A Re-Married Widows Fight Towards Joy

Today eleven years ago, I wheeled my husbands heart which sat inside of a cooler –  to the jet that was waiting to take it to a very lucky young man in NYC.

A man, I am now ready and hopeful to meet. I couldn’t help but feel I was on the losing end of someone else’s prayers, however it gave me some peace knowing my healthy and amazing husband gave better life to 6 others.

Today, more than any other lossversary, I celebrate the love, the life and all of what has brought me to the woman I am.

Today, I see the happiness on the outside of sadness. The joy surrounding the sorrow and the great design of this life. I honor it all. I can’t wish away what was to be, so I breathed a new wish into my life – the wish and the want to live fully despite the treacherous seasons that became me.

It’s like my favorite quote “she wasn’t born herself, she found herself. Over a long and treacherous road and the more treacherous the road became the more of herself she found.” – Atticus.

Surrounded in love is exactly how I will continue my days here, carrying alongside me my husband in heaven and loving next to me my second husband and our daughters and family on earth. Remembering and knowing and feeling the sweetness of love and how it never leaves us and stays and grows within the heart of who we are and who we continue to become.

So on this eleventh anniversary, I am very thankful, extremely humbled and also very much of the mind that I know it could all change tomorrow and so for this day and each day, I will do my best to appreciate that! RIP John, I know you are delighted in what you see and have had a hand in. ❤️❤️A Widows WorldAddelise Inc.

Sharing my heart, and what I have learned through being widowed young, but also through many life experiences that have somehow found their way to me – this is my calling in life.

The Friday before is always the calm before the storm. The day it happened, the circumstance that would lead to the new outcome that would send me into a realm that was not ever a thought in my mind. As I sat up in my kitchen on Friday, September 1, 2017, these words I felt called to share came spilling so effortlessly to me as did the tears.

Today, eleven years ago I drove 90 mph towards my fate. A bee 🐝 how bad could this really end?.

I believed and knelt beside his hospital bed. I prayed and asked and prayed and asked and showed my faith uncaring for the audience who pitied and hoped for me. Our last night together mixed with hope and thoughts of the future. So many nights I try to recreate and remember this last night completely and I just can’t.

That last night brought clarity. Unanswered questions like would we have children? That night he said he wanted kids. He didn’t want to..originally…his heart unwanting to bring life into a world that would let them down. That night before he died we visited close friends at a hospital in Rockford Illinois and we celebrated the life of Oliviana. A healthy beautiful baby that just a few days later I would hold at the front of the condolences line that bordered my husbands casket.

I remember very clearly my dear friend coming in and going to the front of the long line with her babe to be with me. Her sweet girl farting so firmly in my hands to remind me that life kept going in the smallest of ways. Its funny the things you so very clearly remember even going through the motions of those days. Like the way he smelled in the hospital, hooked up to the ventilator looking as if nothing was wrong, although everything was.

Her moms look in my eyes burning into mine an unbelieving look, that I could believe. An understanding we both didn’t quite know, but it was now my truth. This day, this hour, this time was somehow as shitty as it was marked for me. AND WHY? I don’t know!

Eleven years and I feel the pain of those exact moments as I’m writing this. This is my day!

It comes every year. The start of my four days of hope, that failed me at that time, but I’m owning it, because it’s mine. It’s the day that changed my whole life. It’s the day that took me through a terrible hell, it’s the day I said I don’t want to live without him.

It’s the day that defined me in a way I never knew. I’ve been fighting and living against this day ever since.

I have found so much joy in this life through it all. A joy I could have never even imagined..a life that I truly couldn’t have even dreamed…within the walls of my home, I have love..outside of these walls I am loved.

I will keep fighting. I don’t know why, but I was born to keep fighting!

SO for some who don’t understand as you or I do – I have written these truths.

Don’t feel bad for me, because I know what it feels like to die but come back to life again!

Don’t feel bad for me, because I see life much clearer than the cleanest glass!

Don’t feel bad for me, because I’ve lived through the lowest lows!

Don’t envy me, because I live in a way that some will not!

Don’t envy me, because you watch me show this life what it’s all about!

Don’t misunderstand me, because you just can’t understand!

Don’t wish you were in my shoes, because I want you to not stand where I have stood!

Don’t compare, because your journey and mine just doesn’t lend itself to comparison!

Don’t believe it’s over, because temporary is just a new beginning!

Don’t deny what was, because it was real, is real and will always be!

Don’t think for a minute, or even hear when others say you should get over it…that’s bullshit!

Don’t forget, there is joy waiting on the other side of unhappiness!

Don’t discount this life, because when YOU are ready to try something new, it may show you something you never thought you would find!

Don’t give up, someday you won’t regret a thing and you will instead see the joy in all of the journey!

Always remember the entrance, the sweetness, the life, the tender moments and listen in the quite to hear how they still speak to you. 

This the first night of my four nights of denial which no matter where I stand in line will always be hard, but I treasure them and him and our life. I honor it all and HIM because it is real, it is unending and he can never be taken from me! ❤️

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The Man I Didn’t Want – A Widow’s Love Story

The man i didn’t want – A Widow’s Love Story

January 2008 in the heart of the winter, that is when he came into my life – the man I didn’t want. My heart frozen in time, hardened like the ice that cascaded and seemed to cover everything around me. If I am being honest, I wasn’t alive, I didn’t want, nor did I appreciate being alive at that time. Destruction had never been my thing – until it became my thing. How much could I hurt myself, so that I would just feel something? Looking back is hard, but it is also what saved me from me. My world felt much like what you would expect of being stuck in purgatory, or was I the one that died and this was my hell?

