never been there, you’ve seen those who’ve fallen in – most likely in a movie that portrays patients inside a mental ward – hollow, listless, rocking back and forth – mumbling unclear nonsense, nonsense to those outside the realm which holds them captive.
Where have they gone? How did they get there?
Something horrible happened… and their world crumbled…
…and no lifeline had been thrown their way.
We lost Greg twenty years ago, but I remember, and so I understand the gravity of a widow’s loss – the assault of perpetual bitter emptiness that accompanies losing the closest person in your universe.
Fumbling to offer comfort, a caring bystander may proffer something like, “Oh honey, he is always with you in your heart.” Others may send a card along the lines of, “May your memories bring comfort.” Bless their hearts, but these well-meaning friends do not realize how their naivety compounds feelings of isolation.
You see, night after night after night, when a widow closes her bedroom door, his memory does not remove the piercing vacant space. His memory does not hold her. His memory does not talk with her.
No, the reality for a widow is: He is there, and I am here.
He, in eternity. Me, left grappling in time.
Time is not an easy place to be. More so, it is not an easy place to be left in – and I’m speaking for those who have suffered great loss.
Time, that is, our life on this earth, consists of such a menagerie, does it not?
…wild and calm… pain and joy… hell and paradise…
Since becoming a widow, life has proved a menagerie, alright… remarriage… turbulent teenagers… substance abuse… disease… career upheaval… death… marriages bringing grandchildren… divorces bringing heartbreak… Oh, the stories I could tell!
But let me tell you this today – time after time, countless lifelines in countless ways have saved me, just in time.
I am convinced – survival comes through connection.
Widows War Cry is a place of connection – connecting us to one another – yet ultimately connecting us to the One who has created us for so much more than we can even imagine…
Dear ones, grab hold!
Connection is a matter of life or death.
Thus, my Call to Arms, my anthem, my War Cry: Connection!
…because connection with eternity
will carry us to eternity.