“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

Guard your heart. That is what I do now. I want the normal of years past but in doing our normal things I am opening myself up to the pain that comes with it. I have been missing him so much this week. The bottom line is for things to be normal he should be here. 

I was talking to a friend the other night and said how I don’t know how to move forward. The answer I got was Matt would want you to be happy. He would want you to love again, you know that. And that is true but I have to drop my guard to let someone in. I have to open myself not only to love but to loss. 

Guard your heart. My grandma is in hospice. I am her caretaker. I am watching her slowly failing. I know that she will be gone soon. I know that the pain is going to be there. I wake every morning and check to see if she is breathing, sometimes holding my breath when I think she isn’t. I guard myself against the pain that will happen. I will have to say goodbye to another person that is important to me. 

Guard your heart, for everything flows through it. Love flows through your heart. So I have to guard it against harm but also let that love flow. The love Matt and I shared. He is in the simplest of acts. He is playing Pokémon Go with my nephew. He is the memories. If I guard my heart I don’t honor him. 

Guard your heart. I am going to move on. I have to. Is it fair to the new person? How do they compete with a dead person? How do I drop my guard and let them in? What if they get attached and then I break their heart. What if? That is all I can think of. But there is no harm going on a date. I don’t know if I will ever be fully ready but I have to try at some point. 

As a widow guarding my heart is different. We know the pain that comes from losing the person you love. We know the feeling of joy starting to come back. Then the sudden stabbing pain from hearing a song on the radio. We know love and we know that that loss of love feels horrible. 

I was guarded before Matt came into my life. I actually have a drawing of my heart behind a wall and all the bricks that he tore down they all have dates or events on them. I feared love before I even knew what losing love felt like. Now I know I am guarded and I don’t think I can drop that guard.

Guarding our hearts just makes it so that we can’t feel happy all the way. When I went to Maine I was finally happy because I was not living in that constant state of fear that if I allowed myself to feel something bad would happen. It has taken me almost ten months to realize that I now wait for the other shoe to drop. I am worried that if I allow myself to care I will get hurt. 

In the last few weeks, I have been happier than in months past. I have had hard conversations with people. I have allowed myself to be open to the idea of dating again. My guard is still there but not as bad. Life is in front of me and I choose how I live it. I can stay guarded and never fully live or I can give what is out there a chance. 


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.