Cam was the one who taught me how to peel oranges. I remember spending an entire weekend at his Dad’s doing nothing but having orange peel offs. Our hands smelled of citrus for weeks. Honestly he always had a slight citricness about him. Our first Christmas together he had hidden one in my stocking. All the way at the very bottom. I remember looking at him and thinking “this asshole thinks I’m fat!” Lol 😂 how little I knew back then.

I still carry on that tradition with my kids as he is ingrained into the essence of who I am. I’ve always felt him most with Aj. I don’t know why though. Maybe their souls passed in that realm between creation and completion. Or my own mind constructing what it can to make sense of this senseless life.

In my darkest times I am embarrassed to say you could find me lying on a cold floor eating an orange and crying. I know. I know! I have already said numerous times how crazy I truly am. These just ended up being things that comfort without harming. Hopefully without harming.

Grief never stops

Does not sleep

Does not eat

It cares not for holidays

Or family

It waits like addiction

Until you’re weak enough

Jumping on your back like an excited toddler

Barking demands

Freely abusing at will

Tormenting me until I am broken

The cracks created spears poking splinters throughout my skin.

As the water rose it intertwined itself in to the very pattern of my cells.

Until finally came the freeze.

Busting holes like an uncared for highway in the fields.

Leave me.

Don’t grab glue or assemble it to fit back where it once was.

It will not.

I am not made of those pieces scattered about the floor.

Slowly but surely grief has built me into its own image.

So who am I anymore?

Many days maneuvering through the two completely separate lives is enough to lose ones mind.

Honesty will set you free.

Fuck grief.

Fuck you.

Fuck me.

Fuck death.

Loving me in any capacity only brings the grim reaper to your front door.

Facts are facts.

Death is inevitable.

This time last year I was losing myself completely. In silence. It was a death sentence I put in place unknowingly. I didn’t know there was any other way. Kinda like with the 12 steps, I didn’t know there was growth to be had. Saying day after day this is it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

I pay no mind the vultures cawing up above. They have been circling for years and will continue to until my time is done.

But I am far from done.

Feel the floor.

Taste the oranges.

Trust your intuition.

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