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"Having experienced widowhood, I know that no one gets it like another widow and no one can help you and support you like another widow. What a gift it is to empower widows to offer healing and hope to other widows."

Stand in the Gap for Widows

This Is Deanna

Deanna and her husband, Ron, spent their married life in ministry. The church was their constant, their mission, and their extended family. After Ron's sudden death, church became the place where Deanna felt especially sad and lonely. Everything changed when Deanna met someone who understood. She was called out of her grief and into a new kind of ministry.

Some of my best memories are our times of ministry together. Ron was a really energetic and outgoing person; he never met a stranger. But the passion of his life was he wanted people to know Jesus. We had four beautiful daughters together and because God led us in ministry to often move different places, we met a lot of really neat people that were like family to us. But God would lead us to another place so we’d have to leave those people behind and I think those situations made the six of us grow even closer together.

The first weekend of March of 2015, my youngest daughter Quinna had a cheer competition in Dallas. The plan was that Ron and I were going to go together to take her to that. But we found out that week that his mother had been diagnosed with colon cancer and was going to be having surgery. So we decided that he and my daughter Taylor would go to Lubbock to be with his mom during the surgery and I would take Quinna by myself to Dallas.

Throughout our marriage, Ron and I were rarely apart. We did everything together. So that particular weekend was very difficult for us with him being in Lubbock with the situation with his mom and me being in Dallas. So on that Sunday morning, I got a text from him that said, ‘this isn’t right, us being apart.’ And I responded with, ‘I know. I hate it.’ That was the last text we ever sent.

I’m standing out in the hall of this event center for the cheer competition, it’s noisy and chaotic. And all of the other parents are standing there. I really didn’t know very many of them. I get a phone call from the emergency room in Lubbock. The nurse on the other end of the line says, ‘Do you know Ron Fisher?’  And I said, ‘yes, he’s my husband.’ And then she asked me if I was in Lubbock.

Ron had gone to another hospital to pay a pastoral visit to someone there and was coming back to the hospital where his mother was. He was going up to say goodbye to her. She was on the 7th floor and the elevators weren’t working so he took the stairs. Somewhere along the way up the stairs, he had a massive heart attack.

So I asked her, ‘how long has he been without oxygen?’ and she told me it was 40 minutes. At that point, I knew he was gone.

Despite the fact that I had been a believer my entire life, I struggled with my faith. Church was a really hard and difficult place to go. It was where Ron and I ministered together and it was so central in our lives. Instead of it being this place of joy, for me, it was a place that I felt sad and alone.

About 14 months after Ron died, my grief still felt very fresh to me. I saw Amy’s picture on Facebook. A mutual friend shared a prayer request about her and her daughter after Amy’s husband had suddenly died. I didn’t know Amy at all but whenever I saw her picture and understood the situation, my heart broke for her. So I decided to get together a packet of gift cards to send to Amy for restaurants and other things. I sent that to her with a little note that said, ‘I know you don’t know me, but I just want you to know that I understand.’

A couple of weeks later, Amy and I met for the first time at church. We hugged and cried and made an amazing connection.

Over the next years, Amy and I became like family to each other. We watched our daughters grow up in grief. We were able to just pick up the phone and call each other whenever we needed help or prayer and we knew we didn’t have to explain ourselves, the other person just knew how we felt. We went on trips together. We did ministry together. We became family for each other.

AMY: When you are a widow, you have lost your primary partner, and that won’t change. But those people that come alongside you and walk with you through your grief and also share as you make new memories and laugh again, those people become like family in true and meaningful ways. And we all need that.

The cool thing about my relationship with Amy is that by walking together through the darkest days of this widow journey, we have empowered each other to be in ministry to other widows. Amy is now the director of Stand in the Gap for Widows but before that, when I started my ministry to widows, called Ron’s Way, she was right there helping me. I could not have done it without her.

Having experienced widowhood, I know that no one gets it like another widow and no one can help you and support you like another widow. What a gift it is to empower widows to offer healing and hope to other widows.

Learn more about Stand in the Gap for Widows

Ensure that your church has the tools necessary to provide hope and healing to widows.