June 25, 2020 marked two years since Seth unexpectedly passed away. It also became the day I learned I’d lost my job due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. What a day. A day I should have spent reflecting on the love of my life, the amazing life we built and memories we shared. And on the hurdles I’d overcome since he passed.

Instead, I found myself focused on the future, a little panicked, and thinking about what I needed to do next. The day was hectic, a bit chaotic and surreal. I didn’t have a single minute to sit and think about Seth. Or reflect on what I was proud of accomplishing the past year. Nor could I let myself feel the love I know he is still sending us. I really felt the day had been ruined.

Now, as I think back, I can see how much he was taking care of me that day. I can see that he was by my side, telling me things would be OK. I can now see the love. It came though the numerous phone calls, messages, and words of encouragement that were pouring in from my colleagues, friends and family. And it reminded me that Seth is still here taking care of me. Doing so through the kindness and love of others. Reminding me that I am strong, and am resilient.

This wasn’t the first time I’d received word that I lost my job due to company restructuring, and to be honest I wasn’t surprised to hear it happen again now. However, the last time this happened circumstances shifted and I had my job back within a week. After that experience I poured myself into work. Seth was nothing but supportive. Doing everything he could to take care of the kids, the house, and the daily chores. He would say, “Do what you’ve got to do, Mama. Stay late, work hard and don’t worry about us. I’ve got this.”

At the time I felt guilty working so many hours, and having to travel to New York every month. I wondered if putting in all of those hours was worth it. After Seth died, I realized why I was meant to work so hard and that he was meant to shoulder the burdens at home. It was to give him 6 amazing months of experiences and memories with the kids and gave me time to really dig in at work, make a difference and make a name for myself with people I hadn’t worked with before. I look back and know this was by design. Because little did I know, I’d need this work family more than ever.

After Seth died my work family was unbelievable. The love, support, kindness and caring of my colleagues were pouring into our lives. This amazing group of people, some I’d worked with for 20 years, some I’d just met, called me, and sent gifts and cards, and stood in line for hours at the funeral to pay their respects. In fact, at the service my dad asked a colleague “did they have to close the entire office today since you’re all here?” It warmed my heart in a way I couldn’t describe. Not only because these wonderful people loved me, they also loved Seth. Everyone always looked forward to seeing Seth at family work events and sharing a few laughs.

Work was so accommodating they didn’t bat an eye when I said I needed to take 8 weeks off of work to get myself together at home before returning. They didn’t bat an eye when I said I needed time to think about the new job I was moving into and held it for me to return to. And when I did return, I was showered with so much love and support.

So, to learn that on the anniversary of a day that forever changed my life, my life changed again.  The thought that my journey with this amazing company and family of colleagues would be ending was surreal. And also, in a way, divine. As a friend said to me, “You know, Dena, maybe this needed to happen today to remind you Seth is with you. And he’s got your back and is looking out for you and it will be OK.” I truly believe that she couldn’t be more right about that.

It is said that resilience is the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens. While this is a new hurdle that I need to overcome, I know I will. I’ve overcome so much already.

God has surrounded me with amazing people that want to take care of me and make sure I’m OK. Seth gave me the time I needed to work hard, and make connections and make an impact on others, so that I will be OK now that he’s not here.

He continues to give me the strength and courage to be resilient. And reminds me to have gratitude for the good in life in order to overcome whatever life will continue to throw my way.


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.