Over the course of the past week, God has really provided ample opportunities in which I chose to pout. My feelings hurt repeatedly by people I like, I have reacted both emotionally and prayerfully. I am well aware of my need for Him to “set a guard over my mouth” (Psalm 141:3) before I let situations escalate. My tongue gets me in plenty of trouble, so I ask God to help me to be more understanding and compassionate and kind, and all of those other warm and fuzzy words.

I’m guilty of saying some pretty stupid things, and for those that are still friends with me, I pre-apologize for future idiotic lapses in judgment. Don’t we so easily speak first and think second? How often do we pause and pray before opening our mouths? Do we consider our audience before articulating what’s on our minds? 

In the current culture of everyone being offended, let me just vent for a second.

I became involuntarily single four years ago when my husband passed away (yes, this sentence is a punch to the gut). As a widow, there is quite a sting when I hear someone declare that they are a “golfing widow” or “hunting widow.”  When a friend complains that she is a “single mom” because her husband works long hours, or an acquaintance laments that she can relate to me because her spouse is in the military. Shoot, even divorced people have tried to commiserate that they “get it” because they are unmarried.

Golfing and hunting widows, I know you miss your man.

Wives of hard workers, I know the minutes pass like hours.

Military wives, I know you wish he was home.

Divorced ladies, I know your happily ever after did not happen.

We are not members of the same club. I’m sorry if this hurts your feelings, truly (I’m really working on this filtering-my-thoughts thing). But we are not. Your “club” is no less painful, but it is not the same.

Because for widows, there was no choice. No decision. No weighing of options, pursuing a passion, or drawing a conclusion. And while all of these other situations and circumstances possess so much pain and hardship that cannot be measured, our valleys are not the same. I don’t say this to diminish what you feel, but rather to shed light on how our words (mine included) can bring healing or harm.

If you know a widow, remember that her husband is missed every season of the year. 

If you know a widow, remember that she’s always taking care of the kids without help on the horizon. 

If you know a widow, remember that her fairytale future imploded. 

If you know a widow, remember that her husband is never ever ever coming home.

The only countdown is to heaven. 

She misses the man of her dreams and would pay any price for a five-minute conversation at midnight.

Be there for her. Be there with her. Let her talk, cry, and scream. Sit in silence together. Hug her tightly. Pray together. 

And pause. Be grateful for whatever amount of time you’ve been gifted, knowing that life can turn heels-over-head unexpectedly when a loved one is taken from us.

May the Lord continue to help me, and you, to guard our lips, always seeking to put the other before ourselves.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Debbie Wilkins Baisden

Debbie is a mom to 4 boys (Paul, Brad, Andrew, and Joshua, or “PBAndJ” for short). Unexpectedly widowed in 2012, Debbie’s world was turned upside down. Clinging to God, her stay-at-home mom days in suburbia now demanded a paying job. Instead of returning to the classroom, she decided that Chapter 2 of life meant pursuing her passion of all things fitness and nutrition. She enjoys helping women look and feel their best. Debbie remarried in 2014 and lives in North Carolina.

We Do Each Day, and the Days Become Our Life

In: Death of a Spouse, Grief
We Do Each Day, and the Days Become Our Life www.herviewfromhome.com

Living in DC means taking cabs. My husband, Shawn, and I took plenty of cabs for the 13 years we lived in DC together, and he always loved chatting with the drivers. I remember one time when we were going out he got into a long discussion with our driver who had fled Iran during the 1979 revolution. Our friends who were also in the cab were blown away with how much Shawn knew about the revolution. Our driver, who became Shawn’s newest best friend, was pretty impressed, too. But now I’m taking cabs alone, so I prefer using a car...

Keep Reading

Surviving the Weight of Grief—Because I Must

In: Death of a Spouse, Grief
Surviving the Weight of Grief—Because I Must www.herviewfromhome.com

It’s been a long time since I wore three-inch heels. They sit in my closet, beautifully shiny and begging me to go out. The thing is, I’m perpetually sad, and going out won’t change that. But I’m tired of being at home all the time. In any case, the heels finally won out a few days ago and I got myself downtown. I was going to a political event—something my husband Shawn and I would have done frequently if he were still alive. Most of the people there didn’t know me, and I found it interesting that I was able...

Keep Reading

I’m Parenting Alone, But I Can’t Be Both Mom and Dad To My Kids

In: Death of a Spouse, Grief, Motherhood
I'm Parenting Alone, But I Can't Be Both Mom and Dad To My Kids www.herviewfromhome.com

I have heard a lot from single moms and dads, widowed or otherwise, that now they “have to be the mom AND the dad.” While practically, I totally get that, I find I can’t burden myself further with that thought; feeling like I need to be the dad for my children, now that theirs is dead. It’s too exhausting to try to put pressure on myself to do the impossible because I will never, ever be able to take the place of their dad or take the place of a father figure that may be there in the future. Ever....

