The holidays are a time for catching up on relationships that may have been too long ignored. This leads to a lot of visits with friends and family, and the sharing of many memories. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of providing lunch for my uncle's widow, and in return I came away with some her soul to sustain me.
I have come to the stage in life where many of my friends are widows. No matter how tempestuous their marriages, the common complaint is loneliness; yet most of them aren't inclined to marry again. It seems that their souls are still bound to the men with whom they shared their children and friends. There really is no substitute for shared history, even with the sorrows that the history retains.
I feel honored that these women of such wisdom share their stories with me. I feel blessed that I knew most of their husbands well enough to have a feel for how to hear their loss. Being with these brave women, most of whom grew up in a time when a woman was nothing without her man, I am in awe of their ability to continue loving and laughing through their tears. A favorite phrase from "The Wedding Song"..."A woman draws her life from man and gives it back again," seems to hold much truth in the energy of these widowed women.
One of my favorite friends of the widowed set is ninety-two years old. Mamie has been widowed for forty years, and still talks about her Frank like he died yesterday. Her son of the same name became her buddy after the loss of Frank, Sr. Junior's recent death brought double grief, as she felt the loss of her husband all over again. Mamie has lived so long that she now houses and cares for her oldest daughter with Alzheimer's. How she continues her happiness is a mystery to me that I'd love to learn from her.
My contemporaries and I may one day face the same sadnesses. It seems important to me that we take the time to sit at the wailing wall with these wise widows and learn how to gracefully grieve.