Ladies, I am exhausted! I am sitting here wanting to write something profound. Something that will touch at least one widow on this difficult journey. But all I can think about is the fact that I am physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted.

In less than two months, it will be three years since Jeffrey has been gone. Three! It does not seem possible, and yet, there are times it seems like much longer since I have looked into his deep, brown eyes.

In that time our children have grown so much. They were 12, 14, and 16 when he passed away. All of them were children. Now, one is an adult, and one will become an adult in early January.  

When he passed, only one of our kids could drive a car. Now two of them can drive and the third is about to get her driving permit. Lord help me!

Being a solo mom is not easy.  Thankfully, I am blessed to have my mom, who lives with us, help me out tremendously. Seriously, there is no way I could do this without her. Okay, I could, but I would be even more weary than I already am.

Three years ago, I was a part-time secretary for a special education office. I went back to college and took five classes.  Now, I am a full-time special education teacher in a social emotional classroom. This new job is something I truly enjoy, but it can be very stressful and challenging.

This all sounds fun and encouraging. Right??? Hold on! There is more.

Three years ago I would wander my house in the middle of the night instead of sleeping. I felt an emotional numbness that scared me. It was like I was walking through a deep, dense emotional fog.

I also felt an extreme amount of anger. Because I am not typically an angry person it took me a while to even recognize that this was what I was feeling. So much anger! 

At times, I would physically ache from losing Jeff. I had no clue that losing someone could make your body feel that way physically. Sometimes, my chest would hurt, and I felt as if I couldn’t breathe.

Over these past 34 months, I have had many moments where I did not want to be around people. Sadly, this meant not even my own wonderful children at times. I would just hibernate in my room wanting to be left alone, but I was also lonely. Lonely but yet wanting to be alone is so unlike me.

What’s that? You aren’t finding this encouraging yet? Well, how about this?

Over the past year, the fog has really lifted. I can think straight again, and my memory isn’t as bad as it once was. Seriously, I thought I was losing my mind for a while because I couldn’t remember things very well.

I have many more good days than bad now. Tears don’t flow as often as they used to be, and I smile now, genuinely smile, much more than I have in a long time. I sleep better now and have fewer restless nights.

I want to be around people again. There are still times when I chill in my room watching tv or reading, but I welcome visits from my family. I get out with my friends more, and I have even been blessed to be making some new friends. You can never have too many!

Yes, I am tired. Life is busy, and I sometimes feel like I am juggling far too much. But that isn’t that different from my other mom friends. We all have stuff going on.

I remember feeling similar to this when Jeffrey was still alive. He owned his own business and was very busy.  The kids and the house, and all that entails, fell on me and my shoulders.  It’s actually nice realizing that this feeling isn’t about deep grief. This is about normal grief mixed with the busy life of a solo mom. 

Who doesn’t feel normal grief from time to time? Life is filled with people going through tough situations…divorce, death, disease, financial issues, legal troubles, relationship issues. The list goes on and on.  I am doing my best to focus on that fact and remind myself that I am not the only person in the world to have lost my husband. I am not the only person to have been widowed with children. I am not the only person who is going through tough stuff. 

If other women have made it through similar heartaches and learned to be happy and enjoy life again, then so can I.  Sure, my happiness will look different than it once did, but I can, truly, be happy once again. No, Jeff won’t be here physically to join in on my happiness. However, I keep his spirit and memory with me at all times. So, I feel as if he can still join in and be part of my life.

Indeed, I am learning that I can be happy again, and Ladies, so can you. Maybe not today. Heck, maybe not even in a month or a year. It certainly takes time and healing, but you can and you will get there. Hold on to that truth.  Let it soak into your core until you believe it to be true. When you believe it, you will see it.


Dawn’s life was forever altered on December 6, 2018 when she got the call that her husband, Jeffrey, had passed away at his work. She quickly learned that Jeff died from a gunshot wound, and detectives determined that it was self-inflicted. Dawn still struggles to wrap her brain around that fact. She will tell you that most days she doesn’t think about that part of it at all. Her husband is gone. The manner in which he died ultimately doesn’t matter. Gone is gone. He will forever be 46. Jeff and Dawn started out as friends in the Fall of 1997. They started to date in January of 1999. On September 3rd, 2000, in front of a beautiful lake, Jeff asked Dawn to be his wife, lover and friend forever. She excitedly accepted, and on June 30th, 2001, they became husband and wife. Together, Jeff and Dawn had 3 children...Ali, Josh & Meghan. During the majority of their 17 years of marriage, Dawn was a housewife and Jeff ran a fencing company. The kind of fencing that keeps children and animals contained. Not the kind of fencing that uses a sword. After Jeff passed, Dawn went back to school to get her special education endorsement. She is proud to be a special education teacher. In her free time, she can usually be found spending time with family and friends. Reading has been her passion since she was just a little girl, but since Jeff passed, she has found it hard to focus on reading. While that is a negative change that has happened on her journey, one positive change is that she has been writing more. Dawn tries to be very open about her journey with the hopes that it will help even just one other person better understand grief. For years, Dawn has been passionate about spreading joy to those around her. She continues to be that way, and now she is very purposeful about trying to focus on the positive things even during a horrible situation. She moves forward on this journey with her mind focused on continuing to honor Jeffrey, as well as trying to raise their three wonderful children in a way that will make him proud. Her hope is to live a life that will allow her to see Jeff in Heaven. She wants to see his smile again and feel his arms around her. Of course, that will be after she hopefully hears her Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”