I am not a writer. I am someone who took a technical writing class in college and spent years writing staff reports and analysis. I was shocked to be invited to be an author on Hope for Widows.

I am, however, an observer. I carefully watch what happens around me, looking for applicability to my life. I want to understand others and their journeys. I glean traits and try to implement them. I make analogies to help me remember life’s lessons. And boy, have I had some lessons in the past couple of years.

Shortly after my husband and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary, he broke his leg. After surgery, he was recovering great! The physical therapist said he had never seen anyone heal so quickly. As the leg recovered, my husband began to feel sick all the time, nausea, no appetite, sensitivity to smells, etc. I told friends it was like he had morning sickness or something. We set out to discover what was wrong.

Between the time of making an appointment with a gastroenterologist and the appointment date (which was the day after he died-they called to remind me of the appointment-I told the caller my husband was going to be removed from life support the day before the appointment so I had better cancel it) my husband had two massive strokes, one on each side of the brain. Why would a healthy 53 year old man have strokes? The strokes left him unable to protect his airway or swallow so he needed breathing and feeding tubes. During this time, he was unresponsive, sometimes looking my way, but the lights were out. There was no opportunity for verbal communication, but our spirits spoke to each other. During this time, I started www.funhasarrived.com as a way to update others on his condition and to express the feelings I was having-in real time.

After a week, it was discovered he had Stage 4 kidney cancer that had spread to his liver, spleen, spine and lung. We had no idea. The cancer caused his blood to unusually clot and caused the strokes. He was going to die of cancer and would most likely remain in a non-responsive state with breathing and feeding tubes until he did.

My family and I made a decision and agreed to what I feel was the greatest act of service I could do for my beloved companion and best friend-let him go. He died in late October 2012, ten days after his strokes. He always told me I would be okay if something happened to him, but I did not expect I would actually have to test his words.

You know what? I am okay! I have a twenty-something married child and a teenager and we are very close. I have an amazing support network of dear friends who stand ready to help me if I but ask. I live in a wonderful community where I work with the poor. This is not what my formal education included, but I found it prepared me to follow my passion. I love it. My faith and belief that families can be together eternally keep me going every day. Life is good.

I love life, even with its great challenges. I love the outdoors, Airstreams, down comforters, bicycles, good food, and naps. I am amazed at the mental, emotional and spiritual growth I have had through this widow experience. I just wish I could have all the growth without the trial! It is a privilege for me to be involved with Hope for Widows. May God bless you as you continue on your journey.