Widowhood and the curveballs in life

| Bill Dodds | October 23, 2014 | 0 Comments

baseball glove

I think if God played Major League Baseball, he’d be a pitcher. He’d pitch mostly fastballs, and then, just to mix things up, an occasional curveball — a big curveball.

I suspect that’s how most people eligible for AARP membership (age 50 and up) would summarize their lives. The years blow by and are amazing surprises. Some are incredibly wonderful. Others are far from that. Good or bad, there are curveballs in life.

Unlike a baseball pitcher, God wants me to hit his fastball — and his curveball. God takes great delight in me when I knock one out of the park.

I can see that the curveballs have included meeting my late wife, Monica, when we were 20. Then a series of fastballs: falling in love, getting married, having kids and grandkids. And then another curveball when we were 60: her death from cancer last year. It seemed as if suddenly I was married and suddenly I wasn’t married anymore.

Yes, love is stronger than death, and I believe in the communion of saints, but in the eyes of the state and the Church, I’m now single.

And like a young, just-wedded fellow figuring out married life so long ago, now I’m a not-so-young, just-widowed fellow figuring out this new stage of life.

Decades ago, I was shocked to discover my basic vocation was to be married, when I really thought religious life, the priesthood, was going to be it.

God and Monica saved a lot of parishes from a lot of trouble. Those two were in cahoots, and I’m so very grateful for that. (And, no, I don’t feel called to the priesthood now.)

Perhaps God has had time to think it over more carefully. Perhaps Monica has recently pointed out to him, face to face, why it still would be a bad idea.

Like marriage, this singlehood subcategory—- widowhood — takes adjusting to. Unlike marriage, the adjustments can be overwhelmingly unpleasant, to put it mildly.

Still, God’s on the mound and he wants me to do something, something good, with the pitch he has just served up. He wants me to do something good with the rest of my life, whether that lasts three more days or 30 more years.

That’s a common theme in the spousal-loss support groups I go to. After the initial numbness and blurriness of grief begin to soften, the question “now what?” starts to emerge.

That seems to be the case whether one is strongly religious, an atheist or somewhere in between.

It’s a question that comes from a very human heart, and a broken heart, a heart that’s mending as best it can, but one that will never be the same.

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Category: Funeral & Hospice Planning