In the early weeks of life without Dakota I was engrossed in things that took up all of my time. Planning a memorial, arrangements with the funeral home, trying to figure out a slight idea of what my life would look like with Dakota gone. Now that things have begun to settle I’m so much more aware of my pain. The pain is so intense that sometimes even the thought of not living anymore sounds like a viable option.

    I find myself making an overwhelming amount of basic mistakes that could easily be prevented if I actually slept or cared to. When you marry someone you plan your life with them. That plan never consists of them dying at thirty one. Who even dies at thirty one? So when you feel like your entire foundation of life is suddenly ripped out from under you what are you left to do?

    It’s been hard being home. So much harder than I even imagined. I’m angry, sad, confused. As I try and allow myself to heal I find there are far more road blocks than there are routs, so eventually you have to choose one to break apart before you’re capable of moving forward. As I reach each new road block I stop and ask myself, what’s next for me? Could this possibly be it? Could this be God plan for me? Is Dakota watching this, is he proud?

     Unfortunately I don’t have those answers. Nobody does. That is simply terrifying. You’re taught to always have a plan, and to plan for after that and even after that. Then rudely one day God decided he doesn’t like that plan and he crumples it up and tells you to start to over.

    There are days when something terrible happens, or even wonderful. Like the birth of two new precious calves on the ranch, or the death of an old cow, and suddenly I’m acutely aware of how much I miss him, tremendously. He’s who I want to talk to, to tell those things to, both good and bad. Your friends and family, they can listen but it’s just not the same. He was the person who lived this crazy life with me.

    I’m so completely different now. I was so afraid that the person I was before Kota would so quickly become who I was again. Selfish, distant, un-compassionate. But that didn’t happen. In fact I became a completely new fragment of who I was with Kota. I’m stronger, more loving, and much more understanding of other people’s tragedies.

    Grief is fickle like that. Everything is a reminder of just exactly how alone you are. I can remember the days when I woke up and my heart didn’t hurt. That feeling now doesn’t last long, like a whisper of a spring breeze in an early winter month . Just because you can’t help or change something, doesn’t make it right. God’s plan or not, this isn’t right. I know this isn’t how it was supposed to be.

     I’ve been asked what do I need to feel alright, what will it take to make me feel better. The truth? He’s the only thing that will make me feel alright now, and that isn’t a possibility. I wish I was able for them to feel the pain. To understand why it’s changed me so much. It’s changed me into a new person, not the person Dakota fell in love with and that’s hard to handle.

     It’s frightening and hard when you have no idea which road to choose, no idea which one has the most amount of roadblocks. No one to give you any indications or answers about your journey.

    I wish I was able to ask Kota just one more question. I’d even settle for one more phone call. Just to tell him I’m trying. I’m trying my best every day to be okay. To ask him if he was proud of how I’ve handled life without him. To tell him what I was feeling and have him assure me that what I’m feeling in my heart right now is alright. 


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.