There are a lot of feels that come rushing to the surface when you realize you are growing older without your spouse. 22. A year that Dakota will never get to know me.

He won’t get to see who I become. What I accomplish this year. What I fail at. What I decide is no longer right for me. That’s soul-crushing.

It’s become a tradition of ours to cook breakfast in bed for the other person on their birthday. As I laid in bed this morning I had to understand that Dakota wasn’t bringing that breakfast burrito down the hall. That this was my new normal, and I needed to embrace it.

It’s so weird trying to celebrate a birthday, or any special event for that matter, when you’re favorite person isn’t here to celebrate with you. How am I to celebrate in the loneliness and heartbreak of you not being here.

When Dakota passed it was my first step into adult hood by myself. I never had to face a problem as an adult without him by my side. He was always there for me. He was me, he was half of who I was. The good half.

So when you take half of that out of the equation you have a lot of unbalance. A ton of figuring out to do. Which I’ve recently learned is accompanied by countless mistakes and missteps that are an unfortunate side effect of this new life you live.

His birthday came and went and now it’s mine. Just another event that he doesn’t get to be here for. I don’t have words to explain how that makes me feel. Just that I miss him and he should be here.

We should be giggling as we get ready to head to my parents house for birthday dinner. Or dancing to the music in your truck on the way to town to meet them at one of our favorite spots. We should be doing those things. But I’m not doing any of that.

Rather I’m curling up on the couch with friends. Watching a movie or a show wishing you were there to lay with me in our bed just one more time. I’m never going to be able to feel that again, and I’m never going to be okay with that.

So here I sit, another year older, trying to make sense of my new reality that seems like a forgien life to me. I’m still trying to make sense of what’s happened, and that I’ll never see you in this lifetime again. I can’t and won’t resonate with that.

Wishing that our memories could bring me comfort instead of more grief. To go back and truly be able to appreciate how incredible our life was. Instead, I’m dealing with the inevitable gut punch that you’re not going to be here to celebrate any more occasions with me.


Kelsey was raised in a small town just south of the Oregon border in California on a beautiful ranch. This ranch was also where she met the man of her dreams. A New Mexico cowboy who just so happened to be a veterinarian. While attending college to become a veterinary technologist she helped her then fiancé build their veterinary practice. Her and her husband cared for many animals both big and small, along with all of the animals on their ranch. They were married at a beautiful September wedding surrounded by friends and family. However, four months after their wedding a horrible accident took Dakota’s life. Joining the 1% of widows under the age of 35 a group no one ever wants to become a part of opened up a jar of passion she didn’t know she had for writing. She was encouraged by a friend after the accident. She was told she was strong and if anyone can get through this it’s her and maybe one day she will be able to help others going through what she’s feeling right now. So that’s what she set out to do.