So many thoughts ran through my head during those first couple of years after Dave died in his sleep in 2011.

I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that a 46-year-old healthy guy would just die so suddenly.  I mean he had a wife and two young sons – how does this happen?!  And how could I be 44 years old and a widow who is now the only parent to our two boys?  I am a mom and dad now?  

None of this made no sense to me so I just shut it all down.  

For the first few months, I did not truly believe Dave died even though I performed CPR on him and saw his body at the funeral home.  I went back to work, cooked dinner, took the kids to school, helped with homework, attended the boys’ basketball and baseball games, grocery shopped, paid bills.  In my mind, I held on to the thought that he would come back – that he was on a long fishing trip and would walk through the door any minute – this was all just a bad dream.

But it wasn’t a dream, this was real and Dave was truly gone.  

It was such a traumatic shock to my system and I have to thank my beautiful brain for slowly easing me into the pain and sadness of losing my partner, my love, my co-parent, the guy who had my back.

After the shock started to wear off I felt so tired, defeated, sad, and lonely.  A big part of me didn’t think thriving in this new life was possible at all and this thought scared me.  How could I have this thought running through my mind if I was to successfully and lovingly take care of our two sons?  

Something was not right and I set out on a journey to have some new thoughts running around in my head, like:

  • I need to take care of myself first so I can take care of my kids.
  • I will be really good to myself while I’m figuring this all out.
  • What do I need right now to make myself feel better? A nap, a warm bath, a hug, a good cry, listen to music, take a walk, grief counseling, all the above?

Slowly, the idea took root that I had a choice to move myself to a place where I could grieve and also thrive at the same time.  

I don’t trust in forever and never will, but I do trust myself. There is no right or wrong way through grief and there is no closure. The world as we know it can turn upside down in a flash. But we can control how we respond. We can get to the place where we love ourselves, and from there, can rest a bit easier in knowing that we will be okay.  

You can love yourself through this.

P.S. 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. PS- all programs benefits/offered to US and Canada residents.

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.