This man now standing before me and I with my widow heart say, “I am not looking for anything, I don’t want anything.” I had nothing to give. This man that I was very clearly saying my truth right away to, and yet he still spoke these words, “I want something, I want a girlfriend, I want you”. How could he know so quickly?

A smugness, I had never known until widowhood hardened my once soft and open heart, came over me in these days. I told him he couldn’t call me right away, that it would seem too eager. His hand touching my arm, recalling a meeting a couple weeks prior, in a completely different town close to an hour away. A chance encounter with a man I barely knew, just having been introduced by my first husbands mutual friend. I no longer believed in fate, but I couldn’t cheat my own mind by thinking – this is interesting. His lips on my lips and then I walked away. If I continued to walk away, no one could hurt me – ever again.

September 2006. My first husband left in September. How could he have left me here like that? I know he didn’t want to, he couldn’t have known and neither I – but how did this happen? I must have looked so vacant, frail stepping into the coroners office to get Johns death certificate. Somehow holding that paper, it outraged me. Why did I need this stupid piece of paper to certify that my husband was dead. Standing in front of the desk, I asked, “Have you ever seen this happen before? Do you know anyone else that has died from a bee sting?.” I am not sure what I was hoping for with this exchange or what I needed to hear him say, but when he told me “NO”, looking blankly into my eyes – it shattered me again.

I had done everything the way I was supposed to. Small town midwest girl meets local boy, they become best friends, she saved herself for this man, waited for the one, put herself through college, landed a good job, they marry, start building a life, making plans, are getting ready to dig the foundation for their new home and instead of breaking ground to create the dreams we worked so hard for – the ground was broken and my husband was now in a wooden box while his heart and organs were on a jet getting ready to save several others. I was left behind once again, by a man in my life that I loved.

Trusting my heart to another man was never going to happen again! I can’t believe people would actually say to me, “you are young, you will likely marry again” when the dirt hadn’t even settled and my mind wouldn’t give me rest. The nights now closed in on me, sleep, I never knew you could live with so little sleep.

Two weeks into January 2008, the man I didn’t want called. I said “you waited long enough”. He said, “you told me I couldn’t call you right away – want to go out tonight”? I couldn’t. I had created several online dating profiles and I had a date already scheduled. I hated this whole dating scene but for some reason profiling others seemed to pass the time – I kept waiting and wishing my husbands profile or someone who looked like him might just pop up…some of the crazy rationale that went through my maddened mind at that time.

We hung up after saying we would plan something soon. I’m not sure why, but I couldn’t seem to get this man off my mind. I kept pushing him aside. There was something intriguing there. I hadn’t felt like this, I kept pushing him aside. I go on my scheduled date that I was trying to be polite by not canceling, and I just couldn’t connect. I kept thinking about the man I didn’t want. Something came over me, maybe it was the knowing of how precious a minute was, the thought of wasting it on something that wasn’t right. I excused myself to the restroom and I called the man I didn’t want. I said ” hey, my plans are changing, still want to meet up”? He was out with friends, but would call me a little later.

So, I end the night early with my date and met up with two of my best friends. We go out and then I receive a text from the man I didn’t want. It is now after 11 and he is in bed. I say meet me and my friends at the Junction for some food. Never having had been forward in my life, this took me back to the time I had actually ran up to my first husbands truck window when he was leaving a party and said, “So, when are we going to go out”? The man I didn’t want, said how about another time and I think, rationally that was reasonable. Though there was nothing rationale in my life these days. Then he messages me, he is on his way. Some type of thrilling feeling came over me, what the heck was this? As he walked in my heart just did something. I felt the nervous, excitement, flutters. So handsome, kind, funny and he had some edge. We left and he came home with me. We talked all night and just talked. He made me laugh and this man I didn’t want started to become a man I knew I needed more with.

September of 2009, he took a month that is hard for me, and made it into a new beginning. I became his wife on one of the most beautiful days. In the middle of a garden this photo was captured of a butterfly landing right next to us.

I walked down the isle toward my future, taking with me my first husband and a piece of my first wedding gown clinging the flowers that budded above it. I was being married to this man by my childhood pastor and given away by my stepdad who is a constant reminder of how men can show up and stay in your lives. I can hardly believe this man I didn’t want broke down walls in my heart I never knew would be opened, he holds me up when I feel broken again, he forgives me for my crazy antics and he loves me through all of the ups and downs of our life. He makes me flipping mad at times, but I know I also return the sentiment. He reminds me that not everything in life is perfect, but being together and appreciating the times we share and the life we are living and figuring out, means everything.

It is not easy, marriage number one, but then marrying a widow, that is in my opinion a whole new level of navigation. My once soft and penetrable heart, had hardened and a defense and coping mechanism was put in it’s place. A new level of awareness of just how short life is brought up two defenses:

1. I know how short life is, so I am going to live it, show it, and not hold back.
2. I know how short life is, so I don’t want to hurt again, lose again, fear for what I now know to be so true and so I am going to keep a close hold of my heart so that that type of hurt will never find me. (SO unfair to myself and others)

This man, kept showing me he was up for the challenge and we took on this new life together. I had to meet him where he was meeting me. I couldn’t cheat myself anymore. We were put on this earth to love, to cherish and to forgive and forgive ourselves and allow love to come in. Hurts of this life will come but it’s on us to see that we deserve grace, joy, happiness. We get to make mistakes, but instead of holding on to failures we get to release them as part of the journey of finding ourselves through and amidst chaos.

