Out of the ashes, I continue to rise as I try and find the beauty life has to offer still. My world stopped that day. I forgot how to breathe and had to have someone tell me to breathe as I sat there and tried to process the words the police officer spoke. He passed away.

My world was on fire ashes were all that was left. Home no longer was home. I sobbed on the phone with my sister when she called me to see how I did not know how to lay down for bed with memories dancing around me. He was gone and I was still here.

Running away from the pain. Trying to outrun the grief. Everywhere I turned there was more flames. I gave in and watched the world burn around me leaving the ashes of the life I knew and wanted on the ground. Going numb was the only way to survive. He was gone and I was going to lose more.

Finally snapping out of it long enough to know I had to fight the darkness. I needed to rise from this dust the ashes off of me and continue to live. There are moments and days when the flames kick back up and try to take the small bit of happiness I have found. But they burn out leaving more ashes in their wake.

Making peace with the voices in my head that told me it was my fault he was gone. Recognizing that the events of that week did not define the eight years we had. Sorting through our relationship on repeat for months. Trying to find something in the ashes that was still whole.

Laughing for the first time since he died and not feeling guilty. Smiling and having a good time and not battling the voice that said that I shouldn’t be happy. Ashes start to disappear as I rise out of them.

Writing a new future for myself one that he is not in. Dreaming that he is alive. Grieving the future, I thought I would have. Buying my house as the next step in rising out of the ashes.

From the moment that life seemed worth living again wanting to get a new tattoo. At first I wanted to get something to honor him and I still might do that later on. Deciding that I want a phoenix with a broken watch instead. To symbolize rising out of the ashes when time stopped.

Knowing that I needed to do that when I was ready and found an artist I would trust. And two and a half years after he passed away, I am doing it. I have spent a good amount of time debating what I wanted and I know that this is the perfect thing to remember about this chapter of my life.

There are still ashes around me and I am still rising out of them but day by day I am finding surviving easier than the last. I can be happy and smile. Fighting to want to get out of bed and live is not something I do very often now and that alone is an achievement.




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- Healingporcupine.com.