New years are usually preceded by celebration along with fireworks and music. There is reflection on the events of 2023 and resolutions for 2024. The resolutions are intended to help us improve how we feel about ourselves and reestablish our goals. For a widow, this is very difficult as our reflections and resolutions are quite different. Each year without our loved one holds a different type of “difficult”.

For me the first year was a blur of disbelief. It was unimaginable to welcome a new year without Monty. Every year he usually fell asleep on the couch. I made sure he had a comfortable spot with a blanket and his pillow. He looked so sweet sleeping that it was hard to wake him right before midnight, but I did, every year. He would look up with his sweet, sleepy eyes and ask, “Is it midnight?” I would hand him a glass of champagne and say, “Almost!” We would count down the last ten seconds together, say, “Happy New Year!”, kiss and hug, and toast to the coming year.

Last New Year’s Eve I spent alone. I watched movies and concerts until the count down. I glanced at the couch where he would be sleeping and felt absolute disbelief that he wasn’t lying there. I counted down with the television and called my sons and texted my sisters to wish them a happy new year. I cried, but not on the phone. Those were private tears.

When I reflect on 2023, I see where I was and where I am now. In 2022, I was so lost without Monty. I didn’t know what to plan or how to plan. The tears were at the ready all the time. I cried through every first but I survived. June 2, 2022, would have been his 64th birthday, October was our 8th wedding anniversary, and then there was the first holiday season.

2023, the second year without Monty, I thought would be easier but it had its own challenges. May marked one year from when he was killed and then came all the seconds—his birthday, my birthday, our anniversary, and this second holiday season. This was also the year his killer was sentenced. The second year was not easier. It was more difficult in a profoundly life-changing sort of way. I knew Monty was gone and that he was not coming back. But I still see him with my mind’s eye sleeping on the couch, lying next to me in bed, brushing his teeth at his sink next to mine, and laughing out loud as I watch something I knew he would like.

This past year, I worked through my grief and did everything I could to move through. I read books, journaled, worked out, went to counseling, meditated, became active at church, planned trips, and applied myself at work. All of this was very good but grief still must run its course and that course looks different for every widow.

For me, I couldn’t imagine that life would be any sadder than that first year but there were still moments of overwhelming sadness. I could see how there were also more happy moments. His photos made me smile. There was more laughter and joy in my life and I made subtle changes in our home. Some of his clothes and personal belongings were given away but there is still plenty left in his closet. Everything in its own time. There truly is no timetable.

This is the second New Year’s Eve without Monty. I plan to spend it with my son and his husband. I imagine we will have a nice meal, watch fun movies and concerts, and wait for the countdown. We will bring in the new year with a mixture of gladness and tears. Gladness for our blessings and tears for the reality of loss. For me, that loss is no longer covered in a widow’s fog but it’s out there in the open where I can feel it and sense his absence in a very deep way.

“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” – Rose Kennedy

As a widow, I reflect on how I’m being shaped into a different person. I loved truly and ever so deeply. Monty taught me the meaning of true love. And I have more love to give. Time is precious and we are not promised tomorrow. The scar is slowly covering my wound and, at times, it can still sting. I know the pain will lessen and I will find more joy mixed in with the sadness. Being a widow is not an end of life, it’s the beginning of a different life.

My resolution for 2024 is to continue working through my grief with the knowledge that my journey will include sadness and joy, loneliness and friendship, pain and healing, and, above all else, love.


Diana’s heart was shattered on May 6, 2022, when a reckless driver took the life of her husband, Monty, while walking across the street to go to work. Even though they were married for a mere seven years, Monty was her soulmate, best friend, true love, and entire life. They had been friends since 2008 and became one in 2014. The pain was crushing and intense. The future they planned of retirement and “happily ever after” was abruptly brought to an end. And so began the horrible roller coaster ride called Grief along with the new label of Widow.

By God’s grace and with the support of her family and close friends, she has continued to live moment by moment and day by day. She strives to put together the pieces of her shattered heart, knowing that it will never be the same but that it is still capable of love. Through praying, journaling, counseling, and meditating she works through the many phases of grief over and over again. Her hope is that the pain will permanently soften. She will continue to move forward by honoring Monty’s love and memories and becoming the new Diana that Monty will help to create.