THE LULU CHRONICLES
|Who am I now?|
I am a widow. How strange to write that out loud. I grew up doing various service projects for the widows of my home congregation. My mother was a wonderful example of this and taught her children well. Every Christmas my church youth group would make fruit baskets and deliver them on Christmas Eve to all our widows, along with a few carols as well. Mom always took me to the nursing home to visit a widow here and there. I watched her sing, massage feet and bring gifts to these little, old women who had lost their husbands years and years before. My favorite widow was Sister Parks. She was from England and I could listen to her for hours as she told story after story of her life across the pond. She was a rather large woman, so when she told me about her life as a ballerina I was enthralled. I used to help clean her house and wash her windows while my dad and brother mowed her lawn. When Gary and I first started dating, after my parents, she was the first person I wanted him to meet. She adored him immediately. Her first words to him were, “You have such luscious lips!” It became one of my favorite things to remind him of over the years.
In those days, church folks took seriously the admonition of James’ inspired words: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress, and keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27) Since I lived in Florida, there was never a short supply of widows to look after. So, it is so strange to me, that now after all these years I am one, a widow. Back then those women looked so old to me. Some had been widowed for more than thirty years. They were always short, always had blue hair and always smelled of rose water. I remember being drawn to their fragile hands and the wedding rings they still wore. The gold bands had worn thin from wear and age, but were as much a natural part of the finger as the knuckle. To remove them was unthinkable. The ring represented a life not forgotten. The ring was a testament to a love cherished still.
I don’t know where I fit in this. I’m younger than the widows I knew back home. I don’t think I have blue hair… yet. And, I smell more of sweat from my excursions on LuLu, the pink bike, than rose water. So who am I now? How am I supposed to act? Because I have no husband does that mean I have no voice? Am I now someone who needs others to look after them? I don’t know this role. It is as unfamiliar to me as my now empty house. I shared a mission and a ministry with Gary for forty-three years. What happens to my mission now? My ministry? Will I be forced to surrender my talents and calling because I no longer have a husband? We were a team, a whole package. Our strengths and weaknesses complimented each other. He was left-handed. I was right-handed. He could sing. I could write. He could preach. I could teach. We both loved, and gave, and served, and… now what?
I am a widow. Half of me is missing. Should I just wait for someone to bring me a fruit basket?
1. a woman who has lost her husband by death and has not remarried.
2. a last word or short last line of a paragraph falling at the top of a page or column and considered undesirable.