Last Sunday was Easter and I was doing everything in my power to make it perfect for my grandma. Every holiday, since she went on hospice, has been this way. In my mind, I think this could be the last one and I put pressure on myself. My grief got in the way last Sunday and instead of eating dinner with her, I was in my car having a meltdown.

I am not just grieving the empty chair at the holidays I am also grieving the empty chair that might be next year. A month after Matt died my grandma went to the hospital, I knew she wanted to die at home and without a second thought, I brought her home. In a way, I have not fully grieved Matt because I am taking care of my grandma. I am a grieving caregiver.

For ten months I slept on the floor of our living room because that is where she needed me. There were nights that I would miss Matt and cry silently. Finally, she told me I could sleep upstairs again. I was forced to face the room Matt and I shared. I was able to put off doing that for months because I was a grieving caregiver and I had something else to do.

My grandma has been going downhill a bit more lately. She gets confused. I joke that she sees dead people and maybe she is really seeing them, and they are not just hallucinations. Mostly she sees my uncle and then ends up asking me where he went over and over to the bed. Two weeks ago, she asked about Matt and when I reminded her that he had died she said but I saw him the other day. Last night she asked if her mom had gone to bed, she passed thirty years ago.

These are the nights that I wished that I had Matt. After last Sunday my emotions have been all over the place and I was struggling at work all week. Our operations manager was talking to me Friday and I had to admit I am not okay. Grieving my husband and taking care of my grandma is taking a toll on me mentally around the holidays. His response was awesome as he said if you ever wake up on a Saturday and just need someone to talk to I hope you know you can always call me.

Life has taken me on a wild ride, and I do everything I can to keep going. Yesterday morning my grandma was bat shit crazy and just needed to sleep so I looked at my dad and said I am going to the farm. I sat on the stand for a moment and Holly came over and nuzzled into me and I sat there hugging her and just relaxing. She was one of the sheep that Matt helped raised and I always think that Matt is telling her I need a hug.

This grieving caretaker fears the day that she is just grieving and has no one to care for because then I will have to deal with everything I avoid. For now, though I am going to enjoy the time I have left with my grandma. And on the bad nights wish Matt was here to help me. Knowing that If she is seeing the dead people that loved her maybe they are coming to take her home. If Matt is there to help her go to heaven, then I know in a way he is still taking care of me.

**Have you heard about Hope for Widows Foundation’s annual Restoring Hope & Peace Grant program? It was established by the organization in 2019 to help widowed women offset financial challenges as they navigate their healing journey. You can find out details, timeline, and the history of this grant here: All widows based in U.S. and Canada are encouraged to apply. Applications open on National Widows Day, May 3, 2022. For additional questions feel free to email **



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-