Y’all, do you see that adorable little girl graduating from kindergarten?  Isn’t she just precious!?!?

Well, that adorable little girl has turned into this beautiful young lady.  She is smart, hard working, and witty.  I can’t even believe that she is 18 now.

Ladies, as of last Sunday, she is a high school graduate!  In spite of all that she has been through, she graduated with honors.  Her high school cumulative GPA was a 4.6 out of 4.0.  She isn’t impressed by that, but I certainly am!

I hate getting to these milestones without her dad.  She has reached her 17th and 18th birthday without him singing to her.  He wasn’t here to witness her drive down the road in her very own car.  When she got her first job, he wasn’t there to congratulate her and talk to her about the importance of good work ethic.  High School graduation happened without him telling her he is proud of her and joking with her about their secret National Honor Society handshake.

Of course, we also have all the numerous future events that he will miss.  Things like college graduation, bringing home a boyfriend for the first time, marriage, buying a home, and children.  Not to mention all the little things that happen every single day that he will miss.  

It hurts my heart that he won’t be here to enjoy these things.  I hate that he and I won’t ever be empty-nesters together or be able to enjoy grandchildren together.  I don’t want to do all of these life events without him, and I never would have chosen to do it this way.  But I didn’t get a choice.  

So, Ladies, what is a girl to do?  The only thing I can do.  On her graduation day, I reminded her how proud of her that I am and how very proud of her that her dad is.  We talked about how he would have joked about their secret NHS handshake, and how he would have preferred this socially distanced graduation to a hot gym crammed with people.  

For every event along the way, big and little, I will work hard to continue to honor him just as I did while he was here physically next to me.  I will remind my children, and my future grandchildren, how much they are loved by both of us.  

Yes, life keeps moving forward, and there is no stopping it.  All who loved Jeff will change in many ways as time goes on.  Our home will change and look different than the day he left.  The world clearly looks different today than it did 533 days ago.  No matter how different things get, Jeffrey will forever be with us, and I will choose to move forward with him.  It’s the only way I know how to do this life and keep my sanity.


Dawn’s life was forever altered on December 6, 2018 when she got the call that her husband, Jeffrey, had passed away at his work. She quickly learned that Jeff died from a gunshot wound, and detectives determined that it was self-inflicted. Dawn still struggles to wrap her brain around that fact. She will tell you that most days she doesn’t think about that part of it at all. Her husband is gone. The manner in which he died ultimately doesn’t matter. Gone is gone. He will forever be 46. Jeff and Dawn started out as friends in the Fall of 1997. They started to date in January of 1999. On September 3rd, 2000, in front of a beautiful lake, Jeff asked Dawn to be his wife, lover and friend forever. She excitedly accepted, and on June 30th, 2001, they became husband and wife. Together, Jeff and Dawn had 3 children...Ali, Josh & Meghan. During the majority of their 17 years of marriage, Dawn was a housewife and Jeff ran a fencing company. The kind of fencing that keeps children and animals contained. Not the kind of fencing that uses a sword. After Jeff passed, Dawn went back to school to get her special education endorsement. She is proud to be a special education teacher. In her free time, she can usually be found spending time with family and friends. Reading has been her passion since she was just a little girl, but since Jeff passed, she has found it hard to focus on reading. While that is a negative change that has happened on her journey, one positive change is that she has been writing more. Dawn tries to be very open about her journey with the hopes that it will help even just one other person better understand grief. For years, Dawn has been passionate about spreading joy to those around her. She continues to be that way, and now she is very purposeful about trying to focus on the positive things even during a horrible situation. She moves forward on this journey with her mind focused on continuing to honor Jeffrey, as well as trying to raise their three wonderful children in a way that will make him proud. Her hope is to live a life that will allow her to see Jeff in Heaven. She wants to see his smile again and feel his arms around her. Of course, that will be after she hopefully hears her Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”