Thursday afternoon after spending the day learning some great things at a conference. Tools that I am going to apply to my life and career. When someone was talking about benefits and the value of giving life insurance, the example given was a guy having a heart attack and his wife having some money to help pay for things.

And just like that, I felt my heart rate spike. My fight-or-flight reaction was triggered, and I had no choice but to just breathe through it. Pretend in a room full of strangers that I was okay. I just want to run out of the room and drive away.

Once the final presentation was done, I grabbed my bag and prepared my escape. When someone said let’s take a group photo together. Smile pretend you are fine played in my head as I exited.

In the months after Matt died people would joke about having heart attacks. And my brain would go to a place of anger as it was not something that was funny any longer. As I knew that it could now happen. Young people can drop dead from a heart attack.

I can be dark and twisted joking about death and loss. It is how I cope with the feelings. And now I can handle the heart attack jokes without wanting to yell. But a true story about someone having a heart attack still gets me.

I pictured his poor wife getting that call. Not processing that he is gone. Did she have to go to the hospital? In the days after did she wonder how she was going to pay all their bills now. Feeling relief when she found out about the life insurance money.

Guilt that comes with the relief. Did she feel alone like no one understood her pain? I hope people did not say  “But he was too young to have a heart attack”  to her.

The talk on relaxation went through all of our charkas and when she started talking about the heart charka I realize that for all the healing I am doing i am not focusing on the right healing.

My heart is still recovering from that moment. I started to do yoga again last night. Meditation has not been easy for me, but last night I tried it and felt peace wash over me. I need to heal the part of me that I have been ignoring.

Over the last few years, I have been in survival mode for most of it and now I have to train my mind that there is no threat to me. That things are finally starting to turn around.To relax so that I don’t have anxiety when someone says heart attack. Finding the balance between working so I have a distraction and don’t have to feel and actually living. I am starting to venture down that path and I hope to emerge stronger at the other end.

Mark your calendars! Hope For Widows Foundation’s annual virtual Widows of Hope 5K event has returned on Friday, May 12 through Sunday, May 14, 2023. Anyone can join! Whether you are a widow, widower, or a friend/family member showing support or walking in the loss of another family member, everyone is welcome to participate. The proceeds will directly support widows through the annual financial Restoring Hope and Peace Grants, Sunshine Boxes program, and Bring Hope Holiday Assistance Program. Do you have or know a business that would like to sponsor? That’s an option too! To register and frequently asked questions- please go here:




Laurel became a young widow on October 2, 2020, her husband Matt had a heart attack he was only 37. Matt was a juvenile diabetic and they always knew he would die young but she never thought that she could be a widow at 32. Navigating grief with anxiety, regrets and guilt have been a struggle for Laurel. They had gotten into a fight days before he died and they had talked about divorce. One of the things that helped her the most is finding other widows who understood the pain she was feeling. In February she decided to start writing her story. Self-care is something else she started to do daily and art has become her outlet to get what she is feeling out which she shares on her Instagram. Being a young widow comes with its own challenges but we are not alone in this journey.
You can find her on Instagram @HealingPorcupine or her personal blog link-