We welcomed two beautiful, vibrant littles into our world, both in October.


We were living the life, the picture. People from the outside saw two successful individuals, a budding family. We were running, he with his business and I growing to the top of the executive ladder and jet setting away. We stopped making time for what mattered – isn’t it funny how we continue to take things for granted in life? He resented me and I resented him. He felt like, I didn’t need him. This conversation came up so often, it became old. I had to stop myself though at a time and sit in those words. He was right. I’m thankful we caught ourselves. I had become so independent. I had learned that I could do life on my own, I had closed off places in my heart for fear of being hurt. I had closed off places of myself to even myself because, it was just too hard to go there. When I almost gave up on us, he asked me to give us another chance. I did and I also knew that I had to meet him where he was opening his heart to meet me. We were both imperfect beings and thankfully still willing to be in it together.

We both showed up and put us at the top. He showed me all over again all of the reasons I needed to stay, he loved me the way I needed to be loved, I loved him the way he needed to be loved. He recently at a dinner with close friends, said, he had become an angry person and he was so thankful I gave us the chance we deserved. I willingly said, I am so thankful for us and that I also put in the work to give us the chance we deserved.


Nothing in this life is perfect. Standing in our kitchen a couple months back, I said “hey babe, I love you” he said “I love you too”. I said, “but I haven’t always” and we both laughed, knowing just what that actually meant. Appreciating this moment and the sweetness and honesty of it. It makes me smile to see that no matter what happens in this life you can go through very treacherous seasons, but if you decide to open your awareness, your heart and you unravel the pieces that you try so hard to keep together – that unraveling reveals true beauty that is just waiting to come out.

Eight years we will be married this year and it really blows my mind how fast our time has gone. I am thankful for this man I didn’t want and just how much I truly need him.

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Folding Sheets and 1000 Days of Widowhood by Rev. Sherry Massey

Folding sheets and 1000 days of widowhood.

Last week I was folding my sheets as they came out of the dryer. Using the bed to aid me in this task, my mind was wool gathering and the memory of the first time I folded sheets after my husband Mike, died, floated to the surface. He and I almost always folded sheets together.

He was not at all concerned about crisp folds or a nice finished bundle, as was I; we just enjoyed being together. That day, however, as I touched the sheets, I crumpled to the bed, sobbing.

I had washed his scent from them; it was one more reminder that he was really gone and was not ever coming back. I laid on the bed shrouded in the sheets, crying for what seemed like forever. It was excruciating. As quickly as that memory had materialized, I was drawn back to the present and a smile made its way to my face.

Instead of being overcome by that initial devastating memory, others flooded my mind of Mike and me laughing and just being silly together. My heart was so happy. I thought to myself- “Wow, what a difference time makes!” Time is one small component to healing when you grieve. The passing of time lessens the frequency of being overcome by grief and the acuteness of those episodes. I stopped right then and tried to determine how much time had actually elapsed since Mike died.

Today, July 22, 2017 marks my first 1000 days as a widow.

Pastor Michael Massey – My Mike

Most of us are familiar with the idea of the first 100 days of a new president’s tenure. This phrase was coined in a 1933 radio address by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It actually was in reference to the first 100 days of the newly seated Congress. It soon morphed into an assessment of a sitting president’s first 100 days- what he was able to do, what laws were being passed and a general sense of what his leadership was going to look like.

Roosevelt was the president who was able to accomplish the most during his first 100 days. Taking office in the height of the Depression, with the country battered and looking for guidance, FDR seated his entire cabinet, got 76 bills into law and rolled out his “New Deal” plan to get the country back on its feet . Since that time, every president’s first 100 days have come under scrutiny.

So I have decided to review my first 1000 days……

Honestly, the first several months were a blur.

Mike died very unexpectedly and without warning on October 24, 2014. I stumbled through the holidays that first year and it was January when I really started to get a sense of what my life was going to look like without my best friend of 40 years in it. Suffice it to say- I experienced the good, the bad and the ugly! But, I am standing strong, confident, and excited about the future God has planned for me. Listed below are some of the “accomplishments” from these first 1000 days.

  • Making it through the grocery store without breaking down and actually purchasing something
  • Welcoming the best friends and family in the world to care for me when I was so brokenhearted and they never knew which version of me they were going to get
  • Journaling became a big part of my healing
  • Working my tail off doing counseling, taking Grief Share classes and learning to embrace my grief and walk through it, and learn from it
  • Getting myself to social gatherings and being able to stay
  • Driving solo on long road trips and not feeling lonely
  • Handling small home repairs- thank you YouTube and Google
  • Assembling “some assembly required” furniture with no parts left over
  • Following God’s call on my life and being ordained as a minister of His glorious Gospel
  • Speaking and encouraging people whenever and wherever God opens doors
  • Planning a month’s long missions trip for early 2018
  • Writing, writing, writing

 

My Ordination. I am Rev. Sherry Massey

I would have never chosen what happened to me on that October day in 2014, but it still happened. I’ve now been given the fabulous opportunity to recalibrate the rest of my life.

