I have had so much on my mind lately. So many things have been going on, and I have felt a bit overwhelmed. Quite a few things — personal things I am not inclined to share here — have been piling up to cause me to feel deeply. I find myself a bit weary, a little tired from the journey right now. I know better days are ahead, I really do. But sometimes life can be hard; not just for me, for everyone.
If you hold one little rock (trial) in your hand, it may not feel that heavy. But if you continuously stack rocks (trials) into your arms, you begin to feel the weight, and you grow tired of the load you have to carry. If you are already carrying a backpack full of rocks in the form of grief and sorrow from widowhood, the rocks in your arms can tip the scales and make you fall to the ground.
Sometimes life feels like this. Additional trials that come my way are compounded by the loneliness and sorrow of widowhood. Where once I had a companion to assist with the trials in a physical and emotional way, now I am left to face those things alone. There are many to help, of course, but there is simply no comparison when it comes to having a trusted companion at my side; someone to hold me while I am crying in the night. I find this to be especially true with the additional burden of young children, and all that a young family entails. I have come to the conclusion that living life as a widow is not for the faint of heart.
I have been repeatedly told that the second year of widowhood is far worse than the first, and I have found that the new emotions are at a different level of intensity, for sure. I have definitely grown stronger each step of the way, so I am able to endure what comes next; but that does not take away the reality that carrying the cross of widowhood is a challenge in ways I would never wish upon anyone. It is a different kind of pain, one I cannot just bandage up and mend. Those rocks in the backpack feel lighter, or heavier, depending on the strength of my back. Sometimes there is phenomenal strength, and sometimes the weight presses down, causing me to turn to my solution; I plead to my Heavenly Father for help.
I have been there many times; on my knees, pleading.
I am a widow. It is a title thrust upon me by the sudden death of my husband. I know I am not alone in this title, I know there are vast amounts of others who have lost their spouse, and the love of their life. I have exposure to groups of people who have walked a similar path, I have seen and heard their stories and their trials. It is extraordinarly challenging to lose a spouse. It is a test of all that a person is. It is perhaps one of the most challenging trials that can be faced in this life. This isn’t something I saw from the outside looking in, but now I see differently.
In order to manage the weight of sorrow and grief, I have found that I have to do spiritual exercise. Trials can get heavy, and it takes effort to gain the strength to keep moving forward. But every now-and-then, spiritual muscle fatigue sets in, and I just feel tired. I find there are times where prayer and rest, and a little regrouping are required, to regain the strength I need to keep going. (This is, of course, while managing a household alone.) Sometimes it is important to pull back and recharge, rather than going full steam ahead in all areas of life.
I am currently experiencing one of those times right now. I need to recharge. I need to regroup.
I find life grows increasingly more challenging without having a spouse. I often need to be in two places at once, mostly in my own home. It used to be at the end of the day Charles would walk in the door, and there would be another set of hands to accomplish the things that needed to be done. We were always working together, helping each other throughout the day. He would often do sweet things like fill up the gas tank for me, and other little helpful things that amounted to a huge blessing for me. He used to make dinner every Sunday, and we would all work together as a family to do all that needed doing around the house. But now, everything that needs to be done, must be done by me, and my most helpful children (who I am extremely grateful for). But it is not the same without him.
More than anything, I miss the emotional and physical connection with him. I miss having him to talk to throughout the day, as he would share his thoughts with me, and I with him. I find my mind spinning more now than it used to because my thoughts become pent up from not being gradually released. Charles and I were communicators, always talking, always thinking, planning, and doing. Having a companion to share life with was such a blessing, and I miss that blessing in a major way. There are many other things I miss — physical things — but that is not for the blog.
Charles has been gone for almost a year and a half now. Time is flying by, but in a way that is making my head spin, and I need to slow down. This second year has been a strange one for me, but I continue pressing forward, holding onto hope for brighter days ahead. I have been promised in blessings by my Heavenly Father that there is joy in my future, great joy. I keep packing my rocks around, but I am gaining strength, wisdom, and endurance.
I continue to cling to courage.