Hope for Widows is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. We are guided by the board of directors who create initiatives and make decisions for the good of our community. We also are guided by the many woman who are actively involved, sharing their story, thoughts, ideas and messages with our community. Message us if you are interested in getting involved.
Hope for Widows Named #1 Blog ranked out of 50 in the United States.
Kimberly Nicole Johnson
Kimberly Johnson is a GOD fearing author, woman, widow, wife, mom, nana, daughter, sister, friend, entrepreneur and breast cancer survivor.
Kimberly helped build her business and brand side by side with her husband. They were the first Black owned /operated husband & wife team with a business in Cincinnati, Ohio called OTR (Over The Rhine) also known as Incredible Creations Beauty & Barber Salon. Their Brand is very well known to the masses. Kimberly & Devan were more than regular salon owners; Kimberly is a platform artist, educator, and a mentor. Kim fought and won the fight over Breast Cancer in 2014 with her husband Devan. The love of her life was by her side every step of the way never leaving her to do it alone. Then to turn around and lose him suddenly & unexpectedly in 2016. She thought her hardest battle was in 2014 but when she lost her husband she realized that now was a crossroad for her. Kimberly has decided to rise from the storm and walk authentically & truthfully in her purpose! GOD showed her how to “Unleash the Power of Greatness’ within.
Kimberly has been thrust into her purpose of being an Author, releasing her first book ‘Walking without my Cane.’ Also, as a motivational speaker she is going to share, motivate & inspire others that a happy, fulfilling life is possible after facing such heartaches. She shares life can and will go on and it will be amazing despite what the past looks like. She will show others that your past doesn’t have to dictate how your future looks. She will show others how to be authentic, walk in their truth, live in the moment & just be. You can also find her on Instagram sharing her journey at @icdiamonds
You can visit her website to purchase her book and learn more at: https://www.kimberlynicolejohnson.com/
Mother. Writer. Painter. Runner. Student. Extroverted-Introvert. Lover of romantic novels. Wine
connoisseur. Poet. Concert junkie. Stay-at-home mommy. Wife…Or more recently, widow.
There are many different words and ways I would describe myself over the years, none of which I ever
thought would include the title of “widow”…Especially at the age of 30. Alas, I inherited the title on
September 29 th , 2017 when my young, healthy, 36 year old husband passed away suddenly and
unexpectedly. Life has given me the biggest, most unforeseen curveball I could have ever imagined, but in the wake of this tragedy, my late husband continues to motivate me to become a stronger woman and mother to
our four year old, little boy
When I am not chasing around our little guy, I have recently come to enjoy running and CrossFit, and trying to live a healthier, fuller lifestyle in honor of the man who stole my heart at 18, and in honor of the woman I want to become. I am also a full-time student going back for my Teaching License and an avid writer and reader…Both of which have saved my life throughout this journey in grief. There is nothing more beautiful and freeing then speaking your truth and absorbing the words and stories of others.
Kerry Phillips’ world was forever changed in March 2012 when just one week after her first wedding anniversary she got the call that no one wants to hear: your husband has died. Determined to not allow grief to drag her under, Kerry chose to become an advocate for the widowed community, sharing her own journey and those of other young widows. She also realized there was a void for widows and widowers wanting to venture back into the world of dating and started Young, Widowed & Dating. The online support group provides a forum for those seeking a Chapter 2 love story to share their dating adventures and insights into life after loss. Her weekly blog covers topics ranging from relationships with in-laws to dating while raising children and everything in between.
When she’s not blogging, Kerry is busy raising a feisty preschooler and power-walking her way through local 5K races.
Julia lost her husband in 2013 to a rare liver cancer when she was 28 years old. In the months and years afterwards, Julia continues to use her grief into a positive lifestyle change. She has been involved in NCAA Athletics for 14 years, and has continued to document her fitness, athletic and grief journey in her heartbreaking and honest blog The Unwanted W. Julia’s journey has been featured in US Lacrosse Magazine, SoulCycle, and The Guardian. She currently writes for an online fitness and nutrition journal and works as a professional fitness instructor in Montgomery, AL.
Who am I?
I am a mother, a friend, a daughter and most recently, a widow.
On August 12, 2016 my husband died and I went with him. I have been spending my days since trying to rediscover who I am. Slowly and painfully, the real Lindsey began to emerge from the rubble. I was unsure of my purpose but diligently pushed through and fought for something that offered a glimmer of hope. Through many long days of uncertainty and pain I finally realized that I am bigger than my tragedy, that grief has many faces, it’s not just tears.There is more, so much more and I intend on embracing every bit. I am here. I am hope. I am love.
