By Guest Contributor

by Pat Brandenstein

Do you remember Saturday mornings: waking up early, pouring yourself a big bowl of Cheerios, turning on the TV (which was snowy because it was one of the first TV’s on the market), and seeing your favorite Western? The good guys—in white hats—were always ambushed by the bad guys—in black hats—waiting behind a huge rock. The ambush was never expected, but the guys in the white hats always won.

Widows, and especially recent widows, can experience their own type of ambush. Out of nowhere they are suddenly overcome with intense emotions of sadness and crying.

These outbursts might occur in the grocery store, at church, or at work. While the episodes of sadness and crying are usually not related to the situation at the time, the widow is ambushed nonetheless.

Biblically speaking, a widow is any woman who has lost the protection and provision of her husband through death, divorce, desertion, or imprisonment.

If you are a widow, do not feel embarrassed by this sudden outburst of tears. You may not be able to stop them and trying to control your emotions can make the crying even worse. The best thing you can do is excuse yourself from wherever you are and find a private place where you can let your emotions run their course.

These ambush moments are normal. Sharing these emotions with a trusted friend can be very helpful. Also keep in mind Ecclesiastes 4:12: “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple braided cord is not easily broken.” Here, the third cord is Jesus Christ who is always there to help us fend off ambush moments and can be called upon anytime.

If you are not a widow, know that occasional outbursts are normal. If you know someone who is experiencing regular or increasing outbursts, suggest to her that she visit her doctor. You could offer to go with her.

Sadness and depression are some of the most prevalent symptoms among widows. A professional can best discern if the widow is experiencing normal sadness or if it’s depression.

Pat Brandenstein is co-founder of Wings of Hope Widows Ministry, a 501(3) c with Chapters of Widows in Cheatham, Rutherford, and Franklin counties. Wings of Hope assists widows in forming chapters in their communities and churches in developing widowed persons ministries. For more information, contact Brandenstein at 931-636-4359 or Webpage:, Facebook and Instagram: Wings of Hope Widows Ministry.

This article originally appeared in the January 2021 issue of ENCORE Ministry Matters. To receive this free monthly enewsletter, contact