3 Things to Remember as a Widower in the Midst of Grief

3 Things to Remember as a Widower in the Midst of Grief


There was one thing that surprised me in the time after losing Amy: Finding out that joy and sorrow can coexist.

I still remember the day I first discovered that. My son and his family had invited me over for dinner (because, you know, they’re really cool people). When I drove up to their home, I was overcome with sorrow—missing Amy, wishing she was there with me, knowing she would’ve love an evening with her family. I burst into tears behind the steering wheel, so much so that I had to wait a few minutes to let the storm pass. Finally, I dried my eyes, pulled myself together, and went inside.

While we were waiting for dinner, I sat down to play Jenga with my delightful granddaughter. Her eyes are emerald green—and exactly like her grandmother’s. I remember looking in her eyes, seeing Amy in them, and having a hard time not crying again. Then, suddenly, the Jenga tower fell, and delighted laughter spilled out from my granddaughter’s mouth.

And I felt such joy.

Just hearing that child laugh made me so happy, and yet I was also still feeling deep sorrow over Amy’s death. All in the same moment.

Huh, I thought. That’s unexpected.

The next day, I turned to Scripture to try to understand what had happened. I found this:

On the night before his crucifixion, Jesus said to his disciples, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you” (John 15:11, NIV, italics mine). About an hour or so later, in the Garden at Gethsemane, Jesus said, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38, NLT, italics mine).

Joy and sorrow, on the same night, within minutes of each other—fully present in the Son of God. This is, I discovered, why he can be both a “Man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3) and the fruit of his Spirit’s presence is “joy” (Galatians 5:22). And because it is true of him, it can also be true for me. And for you.

So, no, you’ll never get over losing your precious, unique, irreplaceable wife. But you can still experience joy in the midst of sorrow. You can still laugh with your children, enjoy a movie night with your friends, celebrate Christmas and Easter and every holiday in between because it really is true:

Joy and sorrow can coexist if you let them; you will see proof of that in your own soul.

All right, I think that’s enough for now. Remember, you are more than you think you are today, and tomorrow, if you listen, you’ll hear God whispering to you the same words he gave to the Apostle Paul (and to me):

“My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV)

With love to you, my friend,



How to Find Biblical Joy When You Are Grieving

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