I wasn’t hungry or thirsty at all after Dave died so eating food and drinking water was not a priority for me.  The food that was put in front of me by my loving friends and family just didn’t taste good (and my brother is a chef, sorry Mike).  My mouth couldn’t process food unless it was wet and soft.  Crackers?  Forget about it!  They just crumbled in my mouth and it felt like I was eating sand.  I got to a point where I existed on buttered rice and soup for several months.

I dropped a lot of weight quickly to the point where one day as I mustered up the energy to get dressed in the morning my wedding ring slipped off my finger.  I stared at the ring on the carpet in shock.  There it was – a golden circle, a shining empty hole of precious metal that symbolizes eternity. Eternity? I was angry, overwhelmed, and alone. 

I felt irrational to be pissed at Dave for dying.  My beautiful brain knew Dave didn’t make a choice not to wake up one snowy cold Saturday morning in January.  This was not his plan – this was not our plan!  But it happened, he died and I was mad, hurt and lonely.  I didn’t feel married anymore so I picked my ring up, put it in a drawer, and did not wear it again.

I would sometimes put my ring back on to see what it felt like, but what it felt like was this: I didn’t have a partner that was alive anymore. 

I felt self-conscious at first: I could see and feel people noticing it. It’s funny how naked a finger can feel. But it was the decision to keep that ring in a drawer that I can now see marked the start of me trusting my gut. I would have to make a handful of painful decisions after Dave died, and getting used to my bare left ring finger was one of the first of them. 

Was it too soon? Not for me it wasn’t.  

For the first time in my life, I was starting to care very little about other people’s opinions and thoughts.

Nobody is walking my path but me.  Nobody is feeling what I’m feeling right now but me.   The only thing that mattered is I was trying to do my best to move through the devastation of losing Dave.

This determination kicks in for some of us sooner than others, but once it does kick in, own it and do it your way.

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: https://racewire.com/register.php?id=12122 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.

About 

Melissa was widowed overnight at the age of 44 when her husband Dave didn’t wake up on a cold Saturday morning in 2011.  As a solo-parent to their two sons, she knew she had to take care of herself first so she could care for her kids - they needed her support more than ever - so she began the work of processing her deep grief and practicing radical self-care to move forward.

Melissa has rebuilt her life and established - for the very first time - a deeper knowledge of herself. She is a testament to trusting her gut and standing behind her choices.  She is happily remarried to her husband, Sean, and they now call the Oregon coast home.  Melissa’s purpose is living a joyful life, inspiring and influencing others.  You can learn more about Melissa, her book Filled With Gold, and other offerings through her website www.filledwithgold.org and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.