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A history of widowhood

Widowhood has been my way of life now for a little over 12 years. I cannot believe it has been that long since my husband passed away. It has been a varied journey to this point.

My life is more in order now, more routine. But that was not the case in the beginning. Going through some old papers brought this reality back a short time ago.

Any crisis that could possibly occur did so the first year my husband was gone. I kept asking God when the trials would end because I was definitely spent. We had a bad winter that first year, so bad that the snow piled up in the house gutters, and the roof leaked in the living room. I was beside myself. We had never had a roof leak.

For that winter, all the shoveling of sidewalks and porches was up to me. Since I now had a very small dog, she needed paths throughout the back yard to get around. When I finished shoveling one morning, as I came up onto the back porch, I fell face down on the concrete. God was watching — no broken bones.

Also, during that winter, the furnace quit. I woke up one morning to a cold house and immediately panicked. It was a Saturday and I knew no repairman was coming out on a weekend. I rigged two portable heaters, closed doors, and prayed repairs wouldn’t cost a fortune — but, of course, they did.

During that first year’s rainy summer, water backed up in the basement through a floor drain and flooded everything. Boxes of books, Christmas decorations, tools, etc. We had laid down old pieces of carpet in one area. It was, naturally, soaked. I had to drag it all out into the driveway to dry and then cut it into pieces to get rid of it.

One flooding wasn’t enough, and the second brought on more trouble and turmoil. I discovered that a drain line through the yard was backed up and about 75 feet of it had to be replaced. This never would have been accomplished if it had not been for my caring neighbors who did all the work.

My husband and I had always both mowed the yard. Now it was all up to me, as well as the weedeating and weed spraying. I was still working and spent half my time hoping it would not rain until I got home and got the yard mowed.

It was now up to me to plant all the flowers in our many flower beds. I loved doing it, but it was work and I missed my husband’s large hands digging in the dirt. We have several trees on the one acre we own, and all that trimming of limbs now fell to me, also. This is a never-ending job or trees quickly get out of hand.

I was determined to keep planting our garden so I could still enjoy all those fresh ears of corn, and plant I did. I gave our big TroyBilt to my brother-in-law and kept the smaller one for me. It worked the garden over well and me, too!

That very first year, I put out tomato, cucumber and pepper plants in early May. On the 15th we had a bad freeze. Needless to say, I spent one whole eve covering plants to save them.

I could imagine my husband, sitting on a cloud, looking down on me, and just shaking his head.

He would have known better. I was a little too eager to prove I could handle it.

I necessarily had to become a bit savvy about vehicles. I had two that I didn’t need, a car and a truck, to sell. I cleaned them up, checked with dealers about prices, put signs on them, and sold them shortly after. I had to bargain but, in the end, I felt good about what I had done. And I used that money to pay off our Buick, which I am still driving.

Now, it’s 12 years later and the trials that God saw me through were all there for a reason. I always was level-headed, had lots of common sense, could make decisions, but now my self-confidence had received a shift up. I was capable of doing what I didn’t think I would ever have to do.

When there is a crisis now — which, there has been, but not often — I remember back to that first year. If I could make it through all that, I can handle anything. With God’s help, of course.