In the past week, I have wept and mourned but I have loved and been loved. Following my husband’s death, I have relied, like Blanche DuBois on the kindness of strangers but I have also held close the anchors of faith, hope and love. As St. Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians, “As it is, these remain, faith, hope and love, the three of them all and the greatest of them is love.”

The love that Roy and I shared is not gone, it remains. Right now, that love both cuts deep with hurt and yet remains a succor. Out of our love, we built a family and our children are one of my greatest comforts in these difficult days.

More love has touched me and succored me, though, than that of my children. My family has given me love from my mother to my cousins, my own family and Roy’s family who became my own more than twenty-four years ago. My parish family has provided me with love and my faith has given me both hope and comfort. My friends have surrounded me with love, kindness and prayers. And there is the love of God.

Each day has been something to endure and to survive. Yet, I have.

I can’t really say it has yet become any easier to be widow rather than wife but each day is also a beginning.

Back in the 1970’s when disco was king, the time when Roy and I spent our high school years, there was a very popular poster and motto that was prevalent - today is the first day of the rest of your life.

In these days, I have thought about those words. Each day is the first day of the rest of my life and I am striving to believe that, to move forward because in fact there is no other direction to go.

I have returned to work, seeking the routines and the distraction from my sorrow. I have assimilated the plants received in sympathy into my home and made a few changes. Although Roy was not at home for some months, our bedroom was that – ours. Now, it is mine. I did some rearranging and once I had finished, I realized it reminded me of my Granny’s bedroom once she too was a widow.

I do not know what the future will hold but I have hope that God will meet my needs in every way. At this moment, I have some very human fears but I am doing my best to put my trust in Him that everything will work out. One of Roy’s favorite Scriptures, from Romans, says that all things work together for good for of those who love God, for them who are called according to His purpose.

The continuing prayers of so many, the family and friends who pray, mean so much.

I am in transition but without faith, hope, and love I would be lost.

And I am holding fast to the belief that the greatest of these is love.

- Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy writes a weekly column for The Neosho Daily News. She is a staff writer and reporter, as well as a freelance writer and novelist.