Widow’s Walk


By Joyce D. Sohl

Grieving often seems to be like walking in a forest in the rain. There is no escape and the rain is persistent in its presence and the obstacles it creates. The tears and pain keep coming and seem to be never ending. The prayers from the heart are laments crying out to God often with anger and despair. Why must I continue my life alone, without my soul-mate?  God, why did you take him away?

Joan Greene writes: “The salve of sorrow is memory. Pain is soothed by talking, walking and memories which acknowledge that one’s loved one lived, and is remembered. Healing comes when we accept that loss is part of the fabric of our lives, and accept that we will never be the same…When one’s partner passes away, we sometimes get stuck at the end. The Widow’s Walk celebrates the life that was and the life that is.”

striped pebbles forming a curve in rippled water surface

Joan Greene and Sally Ahner will be leading the retreat “Widow’s Walk” at Scarritt-Bennett Center on April 18 (starting at 9 am) through April 19 (noon). It is a weekend of bearing witness to loss, sharing meals and conversation and learning techniques for coping and healing. During the time, it is hoped that widows may share their story, enlist their body’s wisdom in learning to center to the power and support available, walk the labyrinth as a means of healing, explore the concept that love is stronger than death, and find hope for beautiful tomorrows.

You may be recently widowed or widowed years ago. This retreat is for both of you. Come and share your story and find a way to hope for a new day. The commuter cost is $150 and the resident cost (1 night) is $210. Registration can be done online by clicking here or by calling Angela Elliott at 615 340-7557.

Ann Weems shares her lament in this prayer:

“O God, you’ve allowed death to take him away, leaving me alone

in the chill dawn of unfinished love.

What could you have been thinking?

Ungiven gifts pile about me.

Unsung songs remain trapped in my throat.

Unsaid words lie rotting in my mouth, and I sit staring down

a lifetime of unlived days, for love didn’t leave

when death arrived.

God, what will I do with unfinished love?

It wells up within me with nowhere to go,

and I am bursting with the pain of it.

Come to me, O Comforter, come to me.

Hold me against the pain for just awhile so that I might catch my breath.

Come to me, O Comforter, and give me peace.

Joyce D. Sohl, Laywoman-in-Residence

Joyce Sohl

Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, and quarterly retreats and art exhibits.