Psalm 31:15 says “My times are in your hands. Hour by hour, I place my days in your hand.” So that’s my game plan. I don’t really know what is before me, but I am running towards it FULL SPEED, with reckless abandon and trust in God!

In his inaugural address on January 20, 1961, President John Kennedy said this in regards to his platform for America: ” All of this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1000 days, nor in the life of this administration, nor perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin…..”

Can I encourage you to begin today? Wherever you are, whatever you’re facing, you can tum things around and your life can be a wonderful thing- you just have to begin!

Good bye to the first 1000 days and hello to many 1000’s more.

They’re gonna be great!!!

Rev. Sherry Massey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Patton Oswalt Has Every Right To Be Happy, Trolls | Scary Mommy Article

I love this article written about the recent engagement of Patton Oswald and Meredith Salenger, and shared by Scary Mommy. What I love even more is that Erica Roman a fellow widow, I and many in our widow communities have connected with on this journey shares. She writes from her heart, a widows heart and perfectly addresses those who have and are publicly judging and criticizing – Patton Oswalt for moving forward through his journey as a widower – finding new happiness and love. Judgments that myself, you and others have likely faced ourselves.

His new love does not replace his first wife, he has found an appreciation in life for sharing it with another – expanding his heart and want for more for him and his daughter. He is showing others that it is possible to love again and live fully after loss. He will continue to grieve his first wife while also loving his second wife. How do I know this? I know, because I am a remarried widow.

As a remarried widow, I have such appreciation for this coverage and correction of societies ridiculous misconceptions. I will be sharing more this week in a blog post written for Hope For Widows Foundation about my love story. The blessing of opening my heart to a man I didn’t want, and how he has become a man I hope I don’t have to live without. I know well though, that some day he may leave this earth before me, or I before him – just as my first husband did. I am thankful that I get to share what moments we have, together with our two daughters.

Be happy, be free and don’t ever let others shape what is meant for you.

Patton Oswalt Has Every Right To Be Happy, Trolls

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When Someone You Love Dies, There is No Such Thing As Moving On | Kelley Lynn | Ted Talk

When someone you love dies, there is no such thing as moving on. Kelley Lynn does an amazing job sharing the truths and the ridiculous viewpoints that come from people’s mouths who have never been widowed.

This almost exact message, I have shared with the A Widows World and Hope for Widows Foundation communities. Widows and Widowers when faced with this number one stressful and life altering loss, do not need the additional secondary losses and judgments that come after. If you are widowed and have not experienced the secondary losses, you are one of the few.

Thank you Kelley Lynn, for sharing that grief is not something any of us will ever move on from. It is outrageous how others project onto the grieving – what they themselves do not know, do not understand, can not comprehend for their reality. How lucky are they to have an opinion without an understanding? The forums I follow as a widow advocate – offer much in the way of support – but it also elicits anger from many of us going through widowhood and learning of what our fellow widow and widower friends are facing themselves. Each of us are in our own stage of grief, timeframe, progression, however the connection is so understood and like none other out there. Widow communities are growing, popping up and being created each day, and the voice of the widowed heart is being heard not only by those who have a public platform, like Sheryl Sandburg  sharing openly of her loss, but also by many within our communities that are getting their message out there. It is amazing and will offer much in the way of growing support, that has previously not been as visible or available!

Some of the things stated to me right away after my husband died, felt egregious, my defenses were down and I kept getting hammered. The hate that people placed on me gave me a backbone very quickly and made me decide they could continue on with their narrow minded focus – but I would show them that grief has no end, but happiness can be present and found again. That is exactly what I have done, am doing and will continue to do and share. When one person questions why, you say, why not? Did you know “Widow Blinders” are a thing? When widowed, the blinders are removed, popped up and life is seen through the waves of sadness, but also the realization of how really small our time is here on earth. Instead of wasting it, live. Take chances, speak your truth and manifest the life of your design. By doing so, you are honoring yourself and your spouse – creating a legacy that others get to watch. Sitting on the sidelines of life waiting – never did a thing for anyone.

I think we have all seen what Patton Oswalt just went through with the firing squad of people who simply are ignorant. I hope they never have to get it, that they never go through such tragedy. I hope they learn from the masses of widowed however, close to 14 million in the United States alone. I hope we teach them how to live. Many widowed often ask, when is it ok to date, when should I start putting my heart out there again? Many long for touch, connection, conversation. I have always said, when you feel ready to try. You may find out you are not ready at all, you may know that, but if you just need to get out and explore connection – you go ahead and do that, do you!

Be a friend to a widow, continue to be a friend. Invite them and include them, speak the name of their spouse who has passed. Widowhood is not contagious. It is not a plague. I am sorry for those who don’t know what to do, but don’t shut widows out because you are not equipped. Get equipped – try to understand or learn from them or others like us. Don’t ever say, “Get over it, or get on with your life”. Be a positive and uplifting force in their life, just show up, pop in and include them.

I challenge all of you widowed to start sharing your hearts, start sharing these types of videos, articles and platforms, start speaking your truths and educating the ignorant. Ignorance really is bliss. We can be the change to help others who have come before and who will come after us.

