Former Valley resident pens book of uplifting meditations to comfort widows
Published 8:30 am Saturday, May 6, 2023
VALLEY — Frances King Abrams went through a traumatic experience when she lost her husband Jerome in 2009. The pain and emptiness from that loss lingered for some time, but she found comfort in the knowledge she wasn’t the only woman to have lost a husband. She’s now reaching out to them through her new book, “The Widow’s Song,” copies of which are available on Amazon. It’s a collection of meditations for widows from God’s word with stories from widow’s journeys.
“The book started with the experience I went through with Jerome’s brain tumor,” she said at a Saturday afternoon book signing at Hood’s Pharmacy. “God has been with me every step of the way. I want to help other widows who have been through circumstances similar to mine.”
The Widow’s Song gets its name from Psalms 59:16. It’s filled with devotionals and hymns and sprinkled with Bible verses. There’s a verse written by Harriet Beecher Stowe: “Be still, be still and know that He is God. Be calm, be trustful; work, watch and pray, Till from the throes of this last anguish Rise the light and gladness Of that better day.”
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Stowe (1811-1896) is best known for her book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” which depicts the harsh conditions of slavery in the antebellum South. The book sold 300,000 copies within three months and was so widely read that when President Abraham Lincoln was introduced to her in 1862 he reportedly said, “So this is the little lady who made this big war.”
Abrams said that Stowe’s poems are deeply spiritual and are comforting to those who have had great loss in their life.
Many of the poems in the book are in the public domain and not that well known. They are uplifting and encourage the reader that God loves us and wants each one of his children to have a song in their heart.
It’s not limited to what Frances experienced with the death of her husband. There are stories of what friends of hers went through in losing their husbands. The Widow’s Song has ten such stories altogether.
The next-to-the-last chapter in The Widow’s Song was written by Frances’ current husband, Howard Abrams, and is a tribute to his mother who spent the last seven years of her life caring for his dad who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. “Prior to dad’s illness,” he wrote, “she was a regular church attendee, active in her Sunday school class, senior adult choir and church-sponsored exercise programs. As dad’s condition worsened, she put aside everything to care for him until his death.”
After a period of mourning after her husband died, she resumed an active place in church. “God gave her 15 years as a widow, and she made the most of them,” Abrams writes. “Even as her ability diminished due to her arthritis, she did what she could instead of dwelling on what she could no longer do. I am convinced that the Lord greeted her with ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.” She died the day after Mother’s Day in 2011.
The final chapter is about a beach trip Frances took with her ailing husband in 2007. “I thought that if I could get Jerome to his favorite beach spot, he would feel better after his treatments, but he didn’t. He was exhausted.”
Jerome was 60 years old at the time. He had started a new ministry as director of missions after having served decades as a pastor and church staff member. He had poured himself into this new role when diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, or a deadly tumor that has been nicknamed “the beast.” At times he had confused speech, something frustrating for a man who loved reading and communicating with others. He had earned graduate degrees before God called him to preach.
“Each visit from our children and grandchildren revealed the stark reality that Jerome was slipping away from them,” Frances writes. “As the disease progressed, Jerome forgot our children’s names and began to treat the grandchildren as strangers. He later forgot my name.”
Jerome passed away early on a Sunday morning in February 2009. He was 63. “I recall that I kept repeating through my tears ‘My precious, my precious, my precious,” she writes. “During Jerome’s memorial service, a minister quoted Psalms 116:15: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Godly ones.”
Losing her husband was a tragic, heartbreaking experience but it does have a silver lining. “From these memories I have confirmed what I know of God’s nature,” she writes. “God is all knowing and wise. He knows the future we cannot see. Christ assures believers of ultimate healing when our mortal bodies die. That healing is eternal life with Him.”
The Kings had 40 years together as husband and wife. For a number of years Frances was the lifestyles editor of The Valley Times-News. She has also written for magazines and was a public relations writer for the Chambers County School District.
In her acknowledgements, she thanks Jerome “whose Christian life and death inspired me to write and compile devotions to encourage widows.”
She also thanks current husband Howard Abrams for his patience and encouraging her to stay the course in writing the book. Others thanked include Dr Bill Johnston, retired associate pastor of the Dawson Baptist Church in Homewood, Alabama for reading the manuscript and telling her the book was needed; Sarah Williams, an independent editor and book coach who guided her through the writing process, and her publisher, Ellen Sallas, for her role in making the book a reality.