When someone we love leaves this mortal coil, people are quick to assure us that they are still with us.

I honestly always believed that too, based on my own experiences with departed relatives. I have had so many lovely “visits” via my dreams and/or other coincidences that I’ve had no other choice than to believe that indeed, they are still with me.

I couldn’t sense my late husband after he passed though, at all.

No dreams, no vibes, no nothing at first; which was devastating to me. I truly felt abandoned.

I did eventually dream of him but still didn’t feel his presence right away. I know not everyone believes in that kind of thing, but I do and so did he. And like I said before, I had experienced and witnessed so many things in the past that my beliefs have been pretty ingrained in me.

So, why wasn’t he there? Where was he?

Eventually, little signs started appearing.

Thoughts that sounded exactly like him and in a way he would’ve said them would pop into my brain at random times.

A lot of this was “confirmed” to me when I visited with a Medium. She relayed messages about things that only he could’ve known. (Which was huge to me and my healing, although I understand it is not everyone’s cup of tea.)

I began to feel a little less abandoned by him.

But then I went through a long, long period of being incredibly angry at him.

Oh, he felt ever-present then!

I was never bothered by the fact that I felt his presence much more strongly when I was angry, but I did use it as an opportunity to audibly tell him about how badly his self-imposed exit had messed things up. I also told him how I was now processing the way he had often treated me in life and that it was going to take me a while to get past it all.

Once I did, though, his voice changed.

I began to “feel” him standing behind me at different times.

Sometimes I could sense advice or a suggestion.

There was no pettiness, no condescending tone as there had been far too many times when he was alive.

It didn’t feel so much like a “psychic” moment – he wasn’t whispering winning lottery numbers to me, or anything like that. It was more like coaching.



As awful as he could be to me when he was still alive, he also possessed the ability to convince me that I could do anything I wanted to do in life.

He was still doing it, only I never had to worry about him changing his tone and picking a fight with me.

Only his reassuring and unconditional support remained.

It is nothing for me to feel his presence behind me, in such a strong and compelling fashion, that oftentimes I have to acknowledge it out loud. This generally gets a laugh from whomever I’m with at the time.

He would have probably laughed too, but none of what he imparts is biased or emotionally driven. But it can be a very commanding feeling.

This strong presence actually recently let me know that, without a doubt, my current relationship is THE relationship for which I have been waiting my whole life, and he wanted me to let my partner know this. And he wanted me to know that I deserve this.

It was an odd and ironic thing to feel, but I know in my heart that the real Bret – the Bret that was often hidden under layers of destruction and sorrow – would absolutely want this for me and our daughter.

All of it is based in love, and love absolutely heals everything.

I was going through Facebook Memories yesterday when I was reminded of a photo shoot we had done nine years back.

There was a photo that I had forgotten, but clearly remember fondly when it pops back up in the Memories feed.

It was a shot of him standing behind me, in the distance, while I stare firmly ahead.

I had commented with sadness, several times over the last few years.

This time, I felt like saying something a little different:

He stands behind me exactly like that all the time. 
He’s been there this whole time.
It’s just now, I can hear him.

Every time I have seen that photo, I am also reminded of a beautiful song that I have loved since the ’90s by Third Eye Blind, called The Background:

I felt you long after we were through.And the plans I make still have you in them,Cause you come swimming into view,And I’m hanging on your words like I always used to do,The words they use so lightly, I only feel for you,I only know this because I carry you around,In the background.

As a widow, I know that it is important to keep my focus firmly ahead, moving forward and not falling backward.

But there is a reason for the expression “I got your back.”

He still has my back.

Photo by David Blake Photography/via Layla Beth Munk



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 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.