 

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Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable and beginning again after loss to find the beauty in the broken spaces of your life | with Tanya Smith of A Widow’s World (TLBP #64)

My podcast episode is LIVE on iTunes, Android!! Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable and beginning again after loss to find the beauty in the broken spaces of your life | with Tanya Smith of A Widow’s World (TLBP #64)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/getting-comfortable-uncomfortable-beginning-again-after/id1088514723?i=1000384504618&mt=2

Friends on today’s episode of The LifeBeats Project I was humbled to be featured as a guest. Please read the podcast show notes provided below from Briana Johnson, Creator of the LifeBeats Project.

I am grateful to be able to introduce you to Tanya Smith of A Widow’s World and Addelise Inc, a remarried widow and mother of 2 with a passion for not only supporting widows in their journey of healing, but also to help other women entrepreneurs reach their full potential and see that you can find beauty in the broken spaces of your life. Tanya shares her story of an unraveling family life in a small midwest town that left her feeling that she would never rely on a man or put trust in a relationship. Seeing her mother work hard for her family and learning that life is hard but is what we decide to make of it, she worked 3 jobs to put herself through college. She met John who drew trust out of her and helped her to believe in real love that could last a lifetime. After one year of marriage and seven years together they were getting ready to break ground on their property to build a home when John was stung by a bee. Tanya shares the heartbreaking events of losing him and the conflicting emotions of helping to transport his harvested heart in a cooler to an airplane bound for New York to help save someone else’s life. She tells of the days and years ahead full of hope, support, but also self-destruction, and not wanting to go on without him. She shares what she began to do to heal and to learn to trust her inner self to step into who she was meant to be. She explains her term for widows as keepers of the flame and helps them and others to understand that the loss and love is never going to leave and they will never get over it but they can embrace their story and they can find love again. She explains how it is possible for her to love her first husband and now love her second husband. She tells of her experience on the 10th anniversary of her first husband’s passing and how she was able to look back at her broken self and see who she has become and how important it is that we acknowledge and take pride in seeing what we’ve overcome. Listen and be inspired to began again and see beauty in our brokenness.

Want to know if this episode it for you? This episode is perfect for someone who has lost someone they love, especially a spouse and is looking for support, hope, and evidence that love is possible again. It is also perfect for anyone who is looking for a new beginning, who is wanting to heal, and is ready to make a choice to make life what they want out of it. It is also perfect for someone wanting to understand the widow’s heart and how it is possible to love more than once.

What is this episode about? In this episode you will learn about:

  • why Tanya left being an executive at a multimillion dollar company to begin her own marketing company to support entrepreneurs build their dreams and why she began A Widow’s World
  • putting yourself out there and being so vulnerable and why hitting publish can be so scary
  • how Tanya learned that no one is going to hand us a thing, we really have to put out what we want to get
  • Tanya’s lesson to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and how every next level of yourself will demand a new you, a better you, and a more learned & attuned you
  • how she grew up in small midwest town with a graduating class of 18
  • how at the age of 13 parents’ marriage unraveled and how she felt like she really grew up quickly and wanted to help her mom any way she could
  • how her mom worked really hard and rooted them in belief system and faith
  • how Tanya pushed through her independence and learned that life is hard but its what we decide to make of it
  • John, her high school sweetheart and how he drew trust out of her because after her dad left thad thought would never rely on a man or put trust in a relationship
  • how John made her believe in real love that could last a lifetime
  • Tanya and John being together for 7 years, including married for one
  • how they were preparing to break ground on their property to build a home when John was stung by a bee that caused him to code even though he was not allergic
  • how Tanya had a panic inside but believed everything would be ok
  • John coding twice but then came back for 3 days in the hospital until there was no brain activity
  • how he helped save 6 other people through organ donation
  • the events of Tanya watching through a chain linked fence as John’s organs were being brought to planes and how she herself carried the cooler with his heart in it
  • a rainbow of peace that appeared between the two planes
  • how John wanted to be a storm chaser and how Tanya had worried about them dying together, but how she then wished they could have
  • Tanya’s concept for A Widow’s World of keepers of the flame
  • how Tanya and many other widows have moments where don’t want to go on living without their loved one
  • Tanya recalls the first time someone calls her a widow
  • how we have the power to take what happened to us and do something good with it
  • how we have to start trusting our inner selves and stepping into who we were always meant to be
  • the first thing that helped Tanya heal was thinking about how would John want me to live me life
  • her self destructive stage and the time when she fell down stairs and the thoughts in her mind that “you can’t live in this place, this is not who you are”
  • the importance of journaling to heal, including writing down funny memories like their waxing eyebrow story
  • knowing in your heart you will never get over it, but you can get through it, if you allow yourself to live fully
  • how widows are scrutinized by everyone on everything in regards to healing or not healing
  • how it was weird to feel a spark when she began to date Dave, how his love and support changed her and gave her new hope she didn’t think she would feel
  • the strange feeling realizing she loved him but would always love John
  • how her second husband has shared how he never feels like she is holding back and how important it is for her to to be able to give him what he deserves
  • her advice to widow’s to share your story in the beginning when dating and whoever is strong enough will remain
  • why she began a Widow’s World and her desire to support and share others’ stories
  • her purpose for her new company Addelise: to help people build their dreams
  • going back to a place 10 years later after her first husband’s death to see who she was then and then seeing who she has become
  • her advice to say to go back to those places, face those fears & hurts or you’re never going to be able to live wholly or fully
  • her advice to find pride in seeing what we’ve overcome and owning what we have done, sharing how it helps others

