I really don’t know if I would even want to, I wouldn’t want to spoil any of this and really, wouldn’t have wanted any of this to happen any differently… but if I had to.
If I had to tell my newly-widowed self one thing. One thing that might help turn a corner faster.
Or, help alleviate one less headache…

as much as you want it to be, and as vulnerable and open as your heart will be to love and be loved, your first love after loss is not going to be…

It will …&… it wont.

It will be the most wonderful…&…it will be the most exhausting. At the same time.
It will require you to level up to be someone you have not yet known you could ever be.

Try as you might. You will hurt them, and keep hurting yourself, the longer you try to control and hold onto feeling and knowing what you had with what is now lost.

The love you were receiving stopped as abruptly as they stopped breathing.

You will never feel or know what you felt and knew, again.
They did not pass the baton to anyone else on how to love you as you have known it.

This is still hard to type and feel… &… it is necessary.
Because its true.

And the sooner I not only acknowledge but act like I know this truth, the better for everybody.
The sooner I allow my heart to accept that I will experience something entirely new and different and it not be wrong, the better my new life and love can be.
Because then it becomes effortless. Like breathing, the expectations dissolve.
No more expecting, no more proving, no more controlling, no more hoping… just relaxing into the rhythm and cadence. Totally mindful.

Just because it is different doesn’t mean its wrong.
Just because it is unlike what I have known doesn’t mean it doesn’t also belong to me.
Just because it is entirely foreign to my heart space, doesn’t mean I’m not capable of accepting it.

Nothing of what I knew is anything like I know now.
And will know going forward.
Take what you had, cherish it, but remain open and willing to the possibilities of the love that is happening now. Break open. Even more. Real, big love is unfolding now.
And could have only come into your life because of who you have become.


Loving someone new as a widow is challenging.
I can’t place myself on the other side of that coin… but I can ooooonly imagine its not a stroll in the park every day.
It is communicating heavy feelings, frequently. It is vulnerability. It requires digging. And revealing. And mistakes. And saying things, then giving each other massive grace when  boundaries need to be drawn. The layers that require peeling… of yourself.
But it could have only been possible with loving yourself in your hurt, first.
Self care was crucial to get you to this point of handling this situation.
Without it, you would suffocate on your own grief.

Its so tough. You do know this person is not your deceased person. You know this.
You know this so much. That part is never confusing. That part doesn’t get muddled. You’re not even wanting your new love to be anyone else but themselves.

Its the part of you that misses your deceased person. The missing them.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you require them in the moment, either. Because your smart brain knows that is impossible, they are dead. They aren’t ever going to be able to be in another moment with you. But that doesn’t mean you should or could be expected to ever stop the missing.

Is there a new level of grief you graduate to where you stop missing them?
How do you cure “the missing?” How do you silence it? How do you make it stop?
How do you stop the tears, and sadness, that come because of it? Does it finally go away after a few years? You can be 2 and a half years into this and it still leaks out of you every once in awhile. And you’re guilt-striken because you don’t want to still cry because you are missing someone who is never going to magically not be ash anymore.
It doesn’t hurt less, just… less often.
How do you hide the tears from your new person so they don’t feel bad for sitting in the same room as you and that still not be enough for you to not miss the person who is gone?
Their existence in your life won’t ever be the cure.
Don’t place that pressure on them or you.
Feeling them next to you will never be the antidote for your missing.
But what you can control is… you can hold the space for gratitude.

When the missing feelings rise up in your throat, let them. Don’t hold it back and don’t feel ashamed. Just miss him. And release it. Accept that your missing will hurt and fall out of your eyes. Empty out and then fill up, on gratitude for the life you get to look around and be witness to and participate in. If it wasn’t for a devastating loss, you wouldn’t have gained …all this.

You miss things of your old life, and love you never agreed to not have anymore.
And no one, not one person, could assume any responsibility of those feelings or healing them for you… but you.

The truth hurts, you have the missing.
In moments you’d rather not have it. In moments you are bravely loving the new.
You are always sitting bravely in two places.
Honoring the part of you that misses, and the part of you that has courageously shown up and opened up to loving someone new.

It is tough for both bravehearts.
Wondering how you can ever mend the missing. Wondering if grief will ever stop. If the love you are building now will ever be enough to just make it all stop and go away and be solved and cured and “okay.”

Its tough. For both. It will hurt. Both of you.
But it is worth it.

What I have found is… you aren’t entitled to the same love, that was then, but you are worthy of a different… BIGGER, BETTER, STRONGER, BRAVER …one. Because of what you have been through.
You don’t deserve a penny less. Because you’re capable of it. And worthy of it, too.
The way you see life and love is dramatically different. You’ve traded in your old glasses. Hindsight and foresight is now a crisp 20/20.

If you are brave enough to know you are capable of giving and receiving it… the biggest love you could ever know will come for you and land in your life. Don’t miss it.

I don’t know a braver man than Jessep. A more bold man than him.

To love me, take me as I am, and with all he has seen and heard and experienced since jumping with me and started building these wings… and choose it. Willing. And willing to  stand in his own honesty about doing all of it.
I remain very grateful for the good, bad, and ugly this walk over 2 years has afforded me.  All the people, places and experiences. All of it.

12 years ago to this day, I told Shayne I loved him in a loud bar, surrounded by friends, downtown Nashville, TN.
…confessing that to him regardless of where I knew where that would lead us, not giving a thought this is where I could be years later.
Holding him now in my heart as memories… &… opening back up & breaking open to loving someone else with all the love I have & creating & discovering more.




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