I have a new-found appreciation for those who have traveled this road before me. I had no idea what obstacles a new widow has to learn to overcome in the first few months after her husband's death.
For instance, in our county you will not receive the death certificate for up to six weeks. In other counties this can take up to six months! In the meantime, as you are grieving, you have to continue to pay bills without an income. And, even if the woman did work (I am not sure how she could and grieve properly) her income more than likely would not cover the bills. If there was a life insurance policy or if you plan on getting the Social Security death benefits you must wait for the death certificate.
Now I must add here that I am well taken care of in this transition period. The church we attend, Central Valley Presbyterian, has been incredibly supportive. All I have to do is ask and I would have a myriad of people helping in anyway they can. The outpouring of love in the form of monetary gifts has been overwhelming and very helpful too. We are making the house payments and keeping up on the bills and will continue to for another month or so as we wait for that certificate and the benefits to start.
I feel for those women who don't have a supportive church body and who possibly might not even have benefits coming their way. What an added burden.
From the very beginning of our marriage Eric and I talked about the practical matters of life after the death of a spouse. He assured me that he would financially take care of me and our children. We even had a healthy policy on me so that if I died he would be able to spend more time with the children (an important thing to remember for all of you out there that homeschool). He laid many firm foundations for us: spiritual and financial. He taught and showed our children how to love God and others, he built a strong family bond that is proving to be unshakable through this ordeal, and he took steps to assure that we would be able to keep the house that he and Goose spent years building.
Eric and I would talk about what I was to do if he died. He even wrote me a letter with all of our financial notes in it. The letter starts out saying "If you are reading this letter then this is a sad day for you..."
I am learning the art of taking care of the finances (something he wanted to teach me and I dreaded). I am learning how to take care of car and house problems. I am learning how to make decisions - something that Eric did for me for the past twenty years. I am learning to discipline the children without the benefit of having daddy's help. I am learning how to make my way through the business world that I despise. And, if Eric could (or would even want to) look down on us I know he would yell "I know you can do it. I believe in you."