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.