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As a priest I have over these past twenty-five years and more prepared not a few couples for marriage and assisted at their nuptials I have seen them hand in hand walking as if on a cloud, gliding down the aisle at the end of the Eucharistic celebration. Life seemed to be one long season of spring and the sun never seemed to set! And yet, I wonder, whether it ever dawns on them then as to which of them would be the first to die.

Widowhood indeed must be a shattering experience causing a void that is hard to fill. To be left behind by someone with whom one has lived life's deepest intimacies must make the heart ache; to live alone having shared life's most jealously guarded secrets with another who is no more, is not easy; to face life with all its challenges without the one on whom you leaned constantly for strength and support must be very trying.

Recently I had occasion to visit a Home for the Elderly. "If only I could have him back for a few moments... He was such a good husband a man of gold ... my man!" sobbed an elderly lady who had lost her husband. If the death of any person diminishes us because we are part of humankind, how much more diminishing an experience must be the death of a beloved spouse!

The sun sets. Spring comes to an end. What sustains widowhood in the winter of loneliness that follows are the good times as well as the bad lived together, that forged even more deeply the bonds of matrimonial and mutual love. The marigolds of marriage contain the violets of widowhood!

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