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Single Living

I was headed out the kitchen door on my way to work that carefree July morning in 2006 when a smiling Steven called to me, “Goodbye, Gorgeous! See you later!”

He was standing behind the breakfast bar dressed in old shorts and a T-shirt with his hair in a peculiar bed-head fashion and his eyeglasses tilted to one side. Everything in his manner suggested a man deeply in love with life.

Little did I know that was the last time I would see my dear husband alive.

Our story began during the fall of 1973, when I attended a high school homecoming dance with a different boy. While we were taking a break from dancing, I noticed Steven whirl by on the dance floor with his date, and let me tell you, ladies, he was absolutely dreamy!

I had no idea who he was, but we made eye contact for a moment. There was something innocent, loving, and magical in that simple glance we shared. Honestly.

I couldn’t get him out of my mind the rest of the night, and apparently neither could my date, as I realized on my very cold and lonely walk home from the dance.

That year I happened to be in a group called “Flag Corps” that marched with the school band at parades and sporting events.

One winter day as we were practicing marching in formation in the gym, I spotted Steven marching toward me carrying the biggest tuba I had ever seen in my life and blowing into that thing like a gale force wind.

He smiled at me, and my heart melted.

Eventually we connected on a band trip and we became constant companions. There was laughter, silliness, dancing under the stars, and many stolen kisses – during the submarine races of course!

I was sweet 16 and he was 18.

You might think that’s a bit too young to know what real love is, but we knew almost immediately that God had a plan for us because it was written on our hearts.

 

Young newlyweds

We married after my freshman year of college and found that being married so young could be a challenge and a blessing all at the same time. We wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Within the first five years of our marriage we welcomed three sons into our family.

Since so much had been given to us in the way of love during those early years, much was to be expected of us also. We suffered through financial hardship, growing pains, and finally the most heartbreaking event of all: the death of our precious son Daniel.

And then, just 28 months after Daniel’s passing, a blood clot stole my husband, Steven, from me on that fine July day in 2006.

The word “devastated” cannot begin to describe the sorrow that became my daily bread. I wanted to die also, but God had another plan for my life. He answered my prayers in very unexpected and profound ways, bringing joy back into my life, which I now live with great anticipation each day.

It is both an honor and a privilege to have been asked by CatholicMatch to share my story with you in a weekly blog, which will not only focus on single life but the special plight of widows and widowers.

I guarantee you that this is a love story, as only our heavenly Father could write. There will be love, laughter, heart-wrenching sadness and finally, my surrender to God’s will in a quest for hope and healing.

I sincerely hope that my journey as a young widow will encourage each and every one of you to cherish this rich faith life we have been given as a gift.

I invite you to join me at “Faith, Hope & Love” each Sunday as we discuss all the issues that weigh on the widowed: the in-law factor; dynamics of celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays on your own; mysteries and challenges of dating again; becoming a single parent/grandparent; learning to do tasks previously handled by a spouse; attending social functions alone; taking off the wedding rings; listening to your song again; the healing power of pets; and, of course, exploring the possibility of love the second time around.

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9 Comments

  1. Rosemarie-363436 July 10, 2011

    Barb…Thanks for sharing. I think the blog is a great idea…we all can receive strength from each other.

  2. Barb-505508 July 12, 2011

    Dear Rosemarie,

    Thank you for the kind words. I am truly excited to have been asked to write this widow/widower blog and I do believe that we can all gain strength and comfort from each other if we share our stories of hope and healing.

    Barb

  3. Janet-669813 July 14, 2011

    Thank you for sharing your story. I lost my husband almost 4 years ago, 2 days after my bday from Cancer. He was and still is the “love of my life”. I know he wants to move on, he always told me when he was alive and sick, that he wanted to me to get married again, but I have started but its so hard, when will be okay? I need to let myself be okay & say its okay for me because I still feel like I’m cheating on him. We have a son who will be 13 next month and believe me, I am truly grateful for him in my life, but as all kids are they don’t always want to be around their parents forever either, but he is very comforting to me when he sees I’m upset. I do thank CM, becuz I am really hoping to find someone Catholic and someone who shares the same interests and understands I need to take things a little more slowly. Thanks again.

    • Barb-505508 July 15, 2011

      Dear Janet,

      Thank you for writing in to me. I am so very happy that you enjoyed the first story on the new CatholicMatch widow/widower blog! It is so very difficult when a best friend passes away, but when that best friend is also your spouse the sorrow is multiplied by a million, maybe even a trillion.

      Sometimes just knowing that there are other people who have gone through a similar ordeal helps us to find comfort and heal. We did not choose to be alone, but somehow it is part of God’s plan for our lives and eventually we will know the meaning of these events. Grief has no time table and I can promise you that every situation is different, just like the many snowflakes that fall during the wintertime.

      I hope you will consider reading our blog every Sunday morning as I think it may help to know that you are among friends.

      Blessings to You!
      Barb

  4. Lilian F. August 2, 2011

    Just what i needed, @ a time of sorrow & emptiness. The 2 stories resonate deeply with me.
    My devotion to Our Lady Miraculous Medal is sustaining me in the hopes of finding a special someone to share my life.

  5. Careese-449851 August 11, 2011

    Barb, thank you for sharing your story. I’m choked up…

    • Barb-505508 August 12, 2011

      Careese, You are very welcome. Please come back and check out all the stories on the widow/widower blog. I promise there will be something for everyone.

      Barb

  6. Julie-897163 October 19, 2012

    It is so comforting to read stories like mine and know we can survive. It’s not easy to carry on, but I KNOW God is always walking with me. I lost my husband in 2009 in a car accident while he was giving my nephew a driving lesson. My nephew is fine, thank goodness, but carries a heavy cross. I pray for him all the time. I haven’t always made the best decisions in trying to put my life back together again, but I am back on track again. Thanks, Barb, for sharing your story so beautifully.

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