Lois Mowday Rabey’s first husband died in a hot air balloon accident when they were both thirty-four years old. She tells her story in her book WHEN YOUR SOUL ACHES and shares some of her widow wisdom.
“Every widow I talk to wants to know: ‘Why did this happen? Will I always feel this way? Are there things I should be doing? Am I going to get through this?’ Some of the best advice I received in those tumultuous days was to slow down and wait on God to give me direction.
I think the best way to release the torturing mental images of a loved one’s last moments is to remember that they were not only experiencing physical responses that we can’t imagine, but that they were also the recipients of supernatural grace that carried them from this world to the next.
In the months ahead you will be absorbed with your loss. Don’t feel badly about this. Your feelings are normal. There is no prescribed timetable for grief. Eventually you will want to reconnect with others; in time your ache will lessen and you will begin to heal. No, pain doesn’t completely go away this side of heaven, so there’s no point in trying to run from it. Accept it and ask God to touch those deeply painful places of your soul with His love.
I prayed throughout the day, constantly conversing with God about what I was feeling or experiencing. Stripped of any illusion of self-sufficiency, I was deeply aware that I needed God’s help with everything from breathing to buying cars. Prayer became not only a holy endeavor, but also a necessary ingredient in learning to live with God as my husband. How else could I survive let alone make wise decisions? Our heart is aware of our absolute dependence on God for everything and other times we have a sense of exasperation that we are not in control of our lives. It’s as if prayer is the ugly stepsister on our list of significant helps. Yet prayer is the most practical thing you can do to guide you through the maze of widowhood.
If you realize, for example, that some important bill has inadvertently gone unpaid, don’t panic, pray. Prayer can’t write the check and satisfy the creditor, but prayer can give you the presence of mind to deal with the situation.
If you can’t find the title to your husband’s pickup and can’t transfer the truck to your name without it, don’t panic, pray. Prayer won’t make the title pop out of its hiding place in the files, but prayer can give you the calmness to assess the situation and let options occur to you.”