Losing a Husband in Old Age

I just got back from the nursing home where I lead services twice a month. A dear, sweet woman named Verniece shared with me that her husband passed away Saturday. They had shared a lifetime together and even shared a room at the nursing home. Now he is gone. She told me, “I just can’t stop grieving. I miss him so much.” I held her hand as we talked and told her it was okay to grieve, God made us that way. That seemed to help some, but her grief runs deep. I am sure we will talk more in the days to come.

Driving back to the church office, I thought of these song lyrics by Sara Groves (“What Do I Know” from Conversations, one of my favorite CDs):

I have a friend who just turned eighty-eight
And she just shared with me that she’s afraid of dying.
I sit here years from her experience
And try to bring her comfort, I try to bring her comfort.
But what do I know? What do I know?

She grew up singing about the glory land,
And she would testify how Jesus changed her life.
It was easy to have faith when she was thirty-four,
But now her friends are dying, and death is at her door.
And what do I know? What do I know?

    Well I don’t know that there are harps in heaven,
    Or the process for earning your wings.
    And I don’t know of bright lights at the ends of tunnels,
    Or any of these things.

She lost her husband after sixty years,
And as he slipped away, she still had things to say.
Death can be so inconvenient.
You try to live and love. It comes and interrupts.
Oh what do I know? Really, what do I know?

    Well I don’t know that there are harps in heaven,
    Or the process for earning your wings.
    And I don’t know of bright lights at the ends of tunnels,
    Or any of these things.

    But I know to be absent from this body
    Is to be present with the Lord,
    And from what I know of him, that must be pretty good.
    Oh, I know to be absent from this body
    Is to be present with the Lord,
    And from what I know of him, that must be very good.

Here is a clip from the song. Please pray for Verniece at this time of loss.

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8 Comments

  1. Barrie says:

    Ray, thanks for being there for Verniece. I know that she will grieve for her loss. She is fortunate to have a visiting Pastor that understands her sorrow and is willing to take the time to minister to her.

  2. John Ayan says:

    Ray, thanks for the song. You know, whether a person has been married for 60 years or 13 years, when I lost my first wife, the pain is so unbearable, you don’t think you’ll survive. I turned to God after 3 miserable months of despair and stopping on the way home for a drink to ease the pain. The drink didn’t work, but God did. It was almost immediately after deciding to return to church that I met Elayne, my present wife. God allowed us to begin a new story for me. Yes, the pain of loss still continues, but less than before. I still wake in the morning and for some reason, a song, a thought, something I’m doing will bring me back to THAT day when all was lost. I still cry occasionally, but again, not as often. I can talk about it easier and reflect on it as well. I try to live without regrets and remember that each day is precious and perhaps my last one. So, live on in God and cling tightly to Him.

  3. Ray Fowler says:

    John – Thanks for sharing. I love your heart, brother.

  4. Debbie says:

    I lost my husband of 26 yrs. on 4/6/08. He had synovial sarcoma a cancerous tumor in his right left leg and it metasized to his lungs. he went though two years of 500 hrs. of chemo..9 months of protocol drugs and them had his leg removed last sept. and was put on chemo by mouth. He was a trooper and never once waiverd from his faith. Sure several times he said why me Lord but he usually came around and said you know why Lord and that is good enough for me. He witnessed continually through it all..He was 56 yrs. old and I miss him so very much. We were truly soul mates and I ache inside…we have a local church and church family with some major issues going on.

  5. Ray Fowler says:

    Debbie – I am sorry for your loss. I know this must leave such a big hole in your life right now. I pray that God will comfort you at this time and that you may find the support you need from your church family. God bless.

  6. Jody says:

    The Lord gave me the following poem for a woman in my church who finds herself alone after so many happy years together with her husband who had recently died … May it bring comfort to your soul.

    LIFE AFTER DEATH
    © Jody R Goode
    5/17/2009

    When your loved one has fallen asleep in Jesus
    And you are left behind for a time to carry on
    Each day seems to last a thousand years
    As you search for the eagle’s wing to soar upon

    Memories haunt your waking hour
    And grief steals precious time from slumber
    Remembering though,
    Your vow of love had made you one by your Lord’s almighty power
    That no man by his might could ever put asunder

    The God you love and Whom so loved you
    Is the same God Who gives and also takes away
    For it was His only Son He first gave to us and then withdrew
    A mystery for sure – His Way is not your way

    After a time has passed
    When your pain has lost some sting
    No longer drowning in your tears, your sorrow upon Him cast
    Like a river washing over your soul, you have found the eagle’s wing

    Soaring now above the fray
    The Son of Light upon you poured
    His Truth resounds – He is the Way!
    Death has come, but HALLELUJAH! ~ Life in Him has been restored

  7. Ray Fowler says:

    Jody – Thank you for sharing your poem!

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