Widow's actions puzzle in-laws

Q. Our family is in shock because one of our brothers never got along with his wife, yet after he died last year she spent an enormous amount of money on his funeral and on an elaborate gravestone. Why would she do this?

Only your sister-in-law knows the reason she did this, of course – although even she may not understand her deeper motives. Our minds and emotions are complicated, and sometimes we may not realize why we act the way we do.

One reason might be guilt. Often both the husband and the wife are at fault. Perhaps her lavishness is a way of trying to make up for her failures.

She also may be expressing genuine grief over the loss of her husband. Although their relationship wasn't perfect, she misses him, and there is an emptiness in her life she may never have expected. She also may be grieving because she knows she will never have an opportunity to say, “I'm sorry” to her husband, or to try to heal the problems they had.

Pray for your sister-in-law; she's going through a harder time than you may realize. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. … Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid'' (John 14:27).