In the process of writing my book on grief and loss, I interviewed dozens of widows about their own grief and sense of loss. Eventually, I started getting emails from others who experienced different types of loss. Others shared a lament for their child, sister, mother or close friend. Often during these conversations, the question that I am most frequently asked is this: How do you trust in God after your husband died? My answer is always hesitant because there are days when I’m not sure how or why I continue to believe. Sometimes, I stumble and people catch my awkward pause.
For some of you, this is not a formal religious or theological construct that you question. It is more of an issue of spirituality, a form of goodness, a pure intention, whatever it is that tugs at your soul. I know that the grief-stricken feel abandoned by God and cheated by life.
Wrestling with your spiritual beliefs is natural. It is difficult to feel generous and loving when your entire world is gone. Wishful thinking will not bring back your sister, parent, child or spouse. Death tells us as much about ourselves as it does about the person we lost. You will feel raw, fragile and vulnerable. For this reason, if you are looking for heartfelt advice, seek out a non-judgmental person. Sometimes, this person will be able to tell you what you what to know, and sometimes they will simply hold your hand. They will listen to your regrets, help you confront your fears, and with kindness help you to dance again.
Personally I continue to believe in God despite hearing these horrible and tragic stories. I believe that compassion comes from finding love among our deepest wounds. It is this compassion which allows all of us to console each other. I know that this is where we communicate our deepest love.
Shortly after my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I talked with my husband about my disappointment in God. I was fearful. There always seemed to be a lump in my throat and a tear in the corner of my eye. I told my husband, “I just don’t get it. Why?” My husband, without missing a beat, answered, “You are asking the wrong question. Instead of asking ‘why us,’ you should be asking, ‘why not us?’”
You can read Part 1 of this two-part series here.
About the author: Kristin Meekhof graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kalamazoo College and completed the Master in Social Work program at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and has been mentioned in Author Magazine, Women’s Eye, Less Cancer, and Ecclesio. Kristin is currently co-writing a book with psychologist James Windell titled Just Widowed. Next summer, she will be running the San Francisco Half-Marathon to benefit the Spencer Bell Legacy Endowment Fund for adrenal cancer at the University of Michigan.
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