Seth loved flowers and would always surprise me with them even from the early days we were together. He would go to the flower shop in our small college town and would buy me a rose or two and bring them over when he’d visit. Or he would leave one on my doorstep to find when I came home from class. He continued to surprise me with flowers all the years we were together and would bring some home when he came back from the grocery store, or if I was having a tough day.  Flowers always made me feel loved and would remind me just how much he loved me.

The day I returned to work after taking time off after Seth passed, I received a beautiful purple orchid as a welcome back gift from a colleague.  It was delivered in full bloom and was gorgeous.  Every time I looked at it, I would smile and know that Seth would love that I had this beautiful flower to look at every day.

I was amazed at how long the blooms stayed, and how bright and perfect they were even weeks after it bloomed.  Then one day I came in to work and saw that the petals were falling. And I realized the blooms would soon be gone. I remember thinking, ‘well, that sure is a shame…not much of a chance for me to get this to bloom again.’ I don’t have much of a green thumb for indoor plants and figured there was limited chance ever seeing another bloom again. If anyone knows orchids, they are a delicate flower. One that requires much patience and care. But I decided to keep the plant in hopes I’d somehow see it bloom again.

As the weeks went on, and with the help of the wonderful plant lady at work, I saw that some new leaves were sprouting and had some hope. I had no idea if I’d see blooms again, but knew something was growing, so I kept giving it some love and patience.

Once I found my job was eliminated last summer, I took my strong little plant home hoping that I’d be able to keep this sucker alive and hopefully see another bloom at some point. But let’s be honest. I wasn’t too optimistic based on past experiences. Especially now that my helpful plant lady wouldn’t be watering it for me when I forgot.

So, I got it home and watered it every once in a while. Eventually I saw a few more new leaves sprout and was feeling like maybe I was going to get some blooms again after all.  Then one day I took a look at it and saw that something other than a leaf was sprouting.  It was a new stem. One that would have actual blooms on it.  I was so excited! I couldn’t wait to see what was to come.

And then a few weeks ago, I saw the first bloom.  And I couldn’t believe it.  I’d done it! This gorgeous flower was going to bloom again. And boy did it bloom! And it is just as beautiful as it was the day it was delivered to me. And it only took a mere two and a half years to happen!

Two and a half years to bloom again, might not seem like anything to brag about. But I must say, I kinda love that it took two and a half years to bloom again. I say that because my beautiful, delicate, and strong orchid plant never gave up. It took its time. It bloomed right when it was ready to. And while I know the blooms will fall again, this delicate plant will start over. Grow a new stem. And will take all the time it needs to bloom.  And won’t feel bad about it.

So, you may be wondering why I’m telling you this story.  Well, my dear, sweet sisters, I tell this story because this journey represents all of us. Seeing this beautiful blooming plant fall apart and then come back to be just as beautiful as it once was reminds me of what this journey is all about.

It’s about growing and taking our time. We are strong, delicate, determined women, who are fighting every day to bloom again.  We may not be sure if we will bloom again.  We may not know when we’ll be ready to. We may be in the stages of growing new leaves. Or wondering when we will be ready to grow that new stem and start something new. Wondering if we really will see a beautiful bloom again. Wondering if when we do bloom, if it will be as beautiful as it was the first time. Wondering if it’s OK to fall apart. And if we do, will we be able to grow stronger from it and thrive again. Wondering if we have the patience to give ourselves to time to bloom again when we are ready. Not when anyone else thinks we should.

It reminds me that we need to take our time. Give ourselves love and grace. Be patient. Feed our souls so that we can bloom again. And know that beautiful moments will happen when we least expect them.  And we will bloom again.  And thrive. And that our blooms will fall. And that it is ok to fall apart when we need to. And know we will come back again. With our own beautiful blooms, exactly when we are ready.

Have you heard about Hope for Widows Foundation’s annual virtual Widows of Hope 5K on May 15 and 16? Registration is now open! For details, FAQ’s and to register/support go to: Anyone can join! Whether you are a widow, widower, or a friend/family member showing support, or walking in the loss of another family member, everyone is welcomed to participate. The deadline to register is May 15, 2021. The proceeds will directly support widows directly through their annual financial Restoring Hope and Peace Grants, Sunshine Boxes program, and our Bring Hope Holiday Assistance Program.


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.