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August 29, 2014 – THE day.

I think back to that day more often than I’d like to admit.  I sit with those feelings a lot, perhaps too much according to some. Time IS relative and people seem to forget that.

It took me a long time (at least in my estimation) to find the love of my life, my soulmate, my heart. When we did find each other, we spent as much of our time together as we could get away with. We had a total of 21 years, five months, and five days together as a married couple. We were together one year and nine months before that.  

It took three years, fourteen days, and seven hours to tear him away from me.

I sit with that a lot. 

When you love someone like I loved him, you know exactly how much time you had. It becomes a factor in nearly every thought you have, every memory you consider, about your love.

I’ll admit it to you all – I resent very deeply that the rest of our time together was snatched from us. I resent it to the high heavens and the depths of my soul.  I don’t think anyone realizes how furious I am about it.

Furiously. Sitting. 

I feel like screaming to the heavens – “You made me wait for the ONE! Then you had the NERVE to snatch him from me like that! I demand that you give him back to me. We had more to do together!”

Screaming and Sitting.

While I was furious and screaming and sitting, people have looked me square in the eyes and said these things to me:

You had 20-plus years with him. Be grateful for that.

Yes, I feel damned lucky to have had my King for the length of time I did.

You had two beautiful sons together. Look to them.

We do have two handsome Princes. I look to them every day.

He’s gone. The past has passed. Look to the future.

Really? What choice do I have?

He would want you to live your life, perhaps find someone new.

Oh, shut up!

My personal favorite has always been: It’s been x number of years. It’s time for you to move on.

“Move on” has become one of my least favorite phrases, right behind “He’s in a better place.”

Since my Hub died, I have had to keep living. Time didn’t stand still for me and our boys. My sons needed me.  I could not just spend days curled up in a ball. Bills had to be paid. The boys had to eat, sleep, go to school, all the things that kids do.  I had to work.  My time has been spent continually picking myself up, shaking things off, and going forward. I don’t allow myself time to marinate in my sorrow very often. But when I do, I don’t want to be shamed or bothered about it. It’s my time with him and I need and deserve it.

I take as much time as I need..sitting…screaming…feeling furious…reflecting on the good memories too…Then I pick myself up and keep things moving.

I was told once that I spend too much time with this “widow stuff”. As if becoming widowed hasn’t been written on the very fabric of my being.  

I wish people would stop telling me how to spend my time. I want to say -“my grief and I are just fine and this is our time together.”


Cheryl Barnes was born in Atlanta, Georgia and after several moves with her family, settled in Indianapolis, Indiana. She attended college at Indiana University Bloomington, majoring in Public and Environmental Affairs Management. While she attended college, she laid eyes on Martin “Tony” Barnes and was completely lost. They became inseparable and were married on December 24th, 1991. After five years of marriage, their first son, Malcolm, was born on New Year’s Eve, 1991. After Tony obtained his Master’s Degree in Social Work, the family moved to Orlando, Florida. Tony worked as a counselor, while Cheryl got her dream job working at Walt Disney World. Two years later, their second son, Miles, was born in July 2004. Cheryl left Disney and took a job in accounting at a property management company. Everything seemed to be going well for the family and Cheryl made plans to attend nursing school. However, in July 2011, Tony was diagnosed with end stage renal failure caused by lupus. For the next three years, Cheryl cared for her husband while taking care of the boys and working. Tony’s health deteriorated as a result of several complications until he passed away on August 29, 2014. Thus began her new journey as a widow and solo parent.
Cheryl was devastated at the loss of her beloved Tony, but continued to work and care for their sons as she had before. As a way to work through her grief, she started writing, at first, only for herself. But, being encouraged by others, she began publishing her blog, “Widowness and Light.” Along with writing and being involved with several widows groups on Facebook while raising her boys, she works as a training bookkeeper at an association management company.
She plans to go back to school and obtain a Master’s in Social Work so that she can help other widowed persons cope with their losses. She is also working on a book about her grief journey.
Her hobbies are reading, attending Orlando Magic games, yoga, going to the beach, and just chilling with her boys.
Additionally, she is also the founder of Black and Widowed: A Unique Journey, a Private Facebook group and a contributing author of the book, Widowed But Not Wounded: The Hustle and Flow of 13 Resilient Black Widowed Women.
You can also reach Cheryl through her public Facebook page, Widowness and Light, which is based on her widowed journey.