Our daughter is turning 16.

Her 10th birthday was the last one he would ever see.

I’ve written quite a bit about my own milestones that he’s missed, as well as the ones that were significant to our relationship.

With time those have gotten easier, but I must admit that him missing his youngest child’s sweet sixteenth, stings.

The last time he saw her, she was still much shorter than me.

She had long, curly hair that had been colored a mermaid-like blue-green.

She was a little girl.

Now, I have to look up to look at her.

She’s had a litany of different hairstyles, lengths, and colors. (Currently, it’s long and dark purple.)

She’s a teenager, but she’s also a statuesque, young woman.

And he’s not here to see any of it.

He’s not going to join us for sushi – her choice. And he loved sushi, so he would have been very impressed by that!

He’s not teaching her the rules of the road – I am.

So much has changed, and yes, there will always be heartache behind that.

But you know what?

There is so much to be proud of.

I’m proud of our daughter – she’s one of the strongest people I know.

I’m even proud of me. I’ve pulled off six of her birthdays without him.

And now we’re pulling off her Sweet 16.

No, there’s no classic Chevrolet Chevelle waiting in the driveway with a big red bow. (Her name is Chevelle, by the way.)

But give me a few more of these birthdays and there very well may be.

We grow more, we heal more every year.

And since I believe he’s seeing all of this, I hope he is just as proud of us too.


Happy Sweet Sixteen to My Chevelle Noir! You never cease to inspire me. Thank you for choosing me to be your mama! 


Photo from Sixteen Candles, via Lifetime


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.