When Seth died, a dear friend who had also just recently lost her husband suggested I fill my social media feed with inspirational quotes. She told me she found it was better than seeing a news feed full of happy families and date nights. Which, at the time, was the last thing I wanted to see when my heart had just been shattered.

I did just as she suggested and started to follow pages that posted inspirational, grief and faith-based quotes. I quickly found that seeing these quotes gave me so much comfort. I would see a quote that reflected my exact feeling at the time and would save it to my phone. I remember reading each word and thinking about how perfectly each word reflected how I was feeling. How accurately they reflected the heartache, sense of loss, and depth of sadness that was overwhelming me.

I’ve put all of the quotes I saved into a folder and it’s quite amazing to go back and look through them and read the words that have helped to get me through the hard days.  As well as the quotes that have provided inspiration and hope on the good days. I can see my grief journey reflected in these words that have touched my soul. I can see the days of deep sadness and overwhelming grief. I can see the days of high hopes for a future filled with possibility. I can see the days of determination to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I can see the days where I felt the glimmers of a beautiful life still to be lived.

Rereading these quotes is a constant reminder that this journey isn’t easy. That you don’t automatically heal and ‘get over it.’ It shows me that you really do live with grief by your side each and every day. Knowing some days will be a hell of a lot harder than others.  And that you really don’t know when the bad days will come. But that there is also hope, and times when you’ll find yourself happy, and smiling.  And thankful despite the pain.

During my time of acute grief, I needed to see quotes such as:

“Goodbyes hurt the most when the story was not finished.”

And words that said:

“You are strong for getting out of bed in the morning when it feels like hell. You are brave for doing things even though they scare you and make you anxious. And you are amazing for trying and holding on no matter how hard life gets.”

And another good one:

“And if today, all you did was hold yourself together, I am proud of you.”

As I started to move forward, and find the strength inside me, I found quotes such as:

“She was brave and strong and broken all at once.” by Anna Funder

And my all-time favorite:

“I think you are doing a beautiful job figuring out some heavy shit.”

It’s a reminder that this life isn’t easy, and you can be all you need to be on the outside, while crumbling and trying to hold it all together on the inside.

And found comfort in my faith with quotes including:

“You can’t expect God to fix what you don’t hand over to him.”


“You don’t need to know where you’re going if you know God is leading.”

And the quote I have on a pillow on my bed:

“Give it to God and go to sleep.”

Which I do anytime things are too much to bear.  It always seems to work, and I wake up the next morning feeling I can face the day.

It reminds me that even though I sometimes feel alone, I’m not alone in this journey. I’m reading, and finding comfort in, these words because someone wrote them. Someone who, just like me, has felt the same pain. Endured the same trauma. Are on the same path towards healing. And are making their way through it just like I am.

One step at a time. Knowing some days are good. Some days aren’t. And that you have to just keep going. One step in front of the other.

“Just keep swimming.”


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.