Wednesday, June 22, 2016

For The Widows-To-Be

This may sound strange to many of you, but it really isn't.

Given my situation in life (widowed, sole caregiver for my widowed mother, sole breadwinner in my household), I feel it is well past time for me to share a little wisdom to my sisters out there whose husbands are still alive.  Namely about money.

You see, I have a good friend whose husband recently passed away from cancer.  The kids are now grown (thankfully), however there are some other traps you can end up in financially.

This dear sister didn't handle all of the money in her home.

As a result, she is finding out that her husband took out a credit card she knew nothing about and maxed it out, told her he had paid his taxes (state and federal) when he actually had not paid either one, and a host of other things to get them further in the hole.

The even more interesting part of this is, now that her husband is gone and she is getting faced with a mountain of debt, she is also still spending money.  I'm not talking grocery money here, she just bought a new car.

Those grown kids?  They are still borrowing money from the bank of Mom.

I have no idea how this is going to work out, I'm concerned, but outside of prayers and being a sounding board, there isn't much else I can do to help the situation, particularly if she doesn't want the help.

What I can do, for you widows-to-be, is to try to impart a little hard earned wisdom.

1.  Teamwork

For most couples, the day you get married is the day you become a team.  For Decker and I, we were engaged when we started talking about money.

I had read The Millionaire Next Door and made Decker read it before I would agree to marry him.  Why?  Because that was the philosophy I wanted to live my marriage by, and I wanted to make sure my husband was going to be on the same page.  Among the advice in the book is that both husband and wife are to work as a team.  No one handles the finances without the spouse knowing what is going on.

The reason this is so important is the reason my friend is finding out now.  When the spouse dies, there is already an element of feeling like you've had the rug pulled out from under you, you don't need that compounded by surprises that will leave you bankrupt as well.  Work together on the finances so that when situations arise, you will know what needs to be paid when and how much.  No surprises.

2.  Educate Yourself

This can go two ways:  make sure you have an education to be able to find a decent paying job if you have to provide for yourself, as well as educating yourself (and your spouse) on finance to learn about the process of handling money as well as other items of the estate that will come later during married life.

There are many avenues you can take for this, some use Dave Ramsey's classes, others use the Family Finances classes provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for free, others take a more formal approach and take classes, such as this one from BYU:

3.  Set your goals, your plan of attack, but also be sure to set goals of your own, not just your goals as a couple.

This will help provide you with ideas of things you can do after your spouse has passed away.  Take time to re-evaluate the goals to see if they are things you still want to do by the time this occurs (which will hopefully be a very long time after your marriage).

Get Priesthood Blessings and pray to Heavenly Father for guidance in this.

Okay, so this is about all I can think of right now, I may add an addendum later if there is anything else pressing that should be added.  :-)

Given this information, the goal is for you to be able to get into a position of being able to take care of yourself and enjoy the journey that this mortal probation provides, much like Rebecca:

Depression, Anxiety And Other Mental Illnesses

In the past, I've written about Suicide and Grieving. Now The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has come out with not only a video, but an entire sub-section of their web site to help those who are faced with depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses.

I have been diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety attacks.

I have a tendency to shut myself off from the rest of the world, and I'm definitely not big on crowds.  I've gotten worse over the years, so you don't see me out socially like I probably should be.

This is a great start, particularly if you are experiencing the signs and symptoms addressed.  It most definitely needs to be followed up with a trained professional to make sure others are aware who know about this best and know different methods to counter attack the negative thoughts and feelings.

If this is you, please know you are loved.  Your needs are known.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016


Happy National Widows Day!

I didn't know there was such a day, but, seriously, you ladies and gentlemen all deserve pats on the back if this pertains to you.

For me, it's been a crazy few weeks.  You've probably read my initial reaction to Elder Holland's talk last week.

Let me start by saying that by the time he had arrived and gave his talk, I had reached a point of exhaustion that probably came close to doctor prescribed bed rest, if not hospitalization.

I had spent the day at a school covering for the computer lab assistant who needed to be out.  We normally don't do this, but they had the computerized NWEA testing, and the other people there who knew how to do it were doing DIBELs testing instead.

Don't make me go there about the over abundance of testing in schools.

So, after 9 hours of sitting on hard plastic chairs, I spend another 3-4 hours sitting on hard metal chairs at a Church building where we were packed like sardines.  They had the hallways going to where I parked in the parking lot, so after I changed out of my work clothes into something a little more presentable, I had to keep the bag of clothes, along with the bag with my food in it, with me along with my back pack.  People probably thought I was nuts, but I couldn't get to my car.

By the time Elder Holland actually spoke, every part of my body was hurting, my back was seizing up, and all I wanted was to get this over with and go home.

I've since heard the last 45 minutes of his talk (many thanks to the person who recorded it), and it was fantastic.

