Thanksgiving 2015, the first Thanksgiving I experienced without my husband, Garren. The anticipation I suffered through leading up to the holiday brought my first ” grief attack”. I drove to Branson, Missouri with our son, Garren II. The drive ,itself through the Ozark Mountains was nerve wrecking.I was apprehensive, yet I was in  fight or flight mode.So, I took flight.I ran….

As I drove, I replayed in my mind what had happened. I shared stories with my son, Garren II about his Dad and I. We prayed. I had no clue what to do or not to do.I remembered stopping at a gas station and a stranger asked me ‘ where I was headed’? I replied, Branson and he said,’ be careful pretty girl’.Pretty girl, two words I had heard all my life,but that day those words shined light into my dark tunnel.

We arrived to the hotel resort. I had an itinerary for our 3- day vacation.However, the thunderstorms and 100 percent,cold rain cancelled most of them. So, while laying in bed,watching my 5 year-old sleep and often cry out for his Dad . I realized Thanksgiving Day was officially over and I had survived it,  but with no sleep.My mind would not turn off and again, echoing  was those two words” pretty girl”. I said, “God,I need for you to show up now and I need for you to tell me what to do”. “I am mad as hell and I hurt inside out. My baby is hurting,too. You let him watch his Dad die! Then he was home alone for hours after he died.You have destroyed my family!”I know they say, you don’t make any mistakes, but  God… took my only friend,my soul mate,and my son’s Dad.

I am unsure if I nodded off in my tears, but I awoke with a racing heart. I grabbed the notepad and pen beside the bed. I wrote: Widows Without Colors & Women Who Have Loss# SustainingLifeThroughGrief, a grief support group  for women, who have loss through death of a loved one. Next, I went to FaceBook and created a group and in the description,I introduced and characterized myself as a’Pretty Girl with a Purpose’.

November 27, 2015, I created a  closed support grief with over 50 members.Today, I have over 280 members. I offer support by sharing my daily activities,inspirational quotes,unscripted conversations about loss and sustaining life. I recently added mental health and diabetes, which often brings distress, grief, and lifestyle changes. Diabetes is also the chronic disease my husband died of unexpectedly and unknowingly.Greatly, this pretty girl now knows that my purpose is to counsel, educate, and encourage others who have loss and who want to know how to sustain life through grief.

Determined,I sought out in 2018 to become a diabetes educator and a certified lifestyle coach for the Diabetes Prevention Program. As a diabetes advocate, I have had the opportunity to attend the 2019 Call to Congress on Capital Hill ,where I represented my state of Tennessee in the fight to find a cure for diabetes,promoting early prevention, and talking to my very own Congressional leaders( Steve Cohen, Marsha Blackburn,and Mike Greene), while honoring the memory of my husband, Garren. I found what I suppose to do, what I needed to do….I found my purpose and a very rewarding one,too!

Yep, Monday is coming , it is right there…………..and I am the pretty girl with a purpose and anticipation!