Just when you think you may understand what grief is and what your journey looks like, a wave of grief can move in and bring you to your knees.

The waves of grief continue to swell. And, on some days, completely knock me down. As they do, I am reminded of how this journey really is unpredictable. How once you think you may understand what it’s like to live with grief by your side, something surprises you. And while these moments can knock you down like a wave in the ocean, I’m learning how much beauty can come from enduring wave after wave.

Just this week I was hit with a wave of grief that came out of nowhere. I was sipping my coffee, thinking about what I needed to do for the day and realized it was the 25th. And it was a Monday. Then I started to cry…and couldn’t stop. At first a few tear drops fell.  Then those tears quickly turned into hard unstoppable sobs.

Why did this grief wave come on so quick and so hard? Not sure. However, Seth died on the 25th of June, and it was a Monday. And it is one month from the two-year anniversary of his sudden death. The wave came quick and crashed over me, totally knocking me down.

For the first year and a half or so after he died, I dreaded the 25th of every month as it reminded me that one more month passed by without him. I would anticipate the date’s arrival, knowing it would be a tough day. When the date would fall on a Monday it would be even harder.

Although for the past four or five months, I haven’t dreaded the 25th like I had, nor has that day made me as sad.  Some months I haven’t even thought about date or dreaded its arrival.

I was starting to feel that maybe I had moved through that part of my grief journey.  But when the moment came this week, it smacked me in the face. It took me down like a wave crashing behind me and I was defenseless.  I let myself cry and ended up crying all day.

Seth and I traveled to Maine almost every year we were together. He and his family spent every summer there and he couldn’t wait to take me there to experience it with him. On my first trip to Maine, he introduced me to the beauty of sea glass and how to hunt for it along the rocky shores. We would search for hours looking for the biggest, smoothest pieces.  For the most beautiful colors we could find.

We have jars filled with these beautiful treasures from the sea that we spent 20 years collecting. They would remind us of us the beauty of Maine and the time we spent together in one of our very favorite places.

It dawned on me recently that these beautiful treasures only became what they are due the endurance they had with each wave that crashed over them. Sea glass starts as a shiny, clear piece of glass. A beautiful strong bottle. And after being thrown into the ocean, it is cracked and broken, surrounded by sharp edges.

As these pieces of glass enter the sea, swimming and swirling around, they find their place safe in the rocks. While they may be safe, they continue to endure each and every wave that crashes down and washes over them.

The thing is though, they don’t stay cracked and broken forever. With each wave that washes over, they became softer. The hard, sharp edges become soft and rounded. They are transformed into a beautiful treasure. One that is sought out by others and is seen as beautiful, rare, and unique.

As I’ve thought about the waves of grief that come and wash over me, I’ve not just thought about how the waves knock me down, but how they are impacting me. I am reminded of how they are transforming me.  From a broken and shattered piece of glass into a new object. Softer and reshaped.  Never to be the same as it was before. One to be treasured. Smoothing out the sharp edges and shaping me into a new person. The person I am supposed to become. Helping to push me along to find my new place in the world.


Dena's life was forever changed on June 25, 2018, when she became suddenly redefined as a widow. A title she never thought she would have, or not have for at least another 40 years or more. Her healthy 43-year-old
husband suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, leaving her shocked, heart shattered and left, at age 41, to raise their precious 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter without him. Since gaining this new title, she is continually trying to figure out how to live this new life, and have
leaned into her faith, has focused on being brave, and has taken head on all of the challenges she is now faced with in this new life. Dena is here to share her story as she is living it and to be honest and raw, providing insight into the life of a sudden widow with a full-time career and two young children. Dena learned the importance of what she has gained through living a life well lived with her beloved spouse, and she has been writing what is on her mind and in her heart, everything from the pain of losing a spouse suddenly, to focusing on gratefulness and being brave in this journey. She hopes to give others insight into what this journey looks like and provide thoughts on how she is managing through it all. And hopefully inspire some of her hope sister's along the way.

You can read more and follow me on Instagram @suddenlyredefined or on her Facebook page Suddenly Redefined.