It was about a month ago when I had the meltdown. I was struggling to remember the Celebration of Life we had for Douglas. Who was there, what was said, how did it all look? I kept telling myself, Why didn’t you have someone take pictures of the service?

I went to my safe a week ago to grab the USB stick with our last professional family photos. As I grabbed the case it was in, I noticed there was another USB stick on top. Pushed it to the side thinking it was photos my daughter had done. I went through the family photos and decided to look at the other USB.

Inserted it into my laptop and clicked upload. Tears began to fill my eyes as I slowly watched hundreds of photos load onto my laptop. Grabbed a tissue to soak up the tears so I could see the photos clearly. Here I sat with a racing heart as I scrolled through the most beautiful photos of my husband’s Celebration of Life.

Grief/shock can completely wipe your mind of things. It has been seven years since Douglas passed and I would have bet money there were no photos. I mean a month ago I had a complete meltdown about it. But I am the only one that would have had access to my safe to place that USB stick securely.

With a cracking voice, I sent a message to the amazing photographer and thanked them for these photos. Explaining that I didn’t even recall having them.

Clicking through each photo, examining them from corner to corner, I came across the most powerful photo. I gasped as it came into focus. Overwhelming emotions filled me as goosebumps covered every inch of my body.

Staring for a few minutes at this single photo, I wanted to tell the soul in it so much. She needed to hear what I now see. So, I wrote her a letter.

Oh, dear one,

As I look at this photo. I see you standing behind the casket of your best friend and husband, with your head down. I recall the absolute pain your body was feeling that day. I remember the thoughts that ran through your head, “this is not how my life was supposed to be.” Today as I stared at the photo, I see the power within her.

Studying every part of this amazing photo, I began to cry. The photo speaks volumes to the strength you exemplify. It was the passing of the baton, the changing of guards, it represents you taking the reins.

I only wished you knew then what I now know. The legs you are standing on will crumble, and you will fight to put air in your lungs. No one will understand your walk, and some will question your ability to continue on. I want you to know YOU WILL SURVIVE!

The moment you find strength in your legs, you will stand taller, walk bolder, and be planted in your faith. You will not be fighting to put air in your lungs forever. In fact, you are going to discover a voice that will impact many. It will be filled with not only you but also the voice of your best friend and husband. Some will come to understand your walk, while others will never understand. Although you were part of those questioning your ability to continue, girl, you are capable.

So, although the photo at a glimpse may shine a heartbroken wife and mother, I now see the widow that loved her husband more than any human will ever know. I see the most profound strength that will be admired by many. I see a vigorous female that will be a force to reckon with. Who is driven to share her story.

With Love

I am guessing the Lord knew I needed seven years before I could look through these photos. As a widow, I want you to look at yourself and not see the heartbroken wife that can’t breathe. In time I need you to look past her because deep within us all is that powerhouse female that has a story to tell.

Love and Blessings

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:

Also, mark your calendars; on

National Widows Day, May 3, 2023, the Restoring Hope and Peace Grant application process will open up. Please go here for criteria and details: https://hopeforwidows.or/grant/


Jacki Corta is a motivational speaker, intuitive life, and grief coach along with the founder and CEO of Strength > Struggle™. The brand she discovered after traveling the journey of cancer with her husband. She started the Strength>Struggle™ crusade, helping others find their inner strength during some of the scariest times. In 2014, her husband, Douglas was diagnosed with Glioblastoma brain cancer and 20 months later passed away, giving Jacki a new title… Widow. It is Jacki’s mission to share her story with the world and how it can positively impact others in whatever they may face. It is a story of unexplainable strength in life’s most challenging storms, overcoming adversity and finding hope while traveling the difficult path her life took.

It is her ability to communicate and willingness to be vulnerable that connects with her clients and audiences. Jacki believes her purpose here is to impact as many souls as possible showing them that through even the darkest days there is a glimpse of light to grab onto for them to find their strength. Jacki will empower, challenge, and give you a new outlook on your own story.

She is a mother of three adult girls and a Mimi to two beautiful granddaughters. You can follow more of her story and inspiration on Instagram @jackicorta or listen to her podcast Jacki Has a Voice on Spotify.