Today is the 25th of the month. And a Monday. A date on the calendar that changed my life forever. A reminder of the worst day of my life.

It’s been 49 months since that date on the calendar struck, and it still catches me when it arrives.

In the early months of this journey, I would anticipate the 25th of each month knowing it was another month marked without him. I would see the 25th coming on the calendar and know that a grief wave would hit, and I’d need to take a moment to be sad, reflect and feel the sadness that day. When the 25th  would land on a Monday it would be even worse. I would dread it. And I would brace myself to be ready for it.

As the months moved by, I found that sometimes 25th would fly right by and I didn’t even notice it. And then maybe on the 27th or 28th I would think maybe this is healing and I won’t be haunted by that date anymore.

Other months I look at the date and just stare at the numbers. And it hits me. It’s the 25th…another month without him. Sometimes I stare at the date and relive that terrible day in my mind.

Like today. I sat down for work and looked at my calendar and it was staring right at me. Today is the 25th.  Oh yeah…and it’s Monday. Cue the unexpected wave of grief.

I’ll never forget every detail of the chaos that Monday morning on the 25th turned into. He woke me up after his shower, as he usually did. But this time he told me he wasn’t feeling good. That he had felt bad during the night and had bad heartburn. Other than that, he felt ok. He didn’t think it was an emergency. I asked him all the questions indicating a heart attack. None of those answers were yes. Little did either of us know heartburn is a sign.

I took a shower, and he got the kids ready for daycare. We agreed I’d take him to the ER after we got the kids off just to be safe. My world turned upside down minutes later when I found him lying on the floor unresponsive.

I vividly remember the chaos of finding him. Our 2-year-old crying because I tripped over her to get the phone. Conducting CPR while on the phone with the 911 dispatcher. Our 5-year-old letting the EMTs in the house when they arrived. Watching them leave our house without Seth because there was nothing more they could do. Deciding which funeral home should come and get him. Calling his parents. All of that before 8:30am.

That day on the calendar will forever remind me of the utter shock and shattered heart that came on a normal Monday morning. The day a beautiful life was cut way too short.

So, while we move forward in life, grief never leaves us. It’s always by our side and is sometimes silent, and other times a roaring wave washing over us with memories and emotions that we are all too familiar with, yet also hit us by surprise.

With time, the triggers don’t last as long, and sometimes don’t hit as hard. But now I know when they hit to sit with them, let them wash over me and it will pass.

And I remind myself that the grief is as deep as the love we felt. And still feel. No matter how much time passed.


Dena's life was forever changed on June 25, 2018, when she became suddenly redefined as a widow. A title she never thought she would have, or not have for at least another 40 years or more. Her healthy 43-year-old
husband suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, leaving her shocked, heart shattered and left, at age 41, to raise their precious 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter without him. Since gaining this new title, she is continually trying to figure out how to live this new life, and have
leaned into her faith, has focused on being brave, and has taken head on all of the challenges she is now faced with in this new life. Dena is here to share her story as she is living it and to be honest and raw, providing insight into the life of a sudden widow with a full-time career and two young children. Dena learned the importance of what she has gained through living a life well lived with her beloved spouse, and she has been writing what is on her mind and in her heart, everything from the pain of losing a spouse suddenly, to focusing on gratefulness and being brave in this journey. She hopes to give others insight into what this journey looks like and provide thoughts on how she is managing through it all. And hopefully inspire some of her hope sister's along the way.

You can read more and follow me on Instagram @suddenlyredefined or on her Facebook page Suddenly Redefined.