As I pulled up to the traffic light at Highway #1604 and Blanco Rd. in San Antonio, I looked over to my right and saw a car pulling up beside me. In it was an elderly couple, each with their radiant silver hair. I immediately felt a sadness come over me as I was on my way to the hospital, where my beautiful wife Michelle was dying of pancreatic cancer. She would earn her Angel Wings a few weeks later.
I was so jealous of the couple, as I always have dreamed of growing old together with my wife. I dreamed of enjoying our golden years, visiting our grandchildren, and taking the leisurely vacations we have long promised ourselves. And why not? We each had sacrificed so we could look forward to retirement; I was a banker, and Michelle was a dental assistant. It was not to be. Apparently, God needed her more than me.
I recall in my youth, when I sold men’s clothing at a men’s specialty shop, I would always get a kick out of the women who accompanied their husbands when buying their clothing. The ladies would fuss over the color, the fit, the fabric, and tailoring provided their husbands. Many wives would encourage the husbands to splurge by buying more than they had anticipated buying or even needed, or they would tell their husbands to purchase the more expensive brands of clothing, figuring he deserved it. The smiles of approval on the wives’ faces when her man exited from the dressing room adorned with a new garment said it all. She loved him and wanted the best for him, even in his old age. Oh, I was so envious. I could only think to myself how fortunate these men; he has a woman who loves him completely.
Most men will die ahead of their wives but will enjoy a good portion of their golden years. One in five will outlive their spouses, and those who do frequently suffer, and they do so quietly, failing to draw attention to themselves. Some have faith they can lean upon, while many fight off feelings of guilt, loneliness, or a broken heart. Many have financial challenges they must endure while still others have children to raise, or jobs they are trying to hang onto, or troubled relationships with family members or friends. The problems are too numerous to list. In short, they need help. But where can help be found?
Introducing: Widower’s Support Network (WSN), a ministry for widowers. WSN hosts a free private Facebook page just for widowed men or men currently serving as caregivers for a seriously ill spouse or life-partner. Its name: Widowers Support Network – Members Only (WSN-MO). Currently, WSN-MO supports nearly 1,100 men from 29 countries. Sadly, over 50% of the men we serve are under the age of fifty. Many have children. They, too, may have had unfulfilled dreams of growing old together with their brides. From childbirth to suicide, car accidents, cancer, drug overdose, to perishing on a battlefield wearing a uniform of their country, death awaits us all. Sadly, for many women, it arrives when they least expect it, dashing away from the dreams they shared of growing old together with their husbands.
The Widower’s Support Network is a non-judgmental ministry free of any politics. Its mission is to provide support to widowed men and caregivers whose plans for their golden years did not work out. The Widower’s Support Network – Members Only may well be the greatest FREE resource available to widowers on planet earth. To apply, see Widowers Support Network-Members Only on Facebook.
For those who enjoy listening to podcasts, we offer the Widowers Journey Podcast, where we interview authors, subject matter experts, and of course, widowers in search of best practices and advice that widowers seek.
Know a widower? Suggest he gives me a call. I am eager to help him during his most challenging periods. (615) 579.8136.
Dreams come true if you help them.
Herb Knoll is a retired banking executive, an advocate for Widowers, a professional speaker, and author of the breakout book, The Widower’s Journey. Available at Amazon.com in paperback and all digital formats. Herb is the founder of the Widower’s Support Network (WidowersSupportNetwork.com), featuring the Widowers Support Network – Members Only, a private Facebook group page for men, and a second Facebook page which is open to the general public at Widowers Support Network. Contact Herb at [email protected]
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