Dear Readers:

Thanks to so many of you who replied on the subjectIt isn’t easy being SEEN,’ ! Here are your responses about the challenges of being a widow–one so used to being part of a couple and suddenly sitting alone in Church. That’s where I find myself now that my husband, Jim, died of Lou Gehrig’s disease–and your counsel is as important for me as any reader. Here’s what readers had to say this week. (And you can always respond to our topics each week at ci*************@gm***.com).

Reader Doug Bagely writes that “in many situations in our church, one can find oneselfalone!” He suggests memorizing Mosiah 3:19 about putting off the natural man’ and yielding to the spirit! He adds: “Memorize a scripture, thought, song every day. Memorize the names of EVERY person in your ward and greet them by their first names.”

I like it! Names have always been a challenge for me and since our ward is in constant flux – with apartment dwellers who must feel a bit out of touch with the physical boundaries of the ward – this is a great idea to take the focus off. shall I say pouting in the pew’?

Shauna Frandsen says, “I am very fortunate to have friends who not only helped me though my husband Ron’s illness, but continue to support me today. For example, months before my husband passed away, Sharron and Warren picked us up for church. Warren pushed my husband’s wheelchair into church while I parked the car. Their service did not end with my husband’s passing. They still pick me up today. If ever there is an art exhibit, cultural entertainment, great artist in town or must see’ movie, Jack and Kathy call, pick me up and we go to the event. It is very difficult not having Ron by my sidebut my dear friends continue to invite me and nourish our friendship.”

Lucky you! What great examples of Christ-like love, concern and service. Thank you for sharing your positive personal experiences and your gratitude for wonderful friends.

MMPJ says: “It’s been four months since my dear husband passed away. I’m still trying to figure out life out as a single. I’ve been blessed with a ward family that doesn’t let me in the door at church without someone quickly approaching me, putting their arm around me and escorting me to where they are. But still, as you said, I feel breathless’. Words of comfort don’t really help. Hugs are the best!” I

I heartily agree.”HUGS ARE the best”! Feeling those arms around you is pure comfort!

Beanie from Midvale writes, “I remember that when my mother drove home from the hospital after my father died, she saw the world with entirely new eyes. She said, I look down the street and suddenly see all the houses where widows live. Why didn’t I see that before?’ It seems widows not only lose husbands but they lose their social place in a world where everything is in couples. In that way, the loss of your husband is the loss of yourself as well. Yet we understand from scripture that true religion is to attend to the widows and fatherless. I think that also applies to the single from divorce. We can all do much better.”

This brings to mind the hymn”Improve the shining moments don’t let them pass you by”! Get it.GOOD!

Suzi Hansen writes, “My mother has been a widow for 16 years. One of the things that interests me most is the different perspective she has, depending on what side of the married/singles coin’ she is dealing with. While her husband was still alive, she had a good friend who was widowed. They did a lot together. My mom and dad would often pick her up and they would do things together. Now that mom is widowed, she bristles at the thought of having to have someone pick up her alone’ self! She says she feels like a third wheel. I’ve asked her if she had thought of her friend, that they picked up for years as a third wheel’. Heavens no,’ she replied. We loved being together.”

Ah, perspective’ can be tricky! It’s hard to look at clouds from both sides’ – but if you can, there is no doubt a whole new world to discover! Thanks for that perspective’ Suzi!

Liz says, “I spent 8 years alone when I divorced after 31 years of marriage. Going to church was one of the hardest things I had to face. Even though I knew I would be greeted with love, understanding and acceptance by people who I had known for many years, it was like having my emotional skin peeled off and jumping into a vat of salt water. It was not the being seen’ that was difficult, but having the full force of the loss of life as I knew it, not only in this world but in the next. But as painful as it was, I knew I had to do it. That awful salt water was little by little washing out the festering wound in my heart and then feeding new growth, making me stronger, wiser and more sure that my Father knew and loved me, His promises were sure, and that all these things (would) give (me) experience and (would) be for (my) good. How grateful I am for this amazing promise.”

Thoughtfully worded Liz! We are so blessed when we have the sure knowledge of the Savior’s love. I have read parts of Elder Holland’s book, In Times of Trouble, where he teaches through the Psalms. A favorite is 107: 28-30 which reads: “Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.”

Mary L. gives this advice. “We formed a singles’ group in our ward. We hold FHE once a month, go to lunch once a month and attend the temple together weekly. We pool rides to church and to other activities. We are there for each other. “

Remember the old song..If you’re ever in a I am! If you’re ever in a messSOS’! And the chorus goes..’Friendship, just the perfect blend-ship’! No one is alone who has a friend’! Thanks Mary!

Shirley says, “I just trust in the Lord and move forward taking one day at a time. Church is hard to be alone but I look at the many singles in the ward. I just rely on my eternal marriage to be with my sweetheart again and I keep very busy. Temple attendance is very important.

Line upon line we go! Thank you for your reminder of the importance of the Temple!

April states, “I went to church alone as a wife married to a non-member and then as a divorcee.

  I finally married a wonderful active member and it was so wonderful to sit together with him and my children as a complete family. Now my husband is working out of state and I am once again, doing church alone. Not fun!

I’m an April fan already. One can’t survive without faith and.. perseverance!

“Get a spine” writes Erica, and claim your presence. Do things that interest you or further your education and have something besides the loss of your husband to talk about.

That’s putting it bluntly! Yes, I agree, no one likes a whiner and keeping busy is a life-line! Might I also suggest anyone who has dealt with the loss of a loved one is hardly spineless’, but rather made stronger than before. When my amazing husband was at his most challenged with Lou Gehrig’s disease, when his limbs would not work, his lungs were struggling for breath, and even when motionless he, could feel every ache and pain, he was visited by his cousin who had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Asking Jim what he was feeling, my sweet husbands reply was. “GRATITUDE”! To my surprise his cousin replied back.”that’s EXACTLY what I feel”! Wow there’s a spiritual epiphany for you! GRATITUDE!

Laura H writes, “I was married to a non-member – widowed in my mid-40’s alone for 15 years. I didn’t attend Church to be seen’. I attended to be closer to Heavenly FatherHe was my constant companion and still is.   My current husband joined the Church but is inactive, so again, Jesus and Heavenly Father sit with me during Church. I couldn’t ask for better company.”

Thank you Laura. Hoping I didn’t send the wrong message about being seen’ or offend in my efforts to approach this subject with a take off’ on Kermit’s’ song! I would never want to suggest being seen’ as a reason for worship! I love that you call our Father in Heaven wonderful company’!

There you have it! Thank you again for answering with your advice and wisdom. Not only is being a widow new to me, but so is this assignment to elicit your ideas and responses with pertinent questions! I’d like to sign off’ by sending my sincere empathy and happy thoughts to all of you who may, at some time, feel alone! Because with all the good advice in the world, we still have to DO IT! I’ll just sign off with an acronym that was handed to me by my sister Margaret, as Jim and I went through the process of his disease!

F-A-I-T-H = Forward All Issues To Heaven! LOVE IT!


If you have comments for the Circle of Sisters, please contact Joanne Rich at ci*************@gm***.com