Playing the “Widow Card”

Image Source: Brent Peeples

I don’t talk about it much, especially not on here and especially not the past year and a half.

By “it” I mean that I’m a widow and/or a single mom.

I don’t talk about it because I don’t want it to define me.

I don’t talk about it because most times it’s not relevant to what I do want to talk about.

I don’t talk about it because I don’t want to become bitter or whiney.

Et cetera, et cetera.

The last year and a half, though, I’ve not talked about it because someone saw me mention on here the difficulty of being a single parent and saw me post on Facebook last year an article about suicide awareness month and accused me of “playing the widow card.”

I’m not even entirely sure what they were trying to say, but I was hurt and shamed. They told me they didn’t understand why it was so hard for me to deal with my husband’s death and suicide and grief because I hadn’t wanted to stay married to him anyhow.


We had problems. Big ones. I thought they were too far gone to fix. I thought that if the problems couldn’t be fixed I wanted out of the marriage. I thought that problems too big to fix were an excusable reason to break my vows.

For the record: I was wrong.

But wanting the problems to go away and thinking separating/divorcing would do that is a far cry from wanting someone to die.

I didn’t want him dead. I didn’t want him to take his life. I didn’t want my boys to lose their dad. I wanted more and better, not less and worse.

So I’ve been quiet about the grief and the hurts and the struggles of loss and of picking up the pieces.

I was shamed and ashamed. But there’s been such spiritual richness during this time too that it’s a shame, too, not to share my various questions and thoughts and experiences.

So I’m done feeling shamed and ashamed.

I accept God’s grace. And I extend grace, too, to the person who made the comment. Like Jesus said from the cross, “Father forgive them; they know not what they do.” That’s not to be self-righteous because I’m part of the “they” who knew not what I did too. We all need grace.

And if some part of my experience — the good or the bad — can minister or help someone else, that’s awesome. That’s why I share, not to seek or gain sympathy but to put out there something real and genuine that may seem hopeless but isn’t because with God we are never without hope.

And maybe someone out there going through similar things will feel not so alone and will feel hope.



5 thoughts on “Playing the “Widow Card”

  1. Andrea says:

    Oh Heather, we love you so, so much!! I am so proud of how you are managing parenthood and loss. It is difficult enough to be a parent, much less without backup. you are raising two really cool boys, and you are only defined as ‘Miss Heather’ at our house, no labels are necessary. I have no idea who would say such an awful thing to or about you, but they need lots of prayer.
    Yes I babble, but just wanted you to know how much I love and respect you as a Christian woman, and a mom.

  2. You are wonderful and your blog is a tool for ministry for me. My walk with Christ has been helped along through knowing you and reading your blog. This is part of what has made you who you are and I hate that you have ever been shamed or ashamed by that fact. We don’t choose what happens to us in life, we choose how we react.

  3. You are absolutely correct in that you shouldn’t feel shame! The beautiful thing about grace, to me anyway, is sharing it. We all experience grace from God and often times, in the most beautiful and unexpected places. Seeing His grace is the only reason I’m able to give grace freely to others. In so many tough situations, my prayer is for Him to give me the strength to offer grace as He’s done for me. You are beautiful, inside and out, and I love that you are willing and open to sharing your heart with others. Sharing is hard, but helping others through your hurt is amazing!

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