August 13th, 2019 will mark twelve years since my husband, Ali, passed away. It’s still hard to believe it’s been more than a decade since he left this planet. I still remember details of the day he closed his eyes.

The coldness of his hands, the long pauses between each breath, the ‘rattle’.

Even the kind and gentle nurse who came on shift fifteen minutes before he passed.

At 7:38am, my kind, loving, generous husband took his final breath after the morning nurse and I changed his clothes one last time.

His funeral was a blur; the reality of him never coming home again didn’t fully hit me until a year later.

I drank, smoked, and shopped my grief away (or so I thought).

And yet, in the depths of my despair, I made sure I carried my widow card everywhere I went.

Everyone had to address me as MRS. Ali.

I checked widow on EVERY application or paperwork put in front of me.

But a few years ago, something changed.

I no longer checked ‘widow’. I was now ‘single’ and I didn’t cringe while I checked the box.

I answer comfortably now to MS. Ali.

And my daughter shared her thoughts on social media regarding her father’s death that gave me pause for reflection.

She wrote, ‘Grief has been a long, sad, lonely road, but I feel peace knowing that no circumstance can un-make him my father.’

No circumstance can un-make him my father.

So as I was contemplating writing this, I thought about her statement and how much of an impact it made on me.

For that reason, I’m putting away my widow card.

And I’m not in no way suggesting what any other widow should do.

I’m only sharing my story as a way to acknowledge my journey.

I will ALWAYS love my husband.

I will ALWAYS cherish our memories.

I will ALWAYS remember and honor who he IS.

I will ALWAYS talk about him and tell my children and grandchildren stories of their father and grandfather.

I will ALWAYS say his name.

No circumstances can un-make him my husband.

No circumstances can un-make his impact on his family and community.

I’m putting away my widow card so that I can move forward in life.











Khadija Ali is a coach, motivational speaker and author. Her passion for helping women evolve and transform their lives stems from triumphing over tragedy in her own life. In 2007, she found herself a single mom to five children after losing her husband to colon cancer. Overnight, she had to figure out how to settle her husband's estate and find housing for her and her five children. It was a wake up call for this newly widowed woman! In 2012, Khadija asked ten other young widows to write a book about their experiences. Only two widows, Maureen Bobo and Chasity Williams, continued on with the book, "The Unwelcome Committee". The book is not only significant to losing a spouse, but to comprehend and grasp the outlook of grief overall. When Khadija is not coaching, speaking, or writing, she can be found painting, dreaming, and loving again.