A Widow's Might: Lessons From My Cousin's Loss

Sandra Turley | Nov 3, 2016


My cousin is a widow.
She is too young to be a widow.
In the dark hours of the night, her husband’s spirit unexpectedly and quietly left this world.
She woke to find his body there but the breath of life, gone.

Just a month after her loss, I gathered both my courage and a full bag of groceries as I walked up to her door. I had prepared and I knew it was my time to hold up my weeping cousin. But instead, and to my surprise, I soon found myself cozied up on her couch, being fully fed by her sure faith and pure might.

A widow’s might.
My cousin’s might.
Heaven’s might.

Heaven is in her home. I felt it through her words and her being that day as she softly shared the miracles, big and small, that have allowed her to witness the closeness of the heavens.

The day of his death, she talked with her husband - communed with him. She felt him near, as she still does. No marriage is perfect, but theirs was good. She felt that even their little issues (the type that build up during 16 years of marriage) were forgiven and resolved as they “talked together” through this veil of mortal separation, and she knew they were “all good.” They forgave each other of their shortcomings. Immediately. It caused me to pause and imagine a list of the petty things I would need to ask forgiveness from my spouse if I were to return to heaven today. It gives me peace to believe that as long as we work our hardest, the small things that may divide us on this earth will be swept away with passing and our hearts will commune, connect, and comfort.


Three-year-old twin girls. He left them behind too. They call out at night time, “Where is my daddy?” I watched them clamber all around my cousin while we visited. They have only her to turn to - and though I know she is enough for them, my eyes filled with tears as I said, “They are so lucky to have you. It’s you three forever now.” To which my cousin replied without a moment’s pause, “It’s the four of us. Forever. The four of us.You know that.” It was as if he were sitting right there. And of course, I knew and I know, but her eternal perspective was so remarkably clear in such a delicate time. Heaven is not all that far away. Our time on earth is but a blink. This wise and mighty cousin of mine understands this. There is a long life ahead of her and her daughters, but heaven is so close that she knows she will be with her husband again, so much sooner than our mortal minds can comprehend.

Considering her current might, which can only be explained as God’s grace given to His grieving child, I wonder about the experience of other young widows. Does God grace all widows with this clear window looking into His light? All widows deserve His divine arms reaching out to hold them, but not all widows see and feel Him the same way as my cousin. She recognizes this as a gift - singular to her at this time - and one that she is grateful and humbled to receive. She also knows that she could not receive this gift if she weren’t looking and asking for it.

We read about the widow made most recognizable in the New Testament for giving her mite, in Mark chapter 12:


41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Casting in our money - our material “mites” - brings blessings. But casting our spiritual “mites” at the feet of the Savior, “even all [our] living,” will afford us the gift of peace during times of pain. Peace that was paid for by our Savior’s infinite atonement. My cousin has been casting in her spiritual “mites” all her life. She has paid the price of receiving personal revelation and a connection with divinity through thirty-eight years of study and prayer. As she has cast in her spiritual “mites” she has received celestial “might.” And because of this, when she was asked to cast in “even all her living,” she still could turn to the Heavens with respect and humbly call upon the powers of the Atonement to ease her pain.

Not to be lost in the parable is still the beauty of those who literally cast in of their material “mites.” My cousin has seen the miraculous blessing of friends, family and even total strangers, who have “cast in of their abundance” to help secure their family’s livelihood for a time and give hope to the future of raising two daughters in an unplanned way. I believe these “mites” double as “mights." The strength of others, the might of others, is contagious and empowering. I want to be Christ’s hands here on earth, to share His compassion with the grieving, even the widowed, around me. And in so doing, I welcome Heaven into my life, my home, and my heart.

This is what I learned from a widow’s might.