Comfort2themourning's Blog

For the Widower

I (Tobie) have known many men who are widowers and I have known many widows. I didn’t know what to call them until I became one myself. I knew women are called widows. I also found that together we fall into the “widowed” category. One of the main ideas most people have about those who are widowed is that they are generally in their 80’s and women. It seemed strange that men would lose their wife and be categorized some way, but expected to just move on with life. I have to admit I was one of those people. When I lost Kelli, I found widowhood does not discriminate where age or sex is concerned. When I met and later married my second blessing, Debbie, that fact was reinforced even more so as she and her husband, Taz, were younger than Kelli and I when she lost Taz. One person who helped pull me through and gave me hope was and is Jeremy Camp. I have a copy of the CD/DVD set of Jeremy Camp Unplugged from Franklin, Tennessee where Jeremy gives his testimony before singing the song Walk By Faith about losing his first wife to cancer shortly after their marriage at a young age. It was difficult enough losing Kelli after 25 years of marriage and 27 years together dating and all. I don’t know what I would have done if I had lost her early on. I highly recommend getting this set by Jeremy.

After my wife went home to be with the Lord, I began to do research about widowers and the loss of a spouse. While I did find a good amount of information for widowers, it seemed to me that most of what I found would still lean toward widows in the majority of information presented. There appeared to be very little in the way of guiding widowers through any type of process. It was as if the world was saying, “You’re a man and can take it. Just pick up and move on. You’ll get over it.” I also got some of that sentiment from people around me. While I didn’t want to live off of people’s sympathy, I also didn’t want to have everything shut off within a few days or weeks after burying my wife. I had support from the church we attended for the last year or so Kelli was alive and then for the next year after that, the church I attended before that and the church I attended before that as well as my parent’s church. They were a huge help to my mother-in-law who was helping to take care of my daughters in the days and weeks after Kelli died. While I didn’t expect things to continue for a long period of time, the churches did help for about a month which was actually more than I had anticipated, but that also shows what kind of people they are and even saying that, it still is not enough. Anyway, getting back to the subject at hand, while help was there, it seemed like no one really knew how to deal with a widower. There were a couple of ladies who lost their spouses and the help seemed to go on and on. I know the Bible speaks about taking care of the widow and the orphan, it really doesn’t address the widower with the exception of when a man would lose his wife and his ordeal was mentioned and then he simply went on about his business. There would be an occasional reference to his deceased wife when his children were mentioned, but there seem to be no guidelines about widowers as far as I have seen in the Bible to this point in time. I will address some having to do with widowers at a later time, but for now want to briefly address how I feel widowers should be dealt with in our modern day.

I worked at JC Penney for three years as a second job, first, while Kelli was unemployed for a year and a half and then, from the time she went back to work until about a month and a half after she died. During that time, I encountered many widowers. I didn’t think much about patterns I was seeing, of course, until after Kelli died. These men had many different areas in their lives which were impacted in a major way upon losing their spouse. The most common problem I found among these men was they did not know the size of clothes they wore because their wife always bought their clothes for them. Others did not know how to match colors and types of clothing to put an outfit together. Another problem was knowing how to wash their clothes or dishes or how to clean house. I had one customer who would come in and buy new clothes every few weeks because he didn’t know how to do his laundry and found it less expensive to buy new clothes than to take them to the cleaner on a regular basis. If they attended church, they did not feel comfortable letting it be known they needed assistance in this area, and the church simply expected that since he was a man and wasn’t making his needs known, he must now how to take care to these things. Another area was with finances. The man would work and let his wife take care of the checkbook and paying the bills and was lost when all of a sudden he had to do it. He would fall behind and have utilities shut off not knowing why. As I think of more issues or as others bring them to my attention, I will address or list them. It is important to be aware of these issues not only for the person, but by immediate family, friends and church family as well. Debbie and I want to share information with others about widowers and how to deal with them and what to say among other things. If it is in the Lord’s will, we hope to have the opportunity to eventually hold teaching sessions or seminars in churches and with groups both inside and outside the church to know how to deal with the widower and to help them to feel they are still a part of the group and/or church. There are many missed chances to minister to these “single again” members of society and helping them to continue to fit into society and survive every day life as they attempt to regain some composure and begin a “new normal”.

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