Site icon Larger Story – The Lifework & Legacy of Dr. Larry Crabb

Choosing to Live Again

Jan Richardson has said, “It came home to me that the most profound blessings we will ever know are those that meet us in the place of our deepest loss and inspire us to choose to live  again.”  

The other day I was on a Zoom call with some of the women I took to Switzerland last  September. We didn’t know each other before that trip and met each other in person for the  first time at the Interlaken train station. We spent nine days together walking the beautiful trails  of the Bernese-Oberland area.

It was life changing for all of us. 

Here’s why. Often as widows, someone will comment to us, “Well, at least you still have your memories.” And yes, we do have memories. We have many years of memories, but if we’re living there, we’re not really living.

I think we honor our husbands by making new memories. Having new experiences and  adventures was the impetus behind my planning walking trips in some of my favorite places in  the world. Our adventuring in Switzerland made each of us feel more alive, more present in the  moment, and more hopeful that there is a lot of good living ahead of us. I think our husbands  were smiling down on us, proud that as one member of the group said, “Swiss girls rock!” 

In Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons, Jan Richardson asks the question: “What does it mean to re-imagine a life, especially when the life we have landed in is not the one we envisioned?” She responds to her own question with a blessing. Here are the final two stanzas: 


This blessing

will not fix you,

will not mend you,

will not give you

false comfort;

it will not talk to you

about one door opening

when another one closes.

It will simply

sit itself beside you

among the shards

and gently turn your face

toward the direction

from which the light

will come,

gathering itself

about you

as the world begins


—Jan Richardson, from “Blessing When the World Is Ending”

We “Swiss girls” continue to deepen our friendship and celebrate each other’s growth, each  other’s courage, each other becoming a new person in a new world we never could have  imagined.  

We all have January and February anniversary dates of the death of our husbands. Most of our  friends and even family don’t know what to do with us as those dates approach, making those  days feel more isolating and perhaps more sad than they need to be.

But during our Zoom call the other day, we decided that in remembrance of our husbands we would set up a Zoom call on Valentine’s Day, the purpose being to each share how we met our husbands. We don’t get asked how we met, and few friends will even mention our husband’s name to us, so having this time with each other felt positive, even joyful. 

We shared old memories, precious memories, but in the context of new friendships and steps forward in becoming more of our new selves. It  was a win, win!  

How do you remember with friends who have lost a spouse? Does fear prevent you from  saying their name or telling one of your own stories about them? 

By Jeanie Stirling

Exit mobile version