I am told how well I am doing and how strong I am.  People commend me on the adventures I take and my drive to rebuild my life.  The world looking in sees some one who is figuring it out.  My kids are well adjusted (to their credit, not mine) and I’m focused on work and learning new things. I keep doing the next right thing, but this widow life is hard.

The reality is because I don’t want pity or to exhaust people with my “darkness” I am not always as authentic about my grief as I could be.  It is not that I am ever “fake”; when I am with others I am distracted and happy; it is that I hurt less when I am task driven or socializing.  Reality sets in at home or sneaks up on me when in the presence of other couples and intact families.

Being a widow is hard.  Sometimes I get so tired of just how hard it is.  Doing life while constantly having to push through and truly be intentional, about not giving in to the desire to let my sorrow overtake me, is very hard.  Some days the amount of energy it takes just to be “okay” is the only energy I can muster up that day.  This would be expected in the first year of death but for me it has been almost three years.  I knew it would be like this – how does one ever be okay after losing someone so extremely vital and connected to me – however after three years of struggle I am exhausted.  I desperately miss my best friend and I might have 60+ years to go!

Every challenge I now face alone.  Small challenges like putting in an underground dog fence or trying to hang a very heavy mirror on my daughter’s wall to bigger challenges like leaking chimneys and broken hot water systems, are mine alone to face.  I would give anything to have his opinion and insight into raising our kids and financial decisions.  I should probably get my furnace ducts cleaned, my truck windshield needs replacing and both of my vehicles currently have recalls on the airbag systems.  All of these things feel so difficult to do now for a variety of reasons.  Finances to afford the everyday challenges and then the means of needing to ask someone to pick me up from the service shop.  These things use to not be a big deal but, now on top of everything else, they can feel like mountains to climb – and I’m tired.

I miss having someone to share my memories with.  The stories, milestones, laughter and tears that build a family are held only by me.  I long to have that other half to remember, laugh and smile with as I remember.  Not having that feels so very lonely too. Having him to gather with in the evenings and talk about our days is so dearly missed.  I plan so many adventures but each one I spent wishing he was here with us.

I notice other couples and can’t help but feel so very jealous.  It isn’t that I just want someone to do things with – it is that I want HIM to be here doing those same things with me.  I often avoid social media because my heart can’t handle seeing so many people have what I couldn’t keep.  I also struggle to see unhealthy marriages with an unhealthy person making poor choices – yet they never get cancer – sometimes it seems like only the best ones die young.  I know that is not a fair assessment and completely ignorant of me to think one life is more valuable than the next – however in my human nature my husband’s life was the most valuable to me.  It seems so wrong that someone so incredibly good for the world has been taken so soon while so many toxic people get to live.  I would give anything for this to not be my story.

But it is my story and the only thing I can do about it is choose how I will respond.  It would be easy to have a pity party every day.  I deserve one after all – being a widow is damn hard!  But that is not what God is calling me to do.  I am tired, but will continue to fight to be okay.

I do not yet know what God has planned for my life now.  I keep trying to fix my brokenness myself.  I read A LOT of self-help books and books to further my career.  I am always thinking and planning of ways to not hurt quite so much.  I have learned that I fall exactly into my enneagram personality type by always having some sort of adventure on the calendar that I can look forward to.  COVID has forced me to slow down, however, I still struggle to really stop planning how to be okay again.  This week I heard God telling me yet again to just stop.  I can stop planning how to fix my brokenness, stop worrying about whether I am okay or not, stop diving into ways to change and grow and just be.  Be me. Whatever me that is.  God has the plan, I certainly do not.  I don’t need to fix myself or be better.  Wherever I am at is exactly where I should be.  Each of our grief journeys are so unique that they all look different. My journey three years later is still full of pain, tears and loneliness but it is also full of new great memories and a lot of success.

I am going to do my best to give myself grace for the times and days I really can’t muster the energy to be okay.  To accept the days that melt downs need to happen and acknowledge it is still okay to be crying almost every day despite it being three years.  It will take however long it takes.  I will remind myself that the tears don’t last as long as they use to and even if I take a step back for every two steps forward that is okay.  Some days I may just take 3 steps back and that is okay too.  I am strong and I am surviving even though this widow life is hard.



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