It didn’t hurt until it hurt. Like hot lava running in my veins. I balled up my fists and put a smile on. I knew it was coming. Eventually all feelings come full circle. This decision had been mine. Made strictly for me. Yet I found myself stalking Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat longing to still be the girl I would have had to be to actually be there. I was growing a resentment solely on myself for changing, for not changing enough, for actually honoring my mind and not pushing myself. Here I am though. Miles away by choice and still hurting. I thought when I bowed out of going to Arizona I was saving us all just a grab bag of bullshit. I still do not trust myself let alone emotional Jess. This would have been emotional no matter how I sliced it.

Honestly at one point you were one of the closest things to a sister I had ever had. You, handsey, and Em. We were inseparable but that was at least twelve versions of myself ago. I still remember stepping out of the shuttle on that hot July night to see you smiling with Em right behind. I thought for sure you would end up being a cannibal cheerleader 🤣 Thank you for being my roommate for three of my most formative months. You saw my boobs more than Dave in the end. Thank you for the years of friendship I didn’t realize would come. Thank you for the months and months dealing with Dave and I argue. In the time before we knew how to communicate. Thank you for the late nights staying up way too long on a Tuesday night expressing philosophies and enlightenment. For never making me feel stupid or shutting me down. Thank you for the amazing late night drives or trips to Phoenix. It seemed like no matter what we always found a way to come together for each other. Thank you for getting home at 9pm and immediately going to Aj. Walking in circles around that tiny apartment, singing with that beautiful voice for like a hour straight 😳 Thank you for that time period where you disappeared, I disappeared too. I grew so much from that experience. Thank you for agreeing to sit down six months later. I was so nervous to actually say I was wrong but you know what Chaiffs? I was wrong. Dead fucking wrong. Thank you for the times you showed up when I was dangerous and belligerent. I’m sorry anyone had to see that side of me but that was me, my reality that I hid daily. Thank you for always listening even when I rambled. Thank you for teaching me to be girly with a boyish twist. I never dreamed I would love heels as much as I do. Thank you. Seriously. For everything.

My heart hurts knowing I am no longer that young girl searching. I know exactly how lost I am and honestly I’m freer than I’ve ever been. I grew up overnight and grew away from you and everyone else. I’m sorry. Know that no matter what you have left your handprint on my heart ❤️ love you bitches. You hold my most cherished memories of who I was.

About 

On October 11th 2016 at 2 am I became a widow. I was 28. Married for one year but together for almost four, we had two amazing children (5 months & 2 at the time). We had built a life together in the time we had, overcoming numerous obstacles and walking away victorious as long as we stuck together. When he died so did the Jess that was his. In November of 2016 I began writing. This is something I had NEVER done or thought of before. For me the exploration of language is incredibly therapeutic. Writing strictly stream of thought, I have found a citadel in the storm expressing my truth and sharing with fellow widows/widowers who understand the waves completely. I have become stronger, braver, and realer than I ever knew I wasn’t.

Continuing on this path I am forever optimistic even as I sob in bed at night. I just know there is a reason. I have to believe there is or this pain would be far too much. I am an open book at this point and grateful for the courage to continue. I want to bring light to the stigma of widowhood and the ignorance of the true daily struggle. I feel blessed to be able to share my story with you and hope that together we can find a deepening rejuvenation in the dark.

You can follow more of Jessica’s journey at www.theoptimisticwidow.com