The Widow Status
As I was filling out a prayer card at church today, I noticed something in the demographic section that got my thought process whirling. The only options to check were single or married. Being single matters. Being married matters. We all matter. But it bothered me. It bothered me because, if relationship status matters, I desire to have my status validated, too. I don’t want my entire identity to be wrapped up in widowhood, but I want it to be acknowledged. Marriage was hard and rewarding work. It’s a huge part of who I was and who I am. The W-4 tax form also allows for only a single or married option. My spouse involuntarily died. I get a one year reprieve from the government then go back to a higher tax bracket. The government only cares if I’m widowed after 60 and if I don’t remarry. Then I get a little bit of monthly income for the heartbreak.
Having a widow status matters. It matters because my marriage mattered. We invested our lives in it. We poured our souls into it. We trusted each other enough to intermingle finances, make huge decisions jointly, and create three humans together.
Having a widow status matters. It matters because of how much it has changed me. I view the world though a different lens. I see the fragility of life, I feel my own mortality. Emotions are more intense, sensitivity is heightened, and there is now vulnerability where there once wasn’t.
Having a widow status matters. It matters because there will always be a part of my heart missing. It means there is an emptiness that needs friendship and support. And one day that void may fill with hope and love.
Having a widow status matters. It matters because it was my choice to marry. I chose to share my story with someone else. And Simon chose me. It was God ordained and it was the biggest decision we ever made. It was not my choice to be alone.
Having a widow status matters. It matters because it’s a small, unique, and awkward demographic for the young and an epidemic for the old. I had 10 years with my spouse. Imagine 40 or 50 years together and then experiencing that loss. It’s unfathomable to me.
Having a widow status matters. It matters because God knew this would part of my story since the beginning of time. He was preparing us for this years in advance (here is just one of the posts about His provision). He holds a special place in His heart for widows and I’m grateful because most days I need to be reminded of His unconditional love and mercy. In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, the Apostle Paul writes:
But He (Jesus) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses…in hardships…in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Having a widow status matters. It matters because I am weak most days. Weary from loss, weary from work, and wanting to be strong. Here is the progress on Simon’s plot in Texas. The ground is still settling before the headstone can be placed. Yet the grass is growing. Still settling yet slow growth. It’s an analogy we could all learn from.