I am not the same person I use to be. Everyone said it would happen. It’s true, I am different. How could it be any other way? Everything in my world changed so of course it makes sense that everything about me would be different.

Chad and I were living our best life before cancer shattered everything. We were madly in love, raising three amazing kids, having fun adventures together, and enjoying the big and small moments we had together.  The favourite part of each of our day was seeing each other after our work days. We had a regular routine of dancing around the kitchen after supper, singing duets, and then cuddling up for movies after we put the kids to bed.  Each week, I thanked God for Chad and the life we built.

I  flourished in that old life. I was always positive, enthusiastic and adventurous. I laughed easily and felt like I could handle anything as long as I had Chad. Life was busy with three kids in sports but Chad, my best friend, was there chauffeuring our kids around with me.  I loved living, doting on my kids, giving back to my community and being lavishly loved by my husband.  Chad thanked God for me and I was so happy being his wife.

The New Me


These past two years I feel myself be different. I tend to be more negative and grumpy. My “sadness” leaks out of me without me meaning to and I go through seasons where my world is coloured grey. Although, I have many happy times with my kids and loved friends, they are often enveloped in heaviness. I understand when people say, “Grief is like living two lives. One is where you pretend that everything is alright, and the other is where your heart silently screams in pain.” I have changed and I miss the old me.

The new me, however, should not be discredited. It is this different person who has been sculpted into someone stronger, more determined and more courageous. This new person is also more sensitive to God, better at understanding brokenness, and takes nothing for granted. I am intentional with my healing and am beginning to see how diamonds are refined by pressure.  I am building resiliency in my kids as they see me live my grief each day.  Making choices to do the right thing and find joy again even if I don’t feel like it.  They see me lean into my grief and God yet it doesn’t consume me.  It teaches them they can do this too.

Although I am different, I have such hope.  My seasons of grey do not last as long as they use to.  I feel a deeper joy and thankfulness which allows me to have a different and good sense of myself.  I am accepting my new life and no longer chasing the ghosts of my past like I use to.  I am present in each moment and acutely aware that the future is not guaranteed.  The new me is different, but the change is not all bad.


Tanya Christians met her soul mate during her final year of university in Spring 1999. Although she was only 21 at the time it didn’t take long to know that this guy was the one. Chad Christians was charismatic, adventurous, confident, gorgeous and incredibly kind. He was a talented athlete who made everyone feel better the minute he entered a room. Deeply loved by everyone who knew him, Tanya always felt incredibly blessed that he chose her. Chad had a 2-year-old son when Tanya met him so once they moved in together in 2001, Tanya became a part time step mom. They were married July 2004 and then had 3 children together; a daughter in 2006, a son in 2007 and a second daughter in 2010. They built a beautiful life together in a close-knit acreage community.
Chad was a successful business owner and Tanya happily gave up teaching to stay home and raise their kids. They were incredibly happy.

In 2015, Tanya returned to work as a teacher, first part time because their youngest was in kindergarten and then full time when she was in grade one. It was June of this year that everything shattered. The life Tanya thanked God for several times a week came crashing down. Chad had been having severe back pain which led to his gall bladder being removed. After that surgery, Chad’s intense back pain was still more than he could stand. He had
been seeking medical attention for his pain since February but it wasn’t until June 11th, 2017 that the answer to the pain was found. A moment forever etched into Tanya’s mind. Chad had terminal, stage 4 gall bladder cancer. Despite being told the odds, Chad fought this cancer with everything he had, even seeking private treatment out of country, but it was just too aggressive. To everyone’s devastation Chad passed away 3.5 months later at the age of 41. When Chad moved into the different hospitals, shortly after diagnosis, Tanya moved in with him. She was by his side every moment as his health started deteriorating very quickly. Tanya’s strong faith in God gave her peace and hope during this horrendous time. She started a small, private blog telling her story during the endless hours of living in a hospital. Reading other widows blogs during this time gave her hope as well that possibly she could figure out how to live without her beloved Chad.

Chad passed away September 19th, 2017 at the age of 41. Tanya still lives on their small acreage, is working full time as a grade 6 teacher, has three kids in sports and activities and tries to stay connected to her community.
Tanya hopes sharing her story of how she is choosing to build a life where she and her kids thrive, despite her devastation, will give others hope too. How being intentional with her healing, taking steps of self care, adventures with and without her kids, staying connected to those who love them and a deep faith in God is helping them all to live a whole-hearted chapter 2 of their lives.

You can find Tanya on Instagram @christianstanya and her personal blog www.seekingthelightca.wordpress.com