Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Widow's Might

Reading Miriam Neff’s article, “The Widow’s Might” (Christianity Today, January 2008) brought tears to my eyes. Neff’s husband, whom she married while still a teen, died after 41 years. You can read more about Miriam Neff at her website, Widow Connection.

Miriam Neff tells us that widows are of the fastest growing demographic in the United States. “We are targeted by new home builders and surveyed by designers. We are a lucrative niche for health and beauty products, and financial planners invite us to dinners. It is no wonder the marketers are after us: 800,000 join our ranks every day.”

“Loneliness and solitude are not descriptive enough of the space that becomes the cocoon of the widow.”

Many of us identify with Neff. Recently, when a retired minister died, the email I received gave the address of the daughter and the granddaughter so that condolences could be written but apparently did not even think to give the address of his elderly wife. The wife, now a widow is the one left alone. The rest of the family, of course are grieving. But the widow’s is grieving while also seeing her life changed dramatically.

Studies show that widows lose 75 percent of their friendship network when they lose a spouse.

But, as Miriam Neff points out, we are not invisible to God. There are 103 Scripture passages referencing widows. Widows are close to the heart of God and in James 1:27, we read that God judges others by the way they treat widows.


Carol said...

Interesting article. I went to Mirian Neff's website and really enjoyed reading the stories there.

Jane said...

Thank you for your insight and for sharing Miriam Neff's website.
I agree that widows are many times forgotten and it's wrong.

Anonymous said...

Recently, when someone died and I was sending out a church email, the family ASKED that I not send the widow's address, for cards of sympathy. The grieving daughter was appalled that the newspaper had included her mother's address in the obituary, saying they may as well have advertised to criminals that a woman was now living alone, at that address.
I thought putting the address in a church email was somewhat different than having it in a newspaper obituary, but I honored the daughter's wishes. And included only the daughter's, and grandson's addresses for cards. And I realized that anyone who knew the family would know they could send a card to the widow, addressed to her daughter.
The same concerns may have been why the widow's address was left off the email you received.
But there is no question that widows' lives change dramatically when their husbands die. It is sad that they lose so much of their friendship network.
Love you, Debi