Next week is my birthday and normally I would be excited, but this year is different it is the first without him. September was a good month for us and it felt like things could only get better from there. Now I laugh at that thought. Grief changed me to the point I do not know who I am anymore. I am now making it a goal that thirty-three is the year that I reclaim myself. I figure out how to keep living even on my darkest days.

I loved Matt and we had so many shared interests. Things I have given up because I am grieving, and I don’t know if I will get them back. The voice in my head tells me to buy a new game. Maybe the one that Tiernan was talking about and play that. Give up the games Matt and I played and move on with new games. I gamed before him there is no reason, I can’t game now without him. I just need to reclaim myself. Take back the parts of me that are still me even though they were our thing.

One thing that I have started doing is playing Pokémon go again. First, it was here and there. Now it is more regular. Mostly because it gets me walking. It was something that was always us. Yesterday it brought back memories of us spending hours at a local college just playing. For the life of me, I can’t remember when that was, but it was a good day just the two of us. Reclaiming myself is being kind and remembering the good times over the bad. At the end of the day, we were always happy playing Pokémon go together and I am going to hold on tight to that.

I am in a group that has walking challenges it pushes me to get up and move around. Matt would always tell me that I was fine just the way I was when I would start and eventually fail on a diet. He supported my decisions to get healthier but made sure I knew he was fine with me being fluffy. I joined Noom this past week because although I am okay with being the way I am reclaiming myself also needs to include my health.

Let’s face it grieving is stressful and I tend to stress eat. Making small changes such as drinking water and tracking what I put into my body is making a difference. I am not going to stress eat the whole thing of Oreos anymore (hopefully). Walking and exercising are also a part of this. Reclaiming myself is no longer just sitting on the couch saying he is gone; I am alone what is the point.

Thursday was eleven months. I was fine until I wasn’t. It hit me while I was at work, and I withdrew into myself an hour into my day. My coworker called me out on it.  Later I was called by the bank to say I got approved for a mortgage and I will be able to move ahead with buying the farm within the next couple of months. I am buying our dream alone. I am reclaiming that dream of having a home it will no longer be the one that we share but my home where his memories will live.

I am sleeping and using our bedroom again. Yesterday I realized it is set up the same way it was the day he left. I have not changed a thing. When I was sleeping downstairs, I was doing better but now I wake up and look at the couch to see if he is there. I have issues falling asleep because he is not next to me. It has been eleven months and I am still having issues in our room. I am going to rearrange the room. Move the bed and the couch. Reclaiming myself in our room. He will still be there he is always with me.

Reclaiming me does not mean I am leaving him behind. It does not mean I am forgetting about him. Reclaiming me is just figuring out who I am as a person now. Finding the woman, I am without him. What things do I still enjoy and what new things that we did not do together may I like. Matt was a huge part of my adult life and I do not want to forget those times not even for a second, but I can’t wallow in my grief anymore.

So, this week I am saying goodbye to thirty-two. I am closing a chapter of my life and I am starting a new one. There will still be nights that I curl into a ball and cry. Days that living just does not seem possible. Weeks that his ghost is standing next to me whispering in my ear remember when this happened. Matt will forever have a huge chunk of my heart. Deep down I know he would want me to reclaim myself and find happiness.





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-