Widowhood has given me an entirely new definition of bravery.

I used to think bravery meant doing something adventurous and daring or scary, like jumping out of a plane or risking your life to save a child in a fire.

I still think those things take bravery, but I now know that bravery doesn’t have to look like that…and in fact, it doesn’t very often.

For me, being brave has meant different things over the last two years without my late husband. Some days it meant calling the health insurance company for the 8th time that week and reexplaining my situation (no, you can’t speak to the policyholder, he is still dead *eyeroll*). Other days, it was taking a shower after a long night of crying and fighting back a major panic attack.

Today, bravery means doing the hard stuff that I didn’t expect to have to do by myself; like installing a Ring doorbell or loading up my super heavy keyboard in the car for tonight’s gig. These things take me much longer than they would’ve ever taken my late husband. I have to take a step back and pay attention, while he would’ve just jumped in and gotten it done. He always had faith like that. He didn’t worry about the minor details.

Being brave can mean singing in front of an entire bar full of people, or it can mean making another therapy appointment because that week is just too damn hard. You can’t put a scale on bravery because it always means something different. Some days I don’t feel very brave at all, even though deep down, I know I am. Just continuing to live and do life without Luke is brave. Even if I accomplish nothing else in life, I will always have pride for myself for surviving. This road often leaves you feeling sad, hopeless, and very, very lonely. It’s brave to keep going. It’s brave to admit the hard days. It’s brave to just be a widow!

I’m confident I’ll never have all the answers in life, but I do know that whatever else is in store for me…I’ll be brave. I’ll keep trying. I’ll keep fighting. I’ll keep choosing me. 

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty damn brave.

About 

At the young age of 25, Jayme Johnson lost the love of her life suddenly, unexpectedly, and tragically. She and Luke were only married 6 months and actively trying for a baby when she discovered him unconscious in her front yard after doing lawn care all day. On May 9, 2019, Luke passed away from idiopathic cardiomyopathy, caused by a silent condition he had from birth.

Since that fateful day, Jayme has used writing to help her process the whirlwind of daily emotions and endless lists of death “to-do’s” that come along when you lose your spouse. Her blog, appropriately titled “Confessions of a 25-Year-Old Widow,” has been her saving grace and introduction to a huge circle of incredible widows that she continues to turn to when this familiar grief gets too complicated.

Jayme uses daily gratitude, meditation, and copious amounts of self-care to keep a positive outlook on the rest of her life. She aspires to be a source of strength and a valuable resource for other young widows who are faced with the unimaginable pain and loneliness that accompanies being in her shoes. She is endlessly thankful for her patient, loving, and supportive family, friends, and fellow widows for encouraging her to pursue her humanitarian passions and actively find JOY and light in an otherwise dark world.