Show Notes:
A Widow’s World website – her heart is to help empower and inspire other women through loss. She would love to connect with you here
Addelise Inc website – She is offering a free consultation to help you with business development ideas and discuss branding questions you have. If you use her service to do your website, she will provide free social media branding. Reach out to her at tanya@addelise.com and let her know you heard her on today’s show.
Tanya’s A Widow’s World Instagram feed, Facebook Page, Facebook Group, and Google Plus account
Gift of Hope – Organ & Tissue Donor Network

LifeBeats Project socials:
IG: @lifebeatsproject
FB: The LifeBeats Project
Twitter: @lifebeatsproject

Here is the link to the podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/lifebeats-project-briana-johnson/id1088514723?mt=2
Here is the link to the podcast show notes:
http://www.thelifebeatsproject.com/tanya

thelifebeatsproject.com
An iTunes New & Noteworthy podcast and blog for connection, inspiration, and the illumination of your extraordinary.
Listen and be inspired here.

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All We Ever Need Is {LOVE}

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We were young and restless
Pockets full of stars
Chasing down the moonlight
Till the night was ours
All we ever wanted, all we ever needed was love

Think you have the answers
Dreams bigger than the two of us
We took a lot of chances
All the things we did
All we ever wanted, all we ever needed was love

Sometimes those memories
Can be hard to take
We all remember the times
Before you ever felt your heart break
You never are the same

All the hurt and missteps that came
I have no regrets
I know what the truth is
I will not forget
All we ever wanted, all we ever needed was love

I wake this morning ten years late
The night closes in every eve
A dream that just can’t be my fate
I see your smile a sight to take
I feel the warmth it will be alright

The darkest cloud will split and fade
Two hearts added three one day
You follow me I feel you here
The warmth of the sun upon my face
The whisper of the wind in the still
All we ever wanted, all we ever needed was love

I hope your proud of the woman I am
I never believed I would begin again
Thank you for loving and showing the way
How a heart changes when it breaks
All we ever wanted, all we ever needed was love

I woke to my daughters cries in the night
Laying beside her, comforting
I feel the warmth it will be alright
The sun is here to stay
I will never stop finding my way

On this day, I celebrate you
All the things we grew to know
All the life we lived and shared
All the light that came from dark
Broken is a beautiful place

All we ever want
All we ever need is love

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The Classification of a Widow{er}

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I want to share my thoughts on the classification of a widow or widower.

By societies standards, that little status box we have to check each year on many applications or tax return filings is what technically classifies each of our marital statuses. You know them, single, married, divorced, separated, widowed. It categorizes us to doctors, banks, schools, government, census, the IRS, etc.  It however has nothing to do with who we are and what we have gone through. It has no direct meaning or correlation to how people identify with us. It tells no real significant story of our life and experiences.

In 2004, I checked single. In 2005, I checked married. In 2007, I checked widow. Then in 2009, I checked married again.

So, based on my re-marriage in 2009, I was no longer a widow by societies standards. This is fine, and its not fine in the same token. What people don’t understand is that the journey of widowhood will follow those of us affected by it, FOREVER! 

Woman and men in the world that are widowed or become widowers and that decide to remarry, will continue to be affected by widowhood through remarriage and for the rest of their lives. I can tell you this from my own experience. A loss as significant and devastating as losing a partner will carry through into all aspects of life. I know that one day, god willing, when I am older, I will look back on my entire life and remember John and our love story. I know I will remember it with the same love, fondness and tears in my eyes as the day I said goodbye to him. I also know I will look at the life I built for myself, I will look at the struggles I went through, I will give thanks that I took the chance and lived.

Last night for example, me, my second husband and my two daughters through our marriage went to a birthday party for our friends son. These friends were my and my late husbands closest friends and really more than friends because they became family. I saw so many people I hadn’t seen in such a long time and it was warming to my heart, but I also left in tears. Happy tears because I saw them and because my second husband has been so embraced and accepted by them. Sad tears because of all of the memories of me and John with them that will always be there, and also for how much time has gone past and how fast time continues to go by where I don’t see them much. We still speak and try our best to stay connected, however its not as often and its not the same as it was. Despite that, I know we will always be close, always be connected and have love for one another. I know I will always be a part of their family as I hope they also know they will always be a part of mine. Through time and re-building and schedules and ultimately letting things slip and get in the way, it is different. I know I don’t want it to be different though and maybe some of that is my fault. I for a time had such a difficult time with everything that reminded me of John and our life. Life started really happening for all of us. Between marriages, having children, living in different states or cities, careers and just growing into our responsibilities as young adults, we were all learning the juggling act of life.  It gets crazy and navigating the crazy is sometimes very hard and draining. I know my heart is constantly feeling pulled, because I want to be everything to everyone. I also know this is not realistic if I am to remain a sane person. The sane part may even be questionable from time to time. I want to have connected relationships and friendships. It is important to me. I continue to have this, but not at the level I wish for. This struggle is real for many of us. We do our best and sometimes, maybe we fall flat, but we do continue to try. I’m very blessed that every single one of my closest friends and my family understands this same struggle, and we can pick right back up where we left off not holding anything against the other, because we get it. Life gets complicated and busy.

I have faced many challenges as a re-married widow. Some of them people may not understand or get, but they are what I have been through and so I can share them from my own experience and the experiences I continue to have. I have also come to terms that people don’t have to get me, because I get myself.  Don’t classify a widow{er}. If you are of the mind that a widow or widower just gets on with their life and is no longer classified or part of the widowhood journey, after remarriage, your thinking is incorrect and so I hope this helps others understand and take to heart that widowhood continues on in those of us affected indefinitely.

