On this day, sixteen years ago, sitting about three miles from where I am now, I logged into MySpace and my world forever changed.

This was the day that some guy in California, who had friended me a few days prior, sent me a message, and well, the rest is history.

You might be guessing that the message came from my late husband Bret, and you’d be right.  In the lore of our time together, this date came to be known as “Communication Day” as this was the day we began communication.

Bret always claimed to be huge on “communication”, but didn’t always express himself in the most effective of ways. I, too, was always big on communication, but maybe too much so.

Being transparent and open have always been important qualities to me, and anything Bret wanted to know, I happily told him. Unfortunately, he often used my openness against me, and regularly picked fights with me over some detail of my life that he decided to take issue with.

While I always appreciated this particular anniversary, soon I became a bit disgruntled at its name, because it seemed like “communication” was something that only got me into trouble.

This eventually turned me into less of a forthcoming person, which can be equally detrimental.

Over the last few years, I have attempted to find the balance between being an open book and an enigma. I absolutely prefer transparency, but in this day and age, one has to be especially careful with how much we share with others. That, and I still carry scars from the way my honesty was used against me, for so long.

Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in open, honest communication, and recommend it to anyone who has any kind of problem in any facet of their lives.

Is communication painful at times? Of course it is. But all growth is painful.

I still acknowledge the day that was at one time, Communication Day, by taking inventory of things in my own life, that might benefit from more communication. I look at areas where I’m clammed up, as well as where I tend to froth at the mouth.

Of course, Facebook memories of these kinds of dates can sometimes slap me in the face, and I have to dive down into my feels again, but that’s another thing that I allow for myself; I feel what I’m gonna feel, when I’m gonna feel it, and then I can move forward.

Stifling feelings is as detrimental as cutting off communication.

Sixteen years before I regularly contributed to a blog about widowhood, this day was of little consequence to me. Then it turned into an anniversary of sorts. And now it’s a day of reflection.

I allow myself to reflect on the good, as well as the bad, so I can remind myself about what’s healthy for me and what’s not.

Because sometimes the best person with whom to communicate openly, is yourself.

 

***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: https://hopeforwidows.org/grant/ 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 info@hopeforwidows.org ***

About 

Layla Beth Munk is a blogger & author who was thrust into this widowhood journey abruptly and tragically on February 11, 2018. Her husband of 12 years had ended his pain once and for all. She soon made the decision that she would not let his final decision define the rest of her life or their daughter’s life, so with her sense of humor at the helm, she started writing about her newfound station in life. Grief waves still get to her, and probably always will, but with the help of her fellow widows as well as my friends and family, she has been able to realize her dream of becoming a published author! Layla is so grateful to Hope For Widows Foundation for providing this level of support to her, and so many others! Layla has two amazing children, one who is grown and one who is almost grown. She lives in eastern Oregon and has a wellness & beauty background. Layla enjoys writing poetry, watching anime, and homeschooling her daughter.

Her blog can be found at laylabethmunk.medium.com and her debut novella, 24 Hours in Vegas, is available on Amazon.