by Nike N. Chillemi
I lost my husband a year ago rather suddenly. His health had declined rapidly. Later, with prayer and after having gone through reams of papers, I realized he had been hiding his fears about his health for some time. I’ve since been told men do this.
I’ve had to work through the hurt, disappointment, and anger toward him for not taking better care of himself. On one hand he took copious amounts of vitamin supplements and downed a green mineral drink each morning, but on the other hand he failed to tell his doctors what his concerns were. He was quite young, looked robust and healthy, but wasn’t.
I’ve also had to work though self-doubt and self-recrimination.
I’ve moved out of my two-story, three-bedroom house in Brooklyn, N.Y. and am living with my cats and my tiny dog in a doll-house-like, two-bedroom, one-story house in northeastern Florida. I love Florida!
Linda, a Christian friend and transplant to Florida, convinced me to leave the north and come down. She introduced me to Lynn, a Christian real estate agent who found my little rental house. Linda was such a blessing, I drove down and visited her twice while my husband was still alive. Then he and I signed the lease on this little house, but he never made it down.
Life has its seasons. Linda’s husband developed health issues and they had to move back to Maryland to be near their children. Quite understandable, but that left me alone with my little dog and my cats. Well, not quite alone, God blessed me with Patricia, a church gal-pal, and we started going out for lunch after service on Sundays. She drives quite a distance to get to the church, so we don’t see each other often during the week unless we are attending a mid-week service or activity at the church. Still, this relationship is spiritually healthy and is thriving.
Since Linda moved to Maryland, Lynn and Deborah, friends of hers have scooped me up. The three of us have formed what I call my posse.
Lynn, Deborah, and I go to lunch or dinner, to church activities, and hang out in each other’s homes. We love to go thrifting, or assist Deborah with her charitable works. We live fairly close to each other which is a blessing. The Lord has blessed me with their friendship.
Proverbs 18:24 – A man who has friends must himself be friendly. (NKJV)
I’m convinced widows need to form healthy female friendships especially if they are short on family, or if family lives far away. However, a widow may find herself in a peculiar place with her life-partner gone. They did things together. Some of those things might’ve been his interests, some hers. These formerly shared “together things” might feel awkward in a single life. They may bring feelings of loss, sorrowful memories.
I didn’t want to become a downer, constantly talking about my loss with my friends. Yet, I had to talk. But when I listened, I discovered they had losses, issues, and disappointments, too. We could share each other’s pain.
Together, we’ve been making new memories. The best part has been laughing. I’ve started enjoying life again with my new friends.
A good place to start connecting as a widow is at church, possibly a women’s Bible study or prayer group. If the group doesn’t go out for coffee once in a while, suggest it. I found it’s not a good idea to rush in a social whirlwind to start with. However, if a woman friend tries to connect be open to it. Take her phone number and call her. It’s easy does it, but do it!
‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’ Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB)
Nike N. Chillemi’s blog is Mystery and a Merry Heart. Please stop by and visit at http://www.nikechillemi.wordpress.com.
Nike’s Bio: Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chair, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian Fiction. Her books have won several awards. Nike has written book reviews for “The Christian Pulse,” online magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and John 3:16 Marketing Network.