A widow who re-marries will be presented with new and different challenges.

  • The war within ourselves because we remain in love with our spouse that passed, but we also are in love with our new spouse. I remember when I realized I was starting to fall in love again and what a very strange feeling it was to know, I loved two people. I can’t explain how surreal it was and I can tell you the exact moment this realization came to me.
  • The struggle that we go through feeling like so much time is passing, but we are making new memories. The overwhelming feeling that the new ones are replacing our old ones, that we are replacing our late spouse that passed. Even if we know we will never replace or forget them.
  • Speaking of time passing, for as quick as time passes, it is also hard to know how many years have spanned to where we are today. Knowing the last time we spoke to them or saw them was so long ago, can be hard. Time and distance can present new feelings and emotions and so the saying “time heals all wounds,” it’s not really true.
  • Making our relationships with new people that come into our life open, so they know and support that our journey is on-going. We worry about others placing certain expectations on us, when we may not know what to expect from ourselves at times in the grieving process.
  • We may have a hard time communicating when their are times of frustration and possibly anger, linked to an event or a date. Certain periods of grief can elicit this and it is normal. It may even be a subconscious thing. I know certain times in the year when I am feeling funky or just down, I can stop and say oh It’s around my first husband birthday or our wedding day or the anniversary of his passing.  Its also important to be open with your new partner so they can know that the cause of those feelings and your emotions are not directed at them or caused by them.
  • We can hold things in that hurt us. Its important to try to be open with our feelings and share them so the people closest to us can try to understand us more and what we may be going through.
  • People connected to our first spouse and a part of the life we shared, may have a hard time with our moving forward with our lives. They may not be accepting of a new partner.
  • Making sure the new people in our lives don’t feel threatened by our continuing to share the person we lost and still love because they were and are still and important part of who we were and who we continue to be.
  • Making sure we do our very best to not compare our new partner to the one we didn’t choose to say goodbye to. Sometimes we may not even mean to.
  • Communicating what it is we want for ourselves in our new relationships, so its clear and a new partner understands. They need to know we must share our journey, who we were, who our partner we lost was. It’s important so we can feel whole and safe in moving forward.
  • Clearly sharing with a new partner that there will be hard days, tearful and difficult days. Days of remembrance, milestones and even those just because sad days.
  • Remembering that our new partners likely will not know how to empathize or be there for us in those times of remembrance or important dates. We cannot expect them to, so if we want them to show support, then we need to ask them to or share with them these times.
  • Understanding that a widow will always love her husband that passed. Death and time do not change that.
  • Remembering that no one love is the same and seeing the uniqueness and finding thankfulness for both is very important.
  • The blending of families and children. I did not have children with my first husband, but I do have several woman that are my friends whom are widows and do have children. I can not speak to this personally, though they share with me the struggles.
  • For me, I have already started explaining to my children I have from my new marriage that I loved someone and had committed a life to someone before their father, that I still love them and will continue to because they are important to me and who I have become to be as their mom. I will teach my daughters that this is ok and I will share with them my story and how thankful I am for John and how thankful I am for Dave. I will teach them that love comes in many forms and not just the way society shows it, or the way we expect it to be.
  • Making sure the children you had with your spouse that passed, feel open to talking about him and sharing him without fear for hurting the new partners feelings. Giving them a place of comfort and trust to know that their fathers memory will live on. Again, I can not speak to this, I only know from what my widowed friends have shared.

There are so many more, but these were just some I wanted to share.

I have a girlfriend that I met in my travels who lost her significant other. They were not married and so thankfully his family embraced her and recognized her loss. I feel a different status needs to be recognized for the woman and men who are the girlfriends/boyfriends or life partners, of the passed. There are many woman and men, who were also with their partner for years. Maybe they did not get the chance to officially marry their partner, or they had made the decision that they did not need a certificate to acknowledge their commitment. They have no classification. Many of these woman and men are not recognized for their loss in the way that they would have been if they had officially been married. I recognize them, because they loved and knew the love of their partner that they lost. They experienced the same or similar loss as many of us who were married and widowed or became widowers. In today’s age, more and more people are deciding to not get married, so we need to see that girlfriends/boyfriends and life partners who have experienced loss, matter. That they have the same grieving journey ahead, though they are not recognized as widows. I embrace them as the same as me.

It was put on my heart to write this blog because I have seen articles written that discount, discredit and make woman or men who have remarried or who were not married to their partner feel as if they should just move on, renounce the fact that this devastating loss has happened and because we have moved forward, we no longer care or we are magically healed. This is unfair, untrue and ridiculous.

I was 26 when a bee or hornet changed my whole world, something as small and relevant to nature, the nature that we love and do our best to preserve, reminded me that in life there are no guarantees. It was beyond my control or understanding. Although, John and I were only married a little over a year, we had shared seven life packed years together. I feel like there were people that saw we were only married a year so they started forming their own opinions, like somehow that one year was not long enough and I would be fine. It was seven years, we spent building a relationship and a foundation of love. Whether its months or years, or decades, I hope this provides insight and new thinking if you are the family member or friend of a widow{er} or unwed widow{er}. No person should ever discount others relationships or discredit love.

