You know, that hit. The sudden loss… I’m suddenly a widow.
In a heartfelt podcast interview on “The Widows Walk,” Dr. Connie Mariano sits down with Reverend Michele Wittington, a dear friend and fellow widow, to discuss Michele’s personal journey of love, loss, and healing after the passing of her beloved husband, Lonnie. Through their candid conversation, we gain insights into the profound bond they share, the challenges they each faced, and the transformative power of grief.
Michele reflects on the magical love story that unfolded between her and Lonnie. From their serendipitous meeting in 1989 to their blissful marriage in 1991, their relationship was marked by unwavering support, shared dreams, and a deep soul connection. As a couple, they reveled in each other’s presence, embarking on adventures and cherishing every moment together.
In 2012, their lives took an unexpected turn when Lonnie’s health began to deteriorate. Initially searching for answers, they embarked on a medical journey that led them to the discovery of a non-functioning heart valve. Lonnie underwent a complex surgery, but despite the initial success, his health gradually declined. The couple faced the harsh reality that only a heart transplant could save him, a path Lonnie adamantly refused to pursue.
Michele shares the emotional rollercoaster of living with a loved one in declining health. They navigated the limitations of their once vibrant life, adapting to new circumstances and adjusting their expectations. Their deep love and unwavering commitment sustained them through the years of uncertainty, despite the awareness that their time together was limited.
We knew, we just didn’t know when.Michele Whittington
As Lonnie’s health continued to decline, Michele found herself preparing for a future without him. She describes the prolonged grieving process of being a “widow in waiting” for four years, where hope coexisted with sorrow. During this time, they engaged in profound conversations about their desires, fears, and how Michele would carry on after his passing.
Michele recounts the poignant final month they spent together. Friends and loved ones surrounded them, offering support and saying their goodbyes. Despite the challenges and heart-wrenching moments, the bond between Michele and Lonnie grew stronger. On May 23rd, with Michele at his side, Lonnie took his last breath, his departure granting him the peace he longed for.
In the aftermath of Lonnie’s passing, Michele experienced a profound crisis of faith. Angry and confused, she questioned the spiritual principles she had long held dear. The grief was overwhelming, leading her to step down from her role as a minister. She then embarked on a journey of healing, seeking to reconcile her relationship with God and find solace in her spiritual center once more.
It was only when Michele encountered a novel that she shifted her perspective and ignited her healing process. The novel was the Ship of Brides, by Jojo Moyes. Through introspection and self-discovery, she learned that it was okay not to have all the answers and that healing takes time. With a renewed sense of purpose and a deepened connection to her spirituality, Michele embarked on a new chapter of her life, embracing the wisdom gained from her journey through grief.
The conversation with Dr. Michele Wittington offers a poignant glimpse into the profound experiences of love, loss, and healing. Through her story, we witness the complexities of navigating grief and the transformative power of self-reflection and faith. Her journey serves as an inspiring testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the ability to find light even in the darkest of times.
Listen to the entire conversation now: