It’s not always the holidays, or birthdays, or anniversaries, but all the other little days that can knock me for a loop. I can prepare for and make plans to avoid stress on the special days. But what about when I click on facebook and there are the pictures of the last trip we took together. The one we planned and saved for and had a blast on. 

Or in church, the man in front of me gently puts his hand on his wife’s shoulder while singing – gives her a little rub –  and I fight the tears because I miss so much the way he did the same thing. 

Or I notice a barbecue restaurant and think of how many we went to over the years. How he loved mustard based sauce but wouldn’t touch Alabama white sauce with a ten foot pole. 

Or I’m listening to a favorite playlist and the song I had played at his funeral comes up – No Hard Feelings by the Avett Brothers or the one everyone sang, Beulah Land. 

Or I watch a baseball movie I’ve never seen and the team pulls out the big win at the end. I can hear in my head the little catch in his throat that he would get when his emotions got away from him. Baseball movies did it every time.

There is a memory around every corner. Sometimes it’s a feather, sometimes it’s a gut punch. But I have to think it’s an indication of a life well lived and well loved. I smile, even through the tears, at the joy of all the times we had together. As time passes, sometimes I can stop and reflect, then move on. And though there are still episodes of pure sobbing, they happen less frequently.  

I’m moving forward a little bit everyday, but my memories are coming with me. Our love sustains me. 

I took the picture above on one of my hikes in Alabama. it has deeper meaning for me now than it had then.


Angie Bell was born in Georgia but raised in Florida to where she recently returned after six years in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a former teacher who loves hiking, photography, and writing, often combining all three.

After planning for several years, working on a way to live on a shoestring budget, Angie’s husband of 41 years put in for early retirement so they could move back home. They put their house on the market and had a contract within four days. Less than two weeks later her husband was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. They decided to transfer his care and move back to Jacksonville, Florida, renting a furnished apartment and hoping for a miracle. One month later he was gone. After her third move in less than a year, Angie is now in Tampa where her grandchildren live, trying to find her way in her new life. God, in His mercy, has put numerous other widows in her life and a new empathy for this sisterhood she never would have chosen.