In today’s mail was an envelope hand addressed to my late husband. I knew what it was without even opening it: his 2015 dues card for an organization in which he had a life-membership. Mac was active in this organization even before I met him, and it was fairly important to him; but after we moved away he never kept in touch with anyone from this group. I’ll admit to being a bit stunned when I saw the envelope and I wondered why they were sending this to him.
Don’t they know he’s dead?
Then I realized that I never notified them personally, because a friend (who also belonged to this organization and had—strangely enough—also moved here) had promised to take care of that for me. Obviously he didn’t follow through on his promise. So now it falls to me.
I sat down to write them a letter and began:
It is with the deepest sorrow that I must inform you that Mac passed away on 11/16/14. I apologize for taking so long to contact you, but I …
WAIT! Why am I apologizing for taking my time notifying a club? Mac never felt the need to keep in touch, and obviously none of them ever emailed him or wrote or called … so why am I feeling so apologetic for my failure? No wait! I didn’t fail. I just relied on someone else to keep their promise and never gave this another thought. I sat at the table stunned at the thoughts running through my head. Why did this friend not follow through with his promise? Didn’t he care? Didn’t he realize this would eventually become my problem? Didn’t he realize how painful it would be for me to deal with this after all this time? I remember him saying that I would have enough to deal with, and he'd like to take this burden from my, so why didn't he? Then I realized that the last time I spoke to he and his wife, her farewell was, “Well, maybe we’ll see you sometime in the future.” Click.
Perhaps I should have figured out that without Mac, I’m not important to this couple. I’m aware that many people have a hard time dealing with a widow (or widower), as we represent a visual reminder of their own mortality and it’s not always easy to face that part of your future. I’m also aware that some couples are uncomfortable around me simply because I’m not a couple. I see this with friends who get divorced as well.
Still I’m frustrated at this mans casual way of not following through with a promise, and now I’m left trying to figure out how to explain that my husband has been dead for almost a year and I’m just getting around to telling this group about his death.
I want to find a way to be gentle with my news, but also be a witness. I want this group of people to know that Mac is in heaven, and that they can see him again some day if they know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Would the secretary read that kind of a letter at a club meeting? Maybe not, but still the news needs to be told. Mac would want it, and God requires it of me.
“And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”—Mark 16:15 (NASB)
So now I’m praying and asking God to guide me as I write, and that the hearts of those who read and hear the news will be open to the good news of Jesus Christ.