Keep Reading

It’s OK To Pray For Your Future Husband As You Mourn the One In Heaven

In: Death of a Spouse, Faith, Grief
It’s OK To Pray For Your Future Husband As You Mourn the One In Heaven www.herviewfromhome.com

“Don’t worry, you’ll find another dad for your kids, you’re young,” an older widow told me a week after my 34-year-old husband died. Those words didn’t even register because I didn’t want another dad for my kids, I just wanted the original one not to be dead. “Please God, find another husband for Nicole,” the church’s counselor prayed with me the first time I met him when I was desperate for someone, anyone, to listen to my pain as a I grappled with the confusion and heartache of death and my new role as a widow. The prayer fell on deaf...

Keep Reading

To the Single Mom Who Feels Forgotten At Church

In: Death of a Spouse, Faith, Grief
To the Single Mom Who Feels Forgotten At Church www.herviewfromhome.com

“There’s no place for me,” I pointed out to the church staff member who was manning the small group sign-up table. I had walked down the long table of groups, desperate to find a place for a 28-year-old newly widowed mother of a newborn and twin toddlers. “Well, we have a widowed group over here,” he pointed to the 50+ table. I didn’t fit in. “And we have the couples with young children over here,” he added. But I didn’t fit in. “And we have the singles groups over here,” he held up the table. I didn’t fit in. I...

Keep Reading

I’m His Widow, But I’m So Much More Than That

In: Death of a Spouse, Grief, Relationships
I'm His Widow, But I'm So Much More Than That www.herviewfromhome.com

Apparently, it’s National Widow’s Day. May 3. There’s a day for everything now, to sandwich widows between National Eat a Doughnut Day and Dress Your Dog up as a Cartoon Character Day (that has to be a day somewhere, right?) makes it rather trite, don’t you think? Who even knows it’s National Widow’s Day unless a meme told you anyway—unless you’re a widow (or widower, is there a widower day too or is it all lumped into one day I wonder?), and any widow knows she doesn’t need a day to remember she’s a widow. She remembers every. Single. Day. I don’t need one...

Keep Reading

After Their Dad Died, Kids Repurpose His Old T-shirts In the Sweetest Way

In: Death of a Parent, Death of a Spouse, Grief
After Their Dad Died, Kids Repurpose His Old T-shirts In the Sweetest Way www.herviewfromhome.com

My son hasn’t said much or talked much since his father’s death a couple of months ago. The counselor said he’s at the age where he will be closed off. He may be angry or cranky at times, likely for no reason. He is old enough to understand this heartbreak, but doesn’t know quite how to process it. He’s also a pre-teen, which means these would all be normal characteristics that I’d be getting used to anyway. But I don’t like when he doesn’t laugh. I don’t like when he doesn’t smile. I don’t like that he doesn’t talk or ask...

Keep Reading

Grief Gave Me the Courage To Start Saying No

In: Death of a Spouse, Grief
Grief Gave Me the Courage To Start Saying No www.herviewfromhome.com

I have a hard time saying no. I say yes to things because I think I should. I say yes because saying no gives me anxiety. I say yes to avoid conflict or because everyone else is saying it. Why is such a simple word so ridiculously intimidating? Maybe because we’re afraid of how we’ll be perceived. We don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings. We think we are superheroes and we can do it all. We’re too focused on pleasing others. There are many reasons we say yes when we really would be better off saying no. But right...

Keep Reading

How To Help Your Children if Your Spouse Dies

In: Death of a Parent, Death of a Spouse, Grief
How To Help Your Children if Your Spouse Dies

When one parent dies, the child left behind is almost not helpable at first. How do I know a child whose parent dies is almost not helpable? Because it happened to me when I was a child. I lived it. It sounds ominous to be labeled not helpable, but I promise it’s not. I know what can help. I was the classic stubborn, self-conscious teen who thought she could do it all herself. This seems contradictory to be self-conscious but still think you can do it all yourself, but it applied to me mostly when it came to my mom....

Keep Reading

I Married a Man With Terminal Cancer—And We Lived a Beautiful Love Story

In: Cancer, Death of a Spouse, Relationships
I Married a Man With Terminal Cancer—And We Lived a Beautiful Love Story www.herviewfromhome.com

They say you can’t help falling in love with someone, like we really don’t have a choice, which may be true. But the real love story happens after the falling, when our feet hit the ground and we are presented with the choice to stay or run after realizing the love story contains our messes, our brokenness, our faults and mistakes, our desires and passions, our pain and deepest regrets, our darkest secrets and greatest triumphs. If you asked me if I would change my choice after hitting the ground with my husband Phil, I would always tell you, “No.”...

Keep Reading