I deal with life insurance and have seen so many widows with no place to turn.
This story hits so many important points right on the head. Thank you Lois for
this story and thanks to those who participated in it! I will pass along this
organization to all with whom I work.
Just planning the funeral is overwhelming. Also, if one is not financially
prepared it can be a disaster with many unwanted changes in lifestyle, such as
moving, school changes, new friends, etc. I have not dealt in a widow
situation, only a child, yet I did learn that everyone grieves in a different
way. So, I was not offended by any of the remarks. Most people do not know
what to say and do. Our family just went about taking care of what was needed
in our situation. If someone wanted to help, we were good with that.
Article quotes: "She was also hurt by well-meaning church folks who said,
“Aren’t you glad there’s a plan?” Her response: “I
hate the plan.”I agree with just about everything this article
says except that. The Plan of Salvation is real and all of life and happiness
depends soly upon it so why not gently encourage widows to stay focused on that?
I'm not suggesting that that is all one does, no, much physical and
emotional service must be done but I don't see how mentioning the
Lord's omnipotent Plan of Salvation can be hurtful. I know for me it would
be THE key to get me through such a loss.And this one, too, from
Gerst: "God needed him more than you,” which she sincerely
doubts."Unless the situation is suicide, how is this not true?
Again, other service will undoubtedly be needed, but contemplating the reality
that God did indeed call one home would decrease my anger somewhat. A pointless
death would be horrible, but contemplating that the Lord is in charge and that
all things are done with His wisdom would help.To all afflicted,
To "The Caravan Moves On," the beauty of this article is you have an
opportunity to learn from people who have actually experienced being a widow
teach you what is and is not helpful. When you describe how you would handle the
situation, you are not only dismissing those real experiences, but you are
putting them down because you would handle it "better." You cannot
possibly know how you would handle the situation until you are there.I am not a widow, but I was with my mom as we found out that my dad had passed
away. I can tell you that I did not immediately take comfort in The Plan of
Salvation and neither did she. As time went on, I was very thankful, but in the
extremely painful initially, not so much. Members of the church don't
always allow each other to grieve. They assume that because we know that our
relationships don't end with death, that we shouldn't experience pain
when they die.Please don't dismiss the pointers in this article
just because you think you would handle it differently. You just don't know
until you're the one experiencing it.
The Caraban Moves On,The question is not whether it is
"true" or not. The question is one of propriety. Just because something
is "true" does not make it appropriate nor helpful.Let me
illustrate.It is true that we will all die. As such, would you think
it appropriate to say to a newly grieving widow: "Don't worry, you will
also die and see him soon enough."Get it?
We have a neighbor whose daughter died, leaving 3 children. People would say
'she is in a better place'. Her parents didn't like that because
they thought what better place could she be in than to stay here to raise her
children? It's a matter of having a choice to stay with the family or
leave them with many things undone. I thinks that's why the one widow said
she hates the plan. She doesn't really 'hate the plan' but would
rather have her husband here with her.
"About one-third of widows lose their spouse before age 45." I
don't believe that. An article in USA Today from 8/11/2010 quoted census
data showing that barely over 1% of women aged 35-45 were widowed. And also this
quote: "Deborah Carr, a social demographer at Rutgers University in New
Brunswick, N.J., has studied widowhood since 1998. She says about 1 million
people are widowed each year in the USA; nearly 75% are 65 or older."I appreciate the good advice about how to support those who are widowed,
no matter the age, but spurious shocking figures have no place in a serious
Florwood, the article didn't say 1/3 of women are widowed before age 45.
The article said 1/3 *of widows* lose their spouse before age 45. Those are very
different statistics. The first would mean that data encompassed all women. The
2nd means the data only counts women who are widows. The article doesn't
state what percentage of women lose their husbands before the age of 45. Also,
statistically speaking, 1/3 under 45 and "nearly" 75& 65 or older
aren't that far apart. I don't think anyone's trying to be
misleading, and there will almost always be some difference between studies.
Part of "The Plan" is to experience suffering and grow from it. However,
when you ARE suffering it is not faithless to feel anger or question God's
ways or wish things could be different.Even Jesus, who not only knew
the plan but was the key player in it, asked for the experience to be taken from
him if the Father would. Knowing The Plan was not a comfort to Him at that
point. Why would we expect those who have lost loved ones to feel
differently? "I'm so sorry." Is what they need, not
reasons their feelings should be different even when they believe and understand
the Plan of Salvation. Peace from that knowledge can come in time, but in their
own time - not ours.
Well said, Jeanie. Having been through the death of a spouse, I know that this
is no time for sermons. But unfortunately, too many fellow Saints think it is.
Having a husband who had a fatal disease but was spared, I am truly empathize to
a degree. People did not know what to say to us but one dear friend sent me a
text that said "to remember that we all will pass through the veil
someday" and it was sent to me early on. It came on a day I was looking for
hope and before he had a Priesthood blessing which gave much hope/comfort. I
wanted to choke her but then I thought she just didn't know any better. I
can understand that our need to say something even if it is true has to be timed
right or we end up opening the wound over and over again.
So we have the ultimate truth (the Plan of Salvation), literally brimming with
comfort and strength and we should NOT mention it? I don't know, guys.
I'll have to think about that. Without a doubt there are people in the
article and on this comment board that think mentioning the Plan of Salvation in
death is unwise, at least to them.OK, fine. If I knew you and knew
you wouldn't want to discuss or consider the Plan of Salvation, then OK,
I'll respect your preferences and won't mention it.But it
seems you're leaving a massive potential of strength untapped.Please understand I'm not saying I/we do nothing but 'talk'
about the Plan of Salvation. Nope. We should listen. We should support. We
should render physical service. But doesn't the Bible say that faith
(strength) comes by hearing the word of God?My 2 cents...
The Caravan Moves On, You are missing the point. No one is doubting
the comforting power of the Plan of Salvation. Of course we should speak of it,
and have faith in it. But people need to be allowed to grieve. Suggesting that
someone should not be sad at the loss of a spouse because of our knowledge of
the Plan is like saying that someone who just broke their leg shouldn't be
in pain because they know the bone will eventually heal. That doesn't take
away the reality of the present, and very real, pain. I am not a widow, but
having struggled with infertility for many years, I have dealt with many of
these same well-meaning but misplaced comments, and I can tell you that I love
the Plan of Salvation, I love knowing what blessings will be mine in the
eternities if I prove faithful, but that doesn't take away the heartache
and disappointment of another month without a pregnancy. When you are grieving,
you need sympathy and love, not a sermon.
The most important thing to remember is that every marriage is unique and every
surviving spouse has a unique way of feeling and dealing with grief. I was a
young widow who had dealt with years of my husband's refusal to take care
of his health. I did not grieve as openly as some thought I should. I fell
deeply in love after a couple of years and remarried. I was chided by family
and even church members for saying that my second husband was the love of my
life. How dare I, when I was sealed to the first? I honored and respected my
temple covenants, but how could I be happy eternally without the man I loved
with all my heart? Ultimately, I had to let go and trust that God, who truly
understands our hearts and what we need, will make everything right eventually.
I have known others who had very different experiences from mine. One friend who
was widowed young still looks forward to a glorious reunion with her eternal
companion, even though she has been twice widowed since he died, and is married
Thank you for this article. Everything was spot on and helped me understand
better a bit about me. Now I know why I don't know what I need when people
ask - and it's okay. Thank you!
@The Caravan Moves On"So we have the ultimate truth (the Plan of
Salvation), literally brimming with comfort and strength and we should NOT
mention it?"It's condescending and dismissive of the grief
the one who has lost a loved one is going through.