I am and will always be a widow, because I am John’s widow.  Widowhood is something I know and also don’t care to know, but it has defined me and the person I am today and the person I will continue to grow into. I share my journey as a widow openly because it is who I am. It is a part of me and my life with John and no check box or person will tell me differently. I share it because I have also made sure my new husband understands my journey and he has always been open and continues to support me through it. I will be a widow and know widowhood until I die, EVEN with remarriage. I will be wise beyond my years, because of what I have been through and continue to go through. To this day, I remain John’s wife; I am his widow, he is my late husband.

The way widows are viewed and socially embraced is changing. I am thankful for this, especially in a very uncertain time in our history where we see so publicly the amount of lives that are lost unnecessarily. The amount of woman and men, who are now a part of this journey, it breaks my heart. I pray for all of the new widow{ers} as a result of the recent terrible shootings and killings throughout the United States and Internationally.

When I became a widow, there was not much in the way of support or avenues for widow connection. Social media has now changed that. The widowhood connection is much stronger and growing. It is growing for widowers and girlfriends/boyfriends as well. It’s amazing to me all of the empowered woman and men I have started to meet through social media, that are sharing their journey and have been sharing it. The bravery and courage behind that is amazing to me. The vulnerability and bravery of it!

When we stop hiding, we can truly be who we are.

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Dream up what is next – people don’t have to get you

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Dream up what is next. I learned a long time ago that people don’t have to understand me, because I understand myself. So, I want to share this with all of you.

Knowing and adopting this, has helped me through some interesting times. This mantra I have held onto has applied to virtually every area of my life. Love, widowhood, rebuilding, loving again, becoming a mom, career, and overall outlook! I say it out loud at times as a reminder. You don’t have to get me, because I get myself. I have found understanding and adopting this, has allowed me to remain open to dreaming up my what is next.

So many times we hear the chirping of others opinions and others wants for us. People often need to have an explanation in detail of plans, of how we feel, and what we think is ahead. I will ask you this, is having everything figured out really necessary? Do we really believe that people who have spearheaded to what’s next, did so by having everything planned out? I personally have learned, planning for things is a gamble and what you think and plan for may never happen.

Having every detail of my life planned and organized at this point of who I am, is just not an option for me. I think it makes me crazy to even think about planning it all out. I SIMPLY DON’T WANT TO! The chirping, that lets face it, can and will happen. What you hear from others can start to fester and disrupt the excitement that was building, growing, for the what is next. We MUST ignore chirping. We can acknowledge it to a certain degree, but just acknowledge. We can say, you do not need to understand, but if you know me, trust me. Trust in me to know that the next step I take is a part of my WHAT IS NEXT. My next may lead to something not expected, but that not expected may set me on the right path. Never be afraid to dream up what is next.

I have let chirpings happen. If we are honest with ourselves, we all have. We may not listen to the chirping, but it likely has caused hurt or made us stop and questions ourselves. This can cause the super high to spiral to a super low. What I have come to find in my life is that no matter what others say or feel for me, the most important thing I remind myself is, I BELIEVE IN MYSELF. I BELIEVE IN ME AND WHAT I AM CAPABLE OF.

People don’t have to understand or get me, because I get myself. Period!  I have started over unwillingly and unexpectedly in my life and pushed myself. There have been wrong roads I have taken. Those wrong roads have lead me to the right roads. I have never stopped opening my mind and being optimistic of my what’s next. My hope is the same for all of my followers. Challenge yourselves to never be afraid to think up your what is next. There are people in this world that are comfortable and the known is the safe for them. I pray those people don’t cause you to stop believing in you and what you can have for your what is next.

I see so many in this world going through seasons of transition, transcendence and transformation. I believe we are all here to expand and grow beyond our own comforts. So I pray you never get too comfortable to where you stop allowing yourself to grow into your true self! Have a beautiful day and dream up your what’s next!

Please follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @awidowsworld.

 

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Keep Believing Even When Your Prayers Hit The Ceiling

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My Faith Had Lost All Meaning

Keep believing even in the moments you feel you don’t have an ounce of belief in you. I remember when I felt my prayers had hit the ceiling. The night my husband was taken to the hospital, I fell to my knees at his bedside in the emergency room. I prayed with conviction and authority in my heart, that god would heal him. Although, he came back to us, he was not going to get better. My prayers were not answered and that was something that I could not understand. I had become something I never imagined or thought up for myself, I became a widow. During that time, I lived in a fog and complete haze. Loss and the aftermath it presents is something that you can not explain or help people to understand. Unless a person has experienced loss for themselves, it is hard for others to comprehend. I saw the unanswered prayers as god failing me, life failing me. Because of that, I lost confidence in my faith and I stopped praying and believing.

You Kept Me Believing

I’m thankful that God and my family kept me believing.  I came back to my faith and as I did, he started revealing to me the plans he had ahead. I’m blessed that I can stop and look back at my life, even the struggles, and see the joy that has been restored. Through my journey of loss, I have become to know myself. I am confident in who I am, although I am still growing into the person I hope to be. I am blessed to have leaned into life and to have designed the life I want for myself. My design continues to change, but I think that is completely normal for people who open themselves up to growing.  I sometimes fear for what pain may be ahead, but I think that will always be present, because loss changes perception of life. Challenge yourselves to look to today and have a grateful heart for moments and breaths.

There is a song that goes with this. Music has been such a big part of my journey.

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