Thoughts are powerful!  If I think that I can’t do something, I will usually give up pretty quickly.  Heck, sometimes I will give up before I even start because my thoughts are so negative. Have any of you ever struggled with this?


Well, when it comes to widowhood, I quickly learned that my thoughts matter in a BIG way.  In the beginning thoughts like “I lost my forever”, “I can’t do this without Jeffrey”, and “This is all just too much” kept circling through my mind.  Let’s not forget the thoughts of “This is unfair.” and “Why Jeff?”  Don’t get me wrong, I know those are all normal thoughts, but moving forward with these thoughts can be very tough.  


So, I realized that I had to start thinking differently.  I no longer think of Jeffrey’s death as “losing my forever.”  You all might think I am a little looney, but I actually say that my husband moved to Heaven.  My faith has been a huge part in helping me move forward.  As a believer in Christ, I do believe that your body dies, but I also believe that your soul lives on.  Your soul is the very essence of who you are.  Thinking of it this way reminds me that I haven’t lost my forever.  


How about “I can’t do this without Jeffrey.”?  Ladies, I bet most of you have said this about your husband.  It’s completely normal, but it’s also untrue.  We can do this!  Oh, we might not want to, but we absolutely can.  Personally, I have survived almost two-and-a-half years without Jeff physically by my side.  I went back to college and earned my special education endorsement, learned how to ask friends for help, and even managed to fix some things around the house by myself.  And parenting solo?  It’s not easy, but I think our three children know that I love them dearly and am doing my very best.  I didn’t want to do these things alone or without Jeffrey’s support, but honestly, it doesn’t matter what I want because I wasn’t given a choice. 


I am given a choice on what I choose to think and focus on though.  Choosing to think that I am living my life for Jeff or in honor of him helps me.  In my mind, he is with me all the time.  It’s an odd thing for some to wrap their mind around.  It’s as if he lives in Heaven, and yet, it’s as if he is with me always.  Again, if you all want to think I am looney, that is quite alright.  I wish I could explain it better, but it isn’t a very concrete thing to describe.  The best I can do is to explain it like this…because we married and became one flesh, because he is forever in my heart and always on my mind, he is always with me.  Sure, I get lonely without him physically here.  But then I talk to him or I spend time with our children, and I usually feel better. 


So, how about those other thoughts that circle through my mind?  “This is all just too much.”  “This is so unfair.”  “Why Jeff?”  Honestly, those are all just pity parties waiting to happen.  I’m not a big fan of pity.  I let myself go there once in a great while, but I refuse to allow myself to stay there for very long at all.  We all know that life is unfair, and I bet all of us knew that before we lost our beloved.  Bad things happen to wonderful people all of the time.  The world is filled with cancer, murder, disease, and death.  But it’s also filled with sunshine, flowers, kindness, and birth.  We get to choose where we put our focus and attention, and I personally choose to focus on the latter.


Ladies, if you are struggling with negative thoughts regarding widowhood, I want to encourage you to work on making some changes.  I won’t lie to you all and tell you that it is easy, but I will tell you that it is absolutely worth making the effort to work on this.  Stop the negative thoughts.  Take control of them.  Replace them with thoughts that help you to move forward in a positive way.  Thoughts that help you to honor your husband in a remarkable way.   I’m certain that you will be glad that you did, and if you are anything like me, the positive changes will help you to still feel deeply connected to your husband.    


Dawn’s life was forever altered on December 6, 2018 when she got the call that her husband, Jeffrey, had passed away at his work. She quickly learned that Jeff died from a gunshot wound, and detectives determined that it was self-inflicted. Dawn still struggles to wrap her brain around that fact. She will tell you that most days she doesn’t think about that part of it at all. Her husband is gone. The manner in which he died ultimately doesn’t matter. Gone is gone. He will forever be 46. Jeff and Dawn started out as friends in the Fall of 1997. They started to date in January of 1999. On September 3rd, 2000, in front of a beautiful lake, Jeff asked Dawn to be his wife, lover and friend forever. She excitedly accepted, and on June 30th, 2001, they became husband and wife. Together, Jeff and Dawn had 3 children...Ali, Josh & Meghan. During the majority of their 17 years of marriage, Dawn was a housewife and Jeff ran a fencing company. The kind of fencing that keeps children and animals contained. Not the kind of fencing that uses a sword. After Jeff passed, Dawn went back to school to get her special education endorsement. She is proud to be a special education teacher. In her free time, she can usually be found spending time with family and friends. Reading has been her passion since she was just a little girl, but since Jeff passed, she has found it hard to focus on reading. While that is a negative change that has happened on her journey, one positive change is that she has been writing more. Dawn tries to be very open about her journey with the hopes that it will help even just one other person better understand grief. For years, Dawn has been passionate about spreading joy to those around her. She continues to be that way, and now she is very purposeful about trying to focus on the positive things even during a horrible situation. She moves forward on this journey with her mind focused on continuing to honor Jeffrey, as well as trying to raise their three wonderful children in a way that will make him proud. Her hope is to live a life that will allow her to see Jeff in Heaven. She wants to see his smile again and feel his arms around her. Of course, that will be after she hopefully hears her Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”