About a year after my husband passed, I was still going to his gravesite 2-3 times a week just to be with him. With a book and blanket in hand, I’d take a moment before sitting down to stand graveside, and once again, try wrapping my head around the words engraved into the slab of marble that were before me. Every time I read it, I shook my head in disapproval of the reality of the situation, rolled out my blanket, and sat defeated with my back up against his headstone.

As I looked in front of me, I was faced with the backside of my sweet friend’s headstone who died when she was 14. Never in my darkest dreams would I have thought that the vacant plot that sat behind her, year after year as I visited her, would be my future husband’s burial plot.

She was taken suddenly in an accident with no warning, having lived a shortened life, the same as my husband. As I sat with them, I’d often ponder about the hopes and dreams they must have had and how they never had the chance to realize those dreams.

I had dreams, one in particular that I was working towards when my husband died, but I gave up on it quickly following his funeral. I told myself that dreams weren’t made for widows.

The only part I was supposed to play in the world now, was that of being the sad young widow, who walked around forlorn with a thin black veil over her face. Or at least that’s what I had been taught through movies I’d seen and stories I’d read.

I played that part for many years (minus the veil).

But as I read the loving tributes left on my friend’s grave and my husband’s, I’d remind myself over and over that my life really wasn’t finished. I was sitting graveside, breathing the air above the earth, feeling the sun’s rays on my face and running my fingers through the blades of the warm summer grass.

I was meant to do something with my life. There was a role I still had to play in the world. I was meant to have dreams – and to dream big. Period.

Fully believing in myself didn’t happen overnight. But years later, I’m finding myself finally on the cusp of attaining my big dream of being a health practitioner. In just a few months I’ll be putting in applications for women’s health nurse practitioner programs all over the country. Am I scared? You betcha. Do I want to quit? Oh gosh, yes. But when I look at my late husband’s grave, my dear friend’s grave, and I look out over the blue-orange sunsets on the lake as I sit graveside, I’m reminded of the life I have left to live – and to try and live it well.

Life dealt me the biggest card it had to play, so I’m dealing my biggest card back. I’m dreaming. Dreaming Big.

Don’t believe that the best of your life is behind you. Take all the time you need, but allow your heart and mind to make space for dreaming. You deserve to dream and then to make that dream a reality. DREAM BIG. PERIOD.

What are your dreams? What are you working towards?  


My widow journey began in 2011 when I was 27. My late husband passed away from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. My re-entry into life has been difficult, but my relationship with God, being diagnosed with PTSD and my passion for music, dance and science have greatly helped me get back on my feet. I am currently preparing for graduate school and volunteer as an endometriosis educator for the Endometriosis Foundation of America.

I have so much that I look forward to sharing with you and I hope that you may find something in my writing that will bring hope to your own journey, help you through the tough days, and show you that happiness can be found in the midst of grief.

You can follow me on Instagram at @kellcann