Grief is hard. And strange. And unpredictable. Just when I think I’ve figured this journey out, even just a little bit, it takes a turn and smacks me in the face with a new wave of emotion and reality. Always at the times when I least expect it.

It’s interesting because when I think about this new life, I’m acutely aware of the moments that I know will be hard.  His birthday.  Our anniversary.  Every holiday. Big first moments for the kids. And the whole month of June. Our last family vacation was in June. Father’s Day is in June. Seth died in June.  As a dear friend said to me recently…”F— June.” And I pretty much go into the month knowing that it’s going to suck and be filled with raw emotion and memories that will make me miss Seth even more than I do every other day of the year.

While I’m learning to prepare myself for the hard moments that are expected, I’m continuing to learn that it’s the unexpected triggers that hit me the hardest. The moments when I don’t even realize how hard they will be until I’m in the middle of it. And find I am knocked down with a deep sadness and emotion.

I remember not long after Seth died hurricane season started and there was a big one headed towards the east coast. As I watched the weather channel coverage, I found myself getting so sad. Not just sad that possible devastation was headed towards to coast, but a deep sadness in my heart. I couldn’t figure out why, until I realized it was the first time a major weather event was happening, and Seth wasn’t here for it.

Seth was a weather enthusiast and he loved watching The Weather Channel. Even bought a car with a weather band radio built in (which I think was really the only reason he wanted that car).  Anytime a weather even was happening, he was addicted to the news. Followed the story and always reached out to friends who may be in its path. A total unexpected trigger.

I would think that nearly three years into this journey, I would be ready for these unexpected triggers and moments. That I would know they are bound to happen.  But I’m still finding that I’m never ready for them.  And may never be.

Most recently, I was planting flowers in pots to place on my deck for the summer.  Something I hadn’t done in years. Now that that the kids are old enough to help me pick the flowers out and water them all summer, I thought it was the perfect time to do it. Time to bring some beauty back to our deck. As I was planting these beautiful flowers into their pots, I found myself getting mad, and upset, and overwhelmingly sad. I couldn’t figure out why I was getting so annoyed with something that I used to do every year and looked forward to doing.

I then sat down and realized I was doing it alone. With no one to help open the bags of potting soil and tell me how beautiful each finished pot was.  Or give me advice on which flowers to plan together. Something that Seth always did.  He usually was mowing the yard while I would get to work on the pots and would finish up and tell me how great everything looked. And how beautiful the deck was with all of the freshly planted flowers.

I realized again that something I was looking forward to doing knocked me on my feet.  So, I sat down and cried and let the emotions flow. And while I was wiping away my tears, wondering why I had to do this alone, my son came outside and sat on my lap and said, “Mommy, your flowers look beautiful” and my daughter soon followed and marveled at how beautiful they were as well.

And I realized that while these moments are going to continue to knock me down, I need to keep moving forward. Knowing that Seth is still telling me he loves me. He’s just doing it in other ways now that he can’t do it himself.


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.