Golden Morning Press/1996
Leona Choy was married for 45 years and served with her husband Ted in mission, church, and educational work in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, and the United States. On the 2nd anniversary of her husband’s death, she realized that she had set higher expectations of herself than God did and had been trying to hurry through her grief journey which God lovingly provides for those who lose someone they love.
Leona sincerely assumed that a Christian “should grab a vine, as Tarzan did, and swing over the chasm between loss and moving on”. She attempted to be “superlady” thinking that was what everyone expected of her.
“I had to learn that a widow’s journey is not an airborne experience by which she can fly over the inevitable, prescribed landscape of loss. I can’t take a helicopter over grieving just because I have strong Christian faith, trust in God’s sovereignty and am sure that my husband is safe and happy in the presence of Jesus. We can’t hop in a plane called HOPE and rise above normal, human feelings. Good grieving is a ground transportation experience. ” She decided she must go back to confront and embrace her honest emotions.
Many widows suffer from depression unable to adjust to their new roles alone and have difficulty functioning in daily life. Others can’t see themselves as having any meaningful future. Leona “addresses a wide variety of facets arising from widowhood….blending her biblical knowledge with an intimate understanding of the emotions experienced almost universally after the death of a spouse.. She writes from the vantage point of having weathered them–but not without struggles–in the years following the death of her husband….allowing herself to be vulnerable, admitting mistakes she made as she attempted to skip parts of the grieving process because they didn’t seem ‘Christian’ to her.”
The chapter titles in this book include: Singled Out by God, Experiencing Good Grief, Don’t Push Me Through the “Stage” Door!, Making it Through Those “Firsts”, Checking My Scriptural Anchors, Refocusing My Relationships, Potholes on Adjustment Avenue, Resetting My Compass, and Receiving God’s Assignment.
“Your spouse has gone on ahead, but your Lord has further marching orders for you, too. Perhaps renewed marching orders in the same direction, or different in some respects–or totally different. Whatever God’s assignment, you will no longer carry it out as a married couple. Nevertheless, you will carry it out as a couple! There will still be two—God and you! Calling ourselves widows symbolizes a continuing connection to our marriage, but death ended that tie. However wonderful our marriage may have been, it is now in the past. Widowhood isn’t a rut to get stuck in forever, or a no-exit cave in which to settle. It is a tunnel with an exit. The Lord, our Light wants to lead us through this tunnel of widowhood not somehow, but triumphantly! As we make our way through, we will gradually begin to understand the assignment He has for us.”
One of the things that Leona talks about is the importance of hugs and how human beings seem to thrive on the warmth of touch at any age. She copied the following from a health magazine:
* Hugging is healthy: It helps the immune system, cures depression, reduces stress, induces sleep.
* It’s invigorating, rejuvenating and has no unpleasant side effects.
* Hugging is nothing less than a miracle drug.
* Hugging is all natural: It is organic, naturally sweet, no pesticides, no preservatives, no artificial ingredients and 100 percent wholesome.
* Hugging is practically perfect: There are no movable parts, no batteries to wear out, no periodic checkups, low energy consumption, high energy yield, inflation-proof, nonfattening, no monthly payments, no insurance requirements, theft-proof, nontaxable and non-polluting.
* Of course, hugging is fully returnable.
This is one of those books that a widow can read over and over again and continue to find more and more rich treasures to help her through her journey. Many thanks go out to Leona for being honest enough to share with her readers that being a follower of Christ doesn’t make a widow a “superlady” — especially when it comes to grieving the loss of her husband.