While Matt was the person that made me feel home and safe, Maine is the place that owns my heart. I have spent the last nine months lost. I have felt so alone even surrounded by people I know who love me and support me. I have looked into my parent’s eyes and seen the hurt they are feeling because I am in pain. Nature has a healing property for me as John Muir said, “Allow nature’s peace to flow into you as sunshine flows into the trees.” Day one into the trip and I told people I was doing some soul searching and soul healing I wanted to come back feeling better.

When I say nature has a healing property for me, I mean it brings me a sense of calm and awakens my soul. It recharges me and I find that I am happiest when sitting by the ocean or walking in the woods. When my friend asked me what I wanted to do on this trip I said to see the ocean and hike. Our campsites all three nights were right on the ocean, and I felt the peace flow through me. I felt my soul singing as it started to come alive again reminding me who I am. As I sat next to our campfire I just listened to the sounds around me the waves crashing the birds, the sound of the fire. I breathed in the fresh air and exhaled the negative feelings I have had.

Monday night we came up with the crazy plan to hike Cadillac Mountain to see the sunrise. We woke up at 1:30 in the morning broke down our campsite and drove to the beginning on the trail. It was 2:30 am we put our headlamps on and started hiking. As we walked, I started to think about how the hike was a lot like grief. In the beginning, nothing brings you peace, happiness, or joy you walk around in the darkness focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. In my first few days and months of grief, I got out of bed and went to work but I was a shell of myself. I could not feel joy in anything. All the holidays happened in the first three months I wanted to skip them. I cried almost every day nothing made me feel better.


Then a little light starts to shine through, and you see some of the details that are around you. You make out the trees and plants that are next to your path. But some things are not as they appear in the dark. That snow is really moss you know that because it is too warm for snow, but your brain is just trying to make sense of what is around it. You try so hard to not hold on to the things that make you sad and find something that makes you happy nothing brings you peace. I found things that helped in my grief like talking about it to people, drawing, writing. If someone did not understand my grief and did not want to hear what I was saying I removed them from my life. I was not doing any soul healing I was just surviving. I was trying my best and sometimes that was good enough and at other times I fell apart for days or weeks.

Another quote by John Burroughs “ I go into Nature to be soothed, healed, and have my senses put in order.” As we continued to climb more light started to shine. But the fog has remained. If you are anything like me the widow fog was terrible. I could not remember shit, names, words nothing. We got one mile from the summit and had great views, but the fog was too thick to see the sunrise. To see the beauty of the first moments that the sun comes out.

The sun eventually burns off the fog just like widow brain starts to clear. It sticks around a bit not fully clearing some days worse than others. Like the day I said can I have my turtle instead of total. Widow Fog makes me feel so stupid especially around people that don’t understand it. I tell people I am sorry widow brain happens but they see this woman that is doing better but they don’t see the stress and sadness I hide and that is when grief is harder.


Walking down the mountain we could see the beauty around us. Hear the birds singing. I felt calm, happy, peaceful. I snapped photos along the way. I thought about Matt. I thought about myself and who I was now. Who was I without him. I found pieces of that woman he fell in love with nine years ago. She was wearing his sweatshirt, his ring using the gift he gave me to capture it all. I bring him on every journey. I realized that I need to stop being soul-crushing sad when I think that he is not with me. I need to think that he is with me. He shows up then I least expect it but as I learned Friday I can play that memory and feel the sadness for a second then smile because we had that time together.

I am reclaiming myself. I am finding what I want out of life now. My heart might take a while to heal but my soul is coming alive. I have been smiling on this trip, I have laughed and the best part I do not feel guilty about it. I know that my soul is not one hundred percent healed. I know I have more soul healing and searching to do. I need to continue to find things that bring me peace. I need to live with his memories and love and not let them bring me down. I need to remember that “Nature is not a place to visit it. It is home.” Gary Snyder


Laurel became a young widow on October 2, 2020, her husband Matt had a heart attack he was only 37. Matt was a juvenile diabetic and they always knew he would die young but she never thought that she could be a widow at 32. Navigating grief with anxiety, regrets and guilt have been a struggle for Laurel. They had gotten into a fight days before he died and they had talked about divorce. One of the things that helped her the most is finding other widows who understood the pain she was feeling. In February she decided to start writing her story. Self-care is something else she started to do daily and art has become her outlet to get what she is feeling out which she shares on her Instagram. Being a young widow comes with its own challenges but we are not alone in this journey.
You can find her on Instagram @HealingPorcupine or her personal blog link- Healingporcupine.com.