This will be the 4th year in a row I’ve blogged about National Widows’ Day, despite it being my 5th year as a potential participant – in Year One post loss, I had no idea it even existed. Most widows (and those who love them) don’t. It’s one of those days that, unless it affects you directly, slips quietly by unnoticed. It shouldn’t; I believe it has good intentions. Much like those of us who know and love a widow or two. (Although I speak of widows, this includes widowers, as well.)
May 3, 2020 poses some unique challenges, though. Many of us in the United States are still under some sort of quarantine / lockdown / social distancing orders and some of the ways I’ve suggested in the past to help out your neighborhood widow (like those in these posts from 2017, 2018, and 2019) don’t apply as easily this year. It’s going to take some ingenuity and foresight to honor them this year.
The basic premise of the day is simply this: Find some way to honor a widow/er in your life. That’s it.
“God expresses His love and care for the orphan and widow throughout the Bible, so National Widow’s Day is one small way we honor the widows we know.” ~ Folks at Widow Wednesday
From the elderly neighbor who has been widowed for 20 years to the young mother who lost her husband more recently, find some way to let him or her know they still matter. Many widows unexpectedly find themselves completely outside their former social circles, a result of people not knowing what to do or say. Some find their group of friends shrinking to only those who can relate. Still others isolate themselves in their grief, intentionally shutting out the world to keep from being hurt again. But all are grieving and would benefit from a simple gesture that says “I care”.
Send flowers, send a card, send a care package for their children or their pets. Make a call, make cookies, make time for someone. Pick up groceries, pick up takeout, pick up their prescriptions. If you’re able, mow their lawn, weed their garden, fill their bird feeders. Take the time to listen. Simply listen. Often times, that’s what we need most. Just an ear and a shoulder. And show them they are loved.
I’m one of the more blessed widows. I say that knowing it sounds somehow twisted and perverse, which isn’t my intention. It’s hard to explain the contradictory emotions that constantly war within me. The life I knew was taken from me, pulled out from underneath me without warning. But I was then surrounded and upheld by a group of amazing people, friends and family, as well as some I never even knew in the Before.
They seemed to understand the spirit of National Widows’ Day without needing to be told. And so many kept me going when all I wanted to do was curl up and quit. They listened to me cry and they said nothing more than “I’m so sorry.” I am strengthened by those who love me.
Understand, all widows are not the same. What one needs for support isn’t necessarily what another person will. I cannot give you some magic formula that will enable you to encourage and strengthen every widow/er you know.
Or perhaps I can, because in reality, it all boils down to knowing we still matter. So this coming Sunday, reach out and let the widow/er(s) in your life know you care.
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