I can’t imagine a greater loss and pain than the death of the love of your life. I have known people who have been married for over 60 years. One dear couple that I had the privelege of spending time with last year had been married for (DRUM ROLL PLEASE………………….) *** 75 *** (yes, that is correct) ***75 *** years!!!!! Sylvia and Arthur were a sweet Jewish couple who lived in the Ritz apartments (yes, The second Ritz Carlton of all time and the building where Boardwalk Empire both occurred and was filmed. Too cool (for all you trivia buffs)! Arthur sold men’s belts and suspenders in his business in Manhatten and Sylvia was an Executive Secretary for NBC in the pioneer days of television. They went to brunch and they loved ball room dancing htough their 95th birthdays. Sadly, Sylvia succombed to pneumonia. Their son called me while the family was “sitting Sheva” as they mourned her death and requested that I attend her funeral. It occurred on a frigid, drizzling November day in New Jersey. Arthur wanted “their” new friend, the nurse, to be there. So, I was.
A Jewish funeral is different. A celebration and reflection on a brilliant life. Sadly, no talk of an afterlife. No expectation of meeting Jesus (remember, as Jews, Jesus wasn’t in their beliefs though they certainly were aware of Him). Just a 45 minute activity of closure.
Arthur told me when I walked him to the car that he didn’t want to live anymore. His love was gone. He had climbed out of bed for 75 years anticipating seeing Sylvia! And she was gone. “What’s the point?” he asked.
Arthur’s son called me two weeks later…..
Here’s my point! God loves the widows and widowers. Some are in their 80’s or 90’s and have benn married “forever”. Others are much younger. All have had their heart broken. So, we must remind them that God does love them and understands how they feel. But we also have a lasting responsibility to help fill the tremendous void that is left behind. Take a meal. Do an errand. Send a card. Make a call. Be a friend….long term….because it is needed and it is the right thing to do.
God loves those who mourn for they will be comforted………………