2021 was my first year without Matt after nine years of  knowing him. I am not going to lie and say that I remember too much of it. Brain fog hit me hard for the first six months of the year as my mind tried to work out the reality of him really being gone. Healing was my word for the year and that is what I did.

2020 was not anywhere near a good year for me and I needed to work through the pain and figure out what my life had become. February 2020 grandma got sick the first time my life at home changed dramatically as the level of care she needed to be changed. In March 2020 the world shut down but Matt and I still had to work. I feared bringing home Covid to grandma or him. October 2020 Matt died and then in November 2020 my grandma landed in the hospital for the second time, and they told us she would not make it long. She rang in 2021 with me.

Reflecting on the past year I did do some healing. I have worked on making peace with the things I can not change. There is no living in the world of what-ifs it is not something that is productive. I wish I could change a few things but who lives life with no regrets. It took most of the year for me to realize this, but I am glad I made my peace with it.

At the beginning of 2021, I had the incorrect thought of after a year I would magically be better. Maybe it was wishful thinking or the fact that I need timeframes to survive. I realized around July that October was not going to come around and I would magically be better.

At the beginning of the year, I took writing your grief blog. The prompts helped me navigate parts of my grief that I didn’t know I needed to tend to. I was blogging on my personal blog daily. It was very therapeutic. But I was still struggling with life. I got up and went to work but had no happiness.

In July I went to Maine and spent time with my best friend. That is where I found my peace. We spent time by the ocean and in the woods. Nature renewed my soul. And though part of it is missing I figured out how to live again. Day by day, month by month I feel better I am healing the parts that need it. I started to heal in the second part of 2021.

October marked a year I still have days that it does not feel real. That I wake up and I am confused at where I am and why he is not here. But for the most part, I don’t have to remind myself every day. When I turned thirty-three in September, I decided that I was going to spend this coming year reclaiming myself.

As with all people who I am got bound up in my relationship. And with healing comes being able to do that thing we did and making our dreams happen without feeling guilty. I have been doing that it started with buying the farm which terrifies me, but it is an exciting step. Next up remember that I am a gamer at heart.

I haven’t decided what my word will be for 2022 yet. But as this year closes and I prepare for the next. For my second year without my partner. This week I am going to reflect on what I want the new year to look like in terms of continuing my healing. I have learned more then I ever thought I would about greif in 2021 and look forward to taking those things into 2022 and making it the best year I can.

The biggest takeaway I have for the year is don’t rush your healing. Take your time with it and do it in the best way for you. If it is going to therapy, crying in the shower, walking in the woods, watching the waves roll in, or being angry do you don’t let anyone tell you how to heal. It will be different for everyone and there is no timeline on it. As we say goodbye to 2021 I hope that we all can heal more together.


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.