by Becky Allen ‘07
Missing Pieces, September 2019
I despise that title. I don’t like how it sounds. I don’t like how it looks and I most certainly don’t like how it feels. I thought ‘widow’ was reserved for women in their 90s that lost their soulmate peacefully in their sleep, not for a 33 year-old woman, single mom of two sans her childhood sweetheart.
I avoid using that word at all costs. I flip stories, make detours and duck out of conversations that might include that ‘title.’ I want nothing to do with it. To me, widow says “Your pieces are missing and you don’t belong. Take your sob story elsewhere.” Harsh? Yes. True? Probably not. Do I feel that way? Most certainly.
Every aspect of my life was groomed to fit a ‘suburbia’ family. But now? Every aspect points to my missing pieces and that I don’t fit like I used to. In the bleachers and at the ball field, I’m the only mom present most days. At the school functions and parent sport meetings, I’m usually the only female. Concerts, programs, parent teacher meetings, it’s just me. Something needs to be fixed, bike tires need air, garbage must be taken out and there’s no one else to pick up the slack. At church on Sundays, I sit by myself in the row surrounded by other families as my missing pieces feel so prominently exposed.
Weekends roll around, ‘Team Suburbia’ fills their calendars and navigates their social plans and I feel left behind. I don’t fit where I used to. I’m not a ‘traditional’ family anymore but I’m not a single person. I’m not a divorcee or an empty nester. I feel clumsy and out of place. I feel overlooked yet looked through.
How does someone mend the jagged edges, shattered parts and gaping holes? How does someone find the stamina to forge a new path when everything looks unfamiliar?
I wish I knew the answer.
The parts I can scrounge together I don’t like what they have to say. The pieces I can hold tell me that my certain to me (or so I thought) future now resides in the unknown grey space. There’s no due date on my new pieces arriving or handle with care instructions. I dislike that almost as much as I do the title ‘widow.’
BUT…I know my Maker well enough to know that my story doesn’t end here and that God doesn’t disregard any of His creation. I know my new title was not a surprise to God. I know God will write a redemptive story because he works all things together for good for those who love Him. I know God doesn’t walk with me through the fire to leave me on the other side. I know one day my new pieces will arrive and fit in ways I never could have imagined.
How do I know the answer?
Because I know my Maker.
(editor’s note: This column first appeared on Winthedaypro.com, Ms. Allen’s new venture. Learn more at that site, or follow her on Instagram at instagram.com/winthedaypro.)