Thankfully, as luck would have it, I had already gotten approved to take the rest of the week off from work, as they needed me to get rid of the overtime that's been accumulating.  It turned out to be a much needed break, and some time to get my car serviced as well, without it impacting my work schedule.  The remainder of the 5 day weekend ended up just sleeping, eating, spending time with the cats and binge-watching Emergency on DVD.

I've also started to make more of an effort to get my vitamins in me on a regular basis, as well as drinking more of the Vitamin Water to keep my electrolytes up.

So, while I am going crazy, trying to keep up with everything, I am also trying to make sure I don't put myself into a situation that will not require hospitalization.

Life is busy, however life will still be around whether you are able to participate or not.  Be sure to take care of yourselves.

Friday, April 29, 2016


Yes, I went and heard a General Authority (actually 2) speak this past Tuesday night.

The leading General Authority, who presided the meeting, gave a great talk, but there was something he said that bugged me.

What did he say?

I know I probably don't have this entirely correct.

"For those who have been married, your marriage is over, whether it be by divorce or death."

Divorce I get, but death?  To some degree, he is correct, but to some degree, he is very wrong.

The majority of marriages on this earth are deemed "till death do you part".

In the Temple, however, marriages are for time and eternity.

When death occurs, yes, the time part of the marriage is over.  The widow is declared by the Church to be single, as they are no longer part of a mortally living couple.

The problem is, many people take this to mean that the eternal part of the marriage is also over.  They are wrong.

The most amazing experiences for me, spiritually, have occurred since my husband's death.  This is because a sealed marriage has it's power through the Holy Priesthood.  This priesthood doesn't die.  It's not yet another earthly possession to discard after someone dies.  Because of this, the connection between the spouses still exists.  I have experienced this firsthand. My husband, who is very busy on the other side of the veil, does still connect with me, particularly during the quiet times of my days and nights, as well as in my dreams.

He is still very much my husband, my eternal companion, and the father who is watching over our children who are with him on the other side of the veil.

So, for my widow buddies who are being told their marriages are over, tell the brother or sister in the gospel who say this that they are suffering from near-sightedness.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Singles Activities

I felt really bad this morning for my Ward's leadership in hosting a Singles Waffle Brunch for the single sisters in the Ward, from what I heard counted 70, and there were only about 5-6 of us who showed up.

Then, during the delicious meal, the comment was made as to why the numbers were so small.  My response was to simply acknowledge that they were missing out on some really good waffles.  

What I wanted to say, though, I chose not to say for fear of sounding snarky, and I certainly didn't want to offend people I love so much.

These, however, were a few thoughts.

First, okay, there are 70 single sisters in the Ward, a portion are widowed like myself.  How many of them have to work on Saturdays and couldn't come?

Reason #2:  With the Bishop there, some of the sisters would refuse to come as they would not be permitted to gossip about others in the Ward.  Sad, yes, but true.

Reason #3:  This is probably the big reason.  There was no real compelling reason to be there.

What I mean by this was, what would the people showing up benefit from coming?

Take out the visiting, the message from the Bishop, the good food, there was no other reason to draw people in.

There were no classes on:  

1.  Surviving the grieving process and ways people can cope, taught by counsellors from LDS Family Services.

2.  A primer on financial basics geared for single sisters, taught by our resident CPA.

3.  Basics of job hunting and getting that resume ready, taught by someone from the LDS Employment Services.

4.  Gardening and Food Storage basics.

5.  Basics of using power tools for home maintenance.

I'm sure the list could go on, but this will give you an idea of what I mean.  There used to be (I don't know if there still are) Singles Conferences every six months, and none of these topics were ever covered, yet for many women, particularly ones who just recently suffered a loss of spouse or divorce, this is exactly what they need.  It's a way for people to grasp what they do have control over, in situations where they feel they have none.

I could be wrong, and there could have been other reasons, I don't know, but this was what was going through my mind.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Blog Post To Read - The Unexptected Miracle

If you haven't read this yet, it's really good.  Be sure to have the tissues ready, though.

For those of us who are widowed, what book or books have helped you with your grieving?

For me, after coming home from the hospital without my husband, I found I couldn't sleep.  There seemed to be an aura or light beaming from a book on the bookshelf in our bedroom, it was the book, "Not My Will But Thine" from Elder Neal A. Maxwell.

That book helped me realize that I was not being punished and having my husband taken from me, but that the Lord had a plan for my husband, and that plan began that early morning.

The other item I read that helped me considerably was my husband's Patriarchal Blessing.  Through repeated reading and prayer to understand why my husband was taken, I was able to have a better understanding of the plan for my husband as well as his mission on the other side of the veil.

What books have helped you with your grieving?

Welcome To The Widowed Connection

Welcome to the Widowed Connection, where widowed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can read and share in this blog.