Living Wide is choosing to maximize the width of your life because we have no control over the length. The concept of Living Wide was founded by Gregory Todd Jones after he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016. Living Wide is an organization dedicated to helping people live with joy, hope, meaning, and purpose in spite of profound uncertainty.

I first heard the term Living Wide when I watched last weeks episode of American Ninja Warrior. My husband and I loved this show because the participants not only compete and overcome many obstacles to become strong and agile, but they always support and encourage their competitors. There are always many heartwarming stories of triumph over tragedies or overcoming seemingly impossible circumstances. Living Wide is designed to inspire hope and galvanize courage when life throws curveballs that threaten to wipe you out.

Christopher Harding Jones is a 17-year-old from Georgia who came to compete on American Ninja Warrior’s obstacle course in honor of his dad, Gregory. His dad was his coach to train him to be a Ninja Warrior by building him obstacle courses at home before lung cancer took his life. The Living Wide Ninja brought honor to both his dad and his whole family when he became the first qualifier of the season and hit that buzzer. You can watch the clip of his great run here. My heart was so touched by this young man’s courage and love for his dad.

As I thought about his story, I realized this concept could be applied to widows. It’s from a different angle, because while we are profoundly impacted by the loss of our husband, we are not necessarily facing a life-threatening illness ourselves. However, the impact of our loss puts us at a 30% elevated risk of death in the first 6 months after we lose our spouse. It’s also been determined 60% of those who lose a spouse or significant other will experience a serious illness within 12 months.

Another reality many widows encounter is a profound change in our identity, as well as significant social, economic and emotional challenges that may impact our life and lifestyle as we knew it. Widows are vulnerable on many levels. How we handle all this change, how much support we have, and how adequate our support system is, will all impact how successfully we negotiate the transition we are forced to face.

Our personal attitude about life is another intensely important component. We have the opportunity to embrace life and live wide. When we choose to live “Widow Wide” we make a conscious effort to believe we can take control of our future… because the truth is no one knows how long we will live. We can choose to fill our days spending time with the people we love. Look for the things in this life that will give experiences to bring joy. Choose activities we care about and set goals to help us live with purpose. Find an opportunity to give to someone else in need, possibly a sister widow.

We have a deeper understanding of how fleeting and fragile life is. Most of us planned to have much longer with our beloved husband. Whether he was taken suddenly or battling illness, we probably almost all thought we would have more time. I know I did.

I encourage each of you to embrace life. I know it’s not easy. Choose to keep pressing forward. Set meaningful goals. Take as long as you need to, but whatever you do… keep moving. Let’s make living “Widow Wide” a movement of hope… a movement of success. This is the dawning of Your future! God bless you.


Teri’s dance with grief actually began over five years before she watched her beloved husband of almost 37 years take his last breath and enter Heaven’s door on October 6, 2019. A terminal degenerative neurological disease steadily and increasingly attacked nearly every major system of his body and transformed him from a vibrant, brilliant, strong and caring man to a bedfast invalid at the end. She was devoted to caring for him and doing her best to make the most of every minute they had left, to love him and pray for a miracle.

She thought she knew what her future held, but she had no idea. Losing him was the first time she experienced a close and personal loss. He was the love of her life. The onslaught of the pandemic with its reign of fear-mongering, forced isolation and separation entering the scene and disrupting or destroying whatever sense of “normal” that remained, just added insult to injury.

Her faith in God is the sustaining force keeping her fighting spirit to find and share hope in a bright future. Her heart’s desire is to walk beside her fellow widows toward a path of promise and healing. She wants to offer encouragement and hope so others can find the strength to take that next breath or next step. She recently started her own blog,, to share with other widows not only the struggles and hardships of widowhood, but the triumphs. Her hope is found in leaning on the Lord Jesus to enjoy a God inspired future anchored in expectation He will bring us to a fulfilling and meaningful life.