Just beyond 6 years ago over 300 people gathered at Starks Funeral home and celebrated the life of a man that can not be described. I could describe that day or the day after, the funeral, but that would be heart wrenching and I can’t do it. 6 years seems like a lifetime ago although I can still feel the sting of those days.  What is life like 6 years later and completely unrecognizable? I have spent hour upon hour upon hour trying to dissect, describe, understand, define and explain grief. All I can say now, six years later is that grief just is. It is a way of life. It is a core part of who I am. So much now that I don’t even recognize it.  My old life is fading more and more each day. This doesn’t mean I am forgetting it but just that my new life is becoming my life. I would be safe to say that it doesn’t feel all that new anymore. I will forever and always be Benji’s widow but it no longer defines who I am. After six years I find myself in a stage of grief that no one talks about.  I sometimes find myself not recognizing my old self but then feeling like I am living someone else’s life today. Its a complex place to live and perhaps one day it will all make sense. 

This day is the one that changed me forever from the deep core of my soul. 





Thankfully this is no longer.  I am unbelievably happy with where God has placed me, something I wish I could tell this young girl in the picture. I have a man by my side who loves me as Benji loved me. In a letter that I wrote Benji before he died I promised him that I would one day remarry and choose someone prayerfully and carefully, only choosing someone who loved the boys and I as much as he did. I explained that I didn’t think it was possible. Although David loves us with a different kind of love. It is love. Pure love. Possible. 


My heart has grown. I love two men. Just as I love 4 children. The heart is an extraordinary thing with the ability to morph , change, grow, adapt and surprise. I am thankful for a heart with unlimited capacity!


However, with this joy unfortunately comes guilt. Even now as I am very settled into this life and these lonely days are long past me… I feel waves of guilt for being happy. Sometimes I have a hard time grabbing onto happiness because I either feel guilty or I am afraid of losing it all over again. I know loss is possible. I have to work on being ok with that. I have to be ok that grief can still effect me emotionally and physically. I can’t be afraid of something happening to me and leaving my boys without a mother. I can’t be afraid of becoming a widow again.  I often feel like I have already lived my entire life and am looking back on it. Losing a spouse makes your own mortality very real. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the naivety. Go back to the innocence. But it’s lost and lost forever….however……


 The level of contentedness I am living in is like nothing I have ever felt. I live in the moment now more than I ever have. I don’t live for the future like I did before my life turned to dust. I appreciate. I acknowledge. I understand. I am thankful every day. I am thankful for a messy house because I know it only exists because it is filled with the activity and laughter of 4 amazing children. I don’t let things get to me like they used  to. Grief has changed me. It has changed me for the better. So it is ok to say that I am thankful for grief? 


I recently read a widow blog and she put it this way. 


“One thing I also learned is that those who are card carrying members of our crappy club are some of the best people in this entire world. These people have lived through pain and anguish and so many have come out the other side more beautiful than ever before.

Grief teaches perspective, patience; love like never before, kindness, tolerance, acceptance, appreciation for the present moment, and so much more. Grief is perhaps the greatest teacher known to man but it comes at a very steep price. I always say that I would not wish my pain on my worst enemy but I’d wish my perspective on the world.”



So yes, I am thankful for grief. It has changed be for the better. However, grief can still rock my world. I sometimes feel like I have a grasp on life but then I lose it all over again. But one thing for certain is that even though I have an old life and a new life, I am still the same girl. I am a blessed girl who has had the ability to love two amazing men. This girl is morphing and still changing and I am excited to see who she becomes. But in the meantime I will live as Heidi……

Benji’s widow


David’s Wife






Heidi was born and raised in Salt Lake City, UT. She married her high school sweetheart, Benji, at age 20, in 2000. They lived in a beautiful little house and had two cute boys, Jonah and Isaac. They are now 13 and 11. Benji had always suffered with Crohn's disease but it took a turn for the worst in January 2013, when he got diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer of the colon and liver. They spent the next 7 months enduring chemotherapy and even spent some time in Houston with a renowned cancer research doctor. Unfortunately, Benji was taken to heaven at the precious age of 33 on September 7th, 2013. This tragic loss left Heidi in turmoil as she was now a single mother raising two small children, 6 and 7 at the time. The one thing that she clung to that gave her hope was her faith in God. She had experienced His peace during the difficult experience of benji's sickness and she knew God would also be with her through her new step in widowhood. She blogged her entire experience with many followers and was able to share the love of God through her tragic circumstance. In Feb 2014, she met David. They knew almost immediately that they wanted to be together. In January 2015, David and Heidi were married. David is a strong man of faith, and exactly who Benji would have wanted Heidi to marry and to raise his boys. In June 2016, they decided to take a leap of faith and move to Gig Harbor, WA where David's young son, Harlo, lived with his mom. This was again an experience that proved God's faithfulness as she was concerned for the sake of her young boys leaving everything they had ever known after already losing their daddy. However, they now love living in the PNW, the boys are thriving and they have a beautiful baby girl Emmy who is 2 1/2. Life is busy with 4 children but they couldn't be happier. Heidi is working hard to pursue her long desired degree in Creative Writing, she is involved in MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) and spends lots of time volunteering in her church. Heidi has a passion for writing and telling her story in hopes of offering some encouragement for other young widows. She understands the life altering title and longs to love and support any new widows that she comes across.