How did this happen? Why did this happen?

Did this really happen? Am I really a widow?

Did my husband really die? Did I really find him unresponsive laying on our bedroom floor?

How did this end up being my life? Is this really my life?


These are questions that have been running through my mind for over two years. Questions that I don’t think I’ll ever stop asking myself. That I will never have answers to. At least not while I’m here on earth.

In the early days after Seth died, I remember every night and every morning I would be lying in bed and I would see the vision of when I found him on floor unresponsive. The shock waves would run through my body. I would lie there frozen, not understanding how it happened.

Seeing that vision in my mind felt just like it did to see it in real time. At the time, I didn’t think that a night or morning would go by when I wouldn’t be struck by that vision.

As the early months passed, I would find myself relaxing a little more, and drifting off to sleep easier at night.  I would then become startled awake with that vision. And the panic feeling would surge right back through me. And the questions would again swirl through my mind.

It’s been over two years since Seth suddenly died. I’ve found that those startling visions and questions are less frequent but when they happen now, they are just as raw as they were in the early days. They stop me in my tracks and take my breath away. It stuns me out of nowhere and I become completely numb for a moment. My heart starts to race, and I feel the exact feeling of panic I felt the morning he died.

And now those moments hit me at any time throughout the day.  Not just when I’m falling asleep or waking up.  And the questions all swirl through my mind again. And all over again I find myself wondering why this happened. How it happened. How my life took this path. Asking those questions that will forever remain unanswered.

What I’m finding now is that when this happens, I remind myself that it happened because it did. And there is nothing I can do about it. I can’t change the past. Can’t go back and change things. Or fix things. Or do things differently.

And need to remind myself that, yes, it really happened. Yes, I’m living it. I am surviving it. As hard and horrible as it is.

The passing of time is teaching me that I need to find the way to live with the unanswered questions. The unknown reasons why things happen as they do in our lives. And I’ve learned this through my faith.

When Seth died, it was so hard to turn to God and talk to him. To lean on Him for help. I just couldn’t understand how such a horrible thing could happen. And I thought that while I always had faith in God, He’d failed me by taking away the most important person in my life in an instant.

I have a dear friend who also suddenly lost her husband and she helped me through those early days by reminding me that God is in control and that He’s got this. To turn to him in my darkest sorrow and He will show me the way. And she was right.

One day, I finally turned to Him. And I asked him to help me. To show me the way. Give me strength. Remind me that while I will never know why this happened, to please help me be strong and make it through the tough days and years to come.  I found that when I would talk to God at night, and give it all to Him, I’d fall asleep quickly and sleep well.

So even two years later, I need to remind myself to keep giving it to God. I even have a pillow on my bed with the quote “Give it to God and go to sleep.” Because while I know I don’t have the answers, and never will, He does. And He is there. And He has given me many gifts to help me make it through every day, week, month, and year. Guiding me through and holding me up every step of the way. Teaching me how to live with these unanswered questions.


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.