Valentine’s Day is in the review mirror.

For some, this may have been your first V-Day without your person and you are simply celebrating that you made it through without torching the pink and red section in your nearby CVS. For others, you are ready or dabbling in the possibility of meeting someone or starting a new relationship.

Dear One, wherever you are on this spectrum, I urge you to be honest with yourself.


Honest about being in a relationship because you just don’t want to be alone. Honest about making concessions for behaviors you would not want to watch your closest friend make for herself. Honest in admitting that your deceased beloved would be hurt to know you chose less than the best for you.

I ended up in a second marriage pretty quickly after my first husband died, at least it was quick for me. I had pulled myself together on the outside (wearing matching earrings and socks, completing all of the make-up on my face, showering every day) but was still a gooey, very hot mess on the inside (couldn’t return to my full-time job, felt guilty after laughing and cried almost every other day at the same time over what, I can no longer recall).

It was difficult to admit it at the time, but I was not healthy (notice I did not say “healed”). My mind, body, spirit, and soul were weary and uncertain. I was jumpy, not sleeping well, not eating well and had no clear vision about why I was continuing to put one foot in front of the other each day. I did not really know which way was up and my greatest achievements at that time were keeping my house clean, bills paid on time, most of the time and ensuring that our child was alive, fed and properly dressed for the unpredictable weather.

My expectations for myself were so low, that had I been honest, it would have been clear that I would only be attracting someone who would not be at their best and certainly not their best for me.

And that’s what I did.

In my desire to smother the pain with activity, distraction, and new love, I launched myself into a new relationship, and eventually marriage, with a man who was also not healthy…for eight years.

I lost the respect of my son (he told me so at 11 years old) and I could not for the life of me, no matter how well I cared for the four children, attempted to make my marriage into what it would never be and hustled at my demanding job, I could not find me. I could not see it. I could not hear me. I could not speak or advocate for me. I was disappearing into what I had created on my own strength – which was quite feeble – all because I was not honest with myself.

It took a long time and a lot of being intentional, but eventually, I began to prioritize time away to interview myself, to look into my own heart and really sit with what I discovered. It was often messy and painful, I’d put up so many walls (often to protect myself, but it turned into isolation and eventually depression).


My newfound honesty muscle was liberating and powerful. I was turning up the volume on my voice again and I could hear myself being real and honest about so many things I’d silenced, twisted and lied to myself about so many times before. It helped me to begin reading my Bible every day, I especially spent a lot of time reading the book of Job. I started to try new things – cooking new recipes, trying new restaurants, watching different kinds of movies, saying hello to strangers, renewing my library card and checking out piles of books I would normally never select.

Along the way, I became more honest in telling myself what I liked, what I preferred and developing a firm response as to why (or why not). And my honesty muscle is stronger because of it. Not to mention how much more grateful I’ve become.

me on the back of an ATV that my young teenage son was driving; I love him, but I honestly never want to do this again (circa 2014)

Start small.

Take breaks. Cut your inner circle by half. Start a journal. Set goals. Evaluate your habits. Develop new habits. Do something fun. Take a sick day when you’re not physically ill. Get a deep tissue massage. Eat that favorite dish that other people don’t like, but you really enjoy. As you experience these things, spot check your heart.  You may be doing things because you’ve always done it that way, are fearful of trying something new or just don’t recall what you really like anymore since your world got turned upside down.

Be honest with yourself dear one because you are worthy of honest love, care, and concern, all year ’round.


Regina has been widowed for 14 years after her husband of almost 10 years passed away from injuries sustained while serving in Iraq. Though they’d had a military wedding back in 1997, she was naive that his reservist duty would ever turn into anything more than training monthly and two weeks each summer. When Chad + Regina met, he had already been serving in the Marine Corps for more than seven years; it was a huge part of his life – she never thought to ask or suggest he leave this service.

In October of 2004, his battalion deployed to Iraq. In early November, she received a call that he’d been severely injured. He had been driving the humvee that was destroyed by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and he was in a “mash unit” still in Iraq with little hope of remaining alive while being flown stateside for better treatment. By the grace of God, he was successfully back in Maryland three weeks later where nine long months of attempted rehabilitation began.

Though Regina and their 5yo son were not ever able to hold a conversation with him (they spoke, he never did), they were relieved that they were able to see him again on American soil to physically say goodbye. He passed away in August of 2005 and the real grief began. There were things in their marriage that were not picture perfect or made public because he had been portrayed as a local hero. It was only after the media attention went away and others went back to their everyday lives that she felt free to began to wrestle with some of the truths of their imperfect marriage; things that she never got to resolve with her then injured, now deceased husband.

Regina has often felt unusual in her grief since there are so few military widows (compared to other deaths) though she’s come to recognize the grief is overwhelming and quite similar no matter the cause of the loss. She has recently remarried for the third time after learning that marrying in your grief can be devastating to the process of healing if you’re not truly whole – the second marriage ended in divorce. She is now the happiest and most at peace in a marriage than she’s been in decades. She and her husband currently live in Texas and are coaching three young adult children through their next steps while traveling, eating good food and visiting as many vineyards as time will allow.

She currently works to help folks break away from stress, stuck + overwhelm. She taps into her career experience as an educator (classroom teacher, building administrator and professional development trainer/coach) in her current part-time role as an executive and personal assistant to a local optometrist and his family as well as in her mini-lessons and coaching on soul care. Regina believes that everyone has a story and the best way she can serve others is to step boldly into their soul pain and help them grab hold of hope. She is candid, real and direct but is not uncomfortable in people’s grief and all that can come from walking through it. She hopes to speak publicly someday, but for now, is focused on tending to the deep matters in her soul and and helping others do the same.
You can find her on her blog "Simply Sather" - - and on Instagram and Facebook as @reginasather.