Relaymedia

Reaching Out to Widows and Widowers with Better Understanding

( [email protected] ) Nov 06, 2003 09:57 AM EST

As the holiday season comes along, many ministries are trying to reach out to those who are alone, left out, and abandoned. Fellowship of Young Christian Widows-Widowers in Sacramento, California is one of the ministries that are providing the spiritual needs for the young Christians who have lost their spouses.



Grace Hull, founder of Fellowship of Young Christian Widows-Widowers expresses her concern regards to widows and widowers.



“I encourage widows and widowers to allow themselves time to grieve during the (holiday) season,” said Hull. “Attempting to suppress their grief by becoming overly active in the busyness of the season can cause depression when the activity ceases.



“Sometimes family traditions need to be restructured to meet the newly reshaped family’s current needs. New traditions can include special remembrances of the spouse who has died. One of the best ways for a widow/widower and their children to get through the holiday season is by serving others. Focusing on some else’s needs rather than their own is not only a healthy way to deal with grief, but the biblical answer to the loss they are feeling.”



“Although our hearts are broken, we cannot become so absorbed in our own loss that we fail to continue to be a light to those who have no hope,” she said.



“Many young widows/widowers receive wonderful support from their local church, yet there is much room for improvement,” she said. “We need to do more than give them a few cards, multiple casseroles and books.”



Hull, now nearly 50, established the ministry knowing how little resources were available for the widows and widowers after she lost her husband Stephen, who was a pastor. Stephen died of pancreatic cancer.



She thinks although many churches provide support for the widows and widowers, there still needs to be more organized ministry so that people who are suffering from the loss of someone important in their lives can overcome the sorrow and pain and be guided well to the right path of faith.



“Many young widows/widowers receive wonderful support from their local church, yet there is much room for improvement,” she said. “We need to do more than give them a few cards, multiple casseroles and books.”



Jennifer McCollum who lost her husband in January 2002 expresses her feelings, how hard it was for her to go through the emotional hardship, describing her feelings as “scrambled eggs,” although many people from her church tried to help her



“Nothing was organized in my life,” she said. “I was a new mom, and I was re-identifying myself as a single person as well as a mom. I was a heap of tears.”



As time passed most people assumed that she was moving on with her life, progressing in her grief.



“I would say, ‘No, I’m not,’ and they would argue with me. I knew they meant it in a good way, but I got so tired of hearing it. I wanted someone to say, ‘It’s OK to be scrambled eggs,’ or ‘Do you need some light bulbs replaced?’ or ‘Need gas in your car?’ I just wanted someone to help me just be.”



“People say, ‘I hope things are getting back to normal.’ But what is normal? Missing my every other breath? Knowing that half of me is gone forever? Rolling over in bed, and finding it still empty? By the fifth month, the numbness was wearing away, and then I started hurting.”



Hull believes that churches need to understand situation of the widows and widowers and be willing to commit to the them for a prolonged period of time, and not make them feel like they should “move on” with their life.



“It is often people in the church who suggest to the widow/widower that they remarry,” she said. “Instead of that approach, the church needs to validate the widows/widowers feelings that their spouse who has died can still play an important role in their life now, rather than having to banish him/her from their life.”



For more information about Fellowship of Young Christian Widows-Widowers, visit foycwidows-widowers.com