March 8th was International Women’s Day.

My Facebook newsfeed was full of beautiful posts about and tributes to this annual celebration of women.

Many of the posts that colored my feed were from my widowed friends; both widows and widowers taking the time to honor the women in their lives.

These posts were incredibly heartwarming to me because they were a lovely and timely reminder that as widows, we have a lot to be proud of.

Even when we are falling apart, we get ourselves back together.

When we are sad, we laugh again.

We have learned to deal with our lives after losing our person, and many of us have learned that we are capable of loving again as well. Some of us have chosen and perfected living single.

Some have made career and educational changes while others have decided to travel.

Some might be doing a mix of all of the above, or something entirely different.

We all experienced enormous changes when we became widowed, and honestly more of us need to be more proud of ourselves because we got through it. (Or we are getting through it.)

How awesome is it that we were able to take one of the worst things we’ve ever experienced (if not THE worst) and grow from it? Adapt from it? Experience acceptance because of it?

One of the most illuminating things that ever dawned on me after Bret’s death was that yes, Death “took” from me – but Life “gave back” to me.

Sometimes I still get down and ruminate on all that has been taken from me, but then I remember how I felt when I did my taxes myself, the first time, or when I bought a house all on my own.

This was my 5th International Women’s Day since I became a widow, and I can assure you that this one is so much different than the first one, which was less than a month after he died.

I can honestly say that I am proud of the things I’ve learned that I am capable of. I am inspired by and proud of my widowed friends and their growth as well.

It is my hope that whoever is reading this can take a look at themselves in the mirror and tell themselves “I’m proud of you.”

I’m proud of you too. 

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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 and her debut novella, 24 Hours in Vegas, is available on Amazon.