Say Their Name. Remember. Honor.

Amanda: Does walking today make you sad

Me: No.

Amanda: Jay has been having a hard time with it.

Jay is my nephew Matt was the first major death that he has experienced. And while the rest of us are finding ways to cope he has been unable to talk about Matt. I know mentioning Matt upsets him so I don’t often say his name in front of Jay.

Today we took part in our first Widows of Hope 5K. Yesterday marked another milestone in my grief journey 1.5 years ago he passed away. It was not expected which was a first for me. I was a mess and went to spend the Saturday before the service with my sister and family to get out of the house.

Jay came home with me that night and then insisted on staying with me that Sunday as well. I think he was trying to support me in the only way he knew how. Being there and making me watch cartoons like Frozen all weekend. We did not talk about it because I couldn’t.

In the weeks and months that followed we did not talk about Matt all that much. As much as I wanted to my heart could not take it and most of the time it felt like someday I would wake up and he would be sleeping on the couch. It took me six months or more to be able to say his name.

I learned to be vulnerable about my grief. Learned to talk about it. Figured out that it was okay to be sad when saying his name and remember him. I have learned to think about the good memories and try not to think about the bad.

Part of me wonders if I failed Jay in his grieving. Matt taught Jay to play Magic something that I have not been able to play since Matt died. Jay would ask me to play and I would avoid it. I need to get a new deck. Playing with Jay would not only benefit him but it would also help me in my healing.

I need to do better at saying his name, remembering and honoring him. Not just talking about him but also about honoring him in doing things we did together. Remembering the fun we had while playing games. Honoring him by teaching them to Jay.

To move forward in my grief journey, I need to reconnect with who I am. I am the hidden nerdy girl that loves to play video games. That girl who loved putting together magic decks with him and testing them out when they finished. Who forgot that part of herself when he died because it was too painful to remember.

I am going to try my hardest to play something other than Pokemon Go this month. Play something with my nephew. Talk about Matt with him. Make it something that is normal. Teach him that although matt is not with us anymore he lives on through us.

Today I walked to honor Matt. To remember the person I loved with the people that love and support me. It was raining and cold but it was worth it to me. On the way home I saw a red shoulder hawk just sitting on a telephone pole. I have seen one when I am thinking about Matt often. It made me smile and feel like he is with me.



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-