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 single 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 is also a Board Member for Black Women Widowed Empowered.
Her hobbies are reading, attending Orlando Magic games, yoga, going to the beach, and just chilling with her boys.
Danielle Thompson was born in New York, and moved to North Carolina in 2009 with her husband and two boys. After an incredible job offer for her husband Jerry, they packed up their boys and relocated to California in the summer of 2015. In 2016 around Thanksgiving, her husband Jerry became sick where they found out very quickly that he had a late stage rare liver cancer. Jerry’s battle was short and he passed away in February of 2017. Danielle quickly moved back to North Carolina with her boys who are now 18 and 9 to grieve and heal. Part of her grieving is to share her journey to all that will hear, in hope that it will help someone going through the same thing. Danielle started her own blog called the This Widow Life early on and shared on social media to friends and family who encouraged her to keep writing. Danielle has met many other widows along her journey so far through her blog, social media groups, and local support groups. Danielle found hearing similar stories, encouraging and leaning on each other is vital on this path.
Along with blogging, Danielle has a background in accounting and is currently a licensed Real Estate agent.
Angie lost her husband of 15 years on May 1, 2017. Their daughter was in Hawaii at college and their son had celebrated his 13th birthday just three days before her husband’s sudden passing of a heart attack. His sudden loss left a deep void in their life and she struggled in a deep shocking grief while trying to navigate life without her partner and best friend. She started writing about her husband and began her own blog, Waiting on Superman, a few months after his passing. She has found writing her raw emotions a cathartic way to process his passing. She was a construction paralegal for many years, including years in which she and her husband owned their own businesses. While she is finding her new normal for herself and their children, she is getting outside her comfort zone by baking at a local bakery, working on starting her own business, and traveling with their children. She is a fierce and loving mom with high expectations of herself and what she feels called to do. Her goal in writing is to help other women who find themselves struggling to find their way after tragedy.
You can find her on Facebook at: Waiting on Superman
Sharon L. Grant
After being married for 6 years, 11 months, and 23 hours, Sharon L. Grant instantly became a member
of a “club” that no one desires to join, because the membership fee is too high (losing a spouse).
However, 19 years later, Sharon has reached a pinnacle in her life that has catapulted her to experience
the true love of God. Through the devastation of losing her husband and having to raise their two
daughters, who were three and one at the time of his death; Sharon finally understood that her life was
a “comma”, not a “period.” This transition caused a “pause” in her life, but it was not the “end” of her
Sharon is a mother, minister, motivational speaker, and author of two books, “Giving Up is Not an
Option: The Purpose for the Pain” and “Giving Up is Not an Option: Devotions from the Heart (a 90-day
devotional). Each of these books chronicle Sharon’s journey from hurt to healing and from tragedy to
triumph. After becoming an author, Sharon found other’s that wanted to write their story. From that
discovery, as of January 2018, Sharon created Ready to Write (RTW), a program that assists new authors
in writing their story. Sharon provides one-on-one writing instruction via onsite and online. Her desire is
to make an impact upon the lives of others, as they make an impact through their stories. For more
information, please visit www.impactingyourlife.com or contact Sharon at
As a blog writer for Hope for Widows, Sharon’s desire is to share transparent moments, valuable
information, quirkiness, and laughable moments. Her blogs will cause you to think, feel, laugh, and enjoy
every moment of your life. She will remind you that YOUR life still has a purpose and a plan, but it is up
to you to walk the journey.
Eileen Clarke is an average everyday woman whose life was torn apart on November 2, 2017 with the
sudden loss of her husband Patrick (Pat).
She is now in the process of taking a journey that she never asked for but must take nonetheless. Her hope that in sharing her journey she may be able to help other woman as she embarks on her own unplanned journey of grief and rebuilding.
Regina has been widowed for 14 years after her husband of almost 10 years passed away from injuries sustained while serving in Iraq. Though they’d had a military wedding back in 1997, she was naive that his reservist duty would ever turn into anything more than training monthly and two weeks each summer. When Chad + Regina met, he had already been serving in the Marine Corps for more than seven years; it was a huge part of his life – she never thought to ask or suggest he leave this service.
In October of 2004, his battalion deployed to Iraq. In early November, she received a call that he’d been severely injured. He had been driving the humvee that was destroyed by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and he was in a “mash unit” still in Iraq with little hope of remaining alive while being flown stateside for better treatment. By the grace of God, he was successfully back in Maryland three weeks later where nine long months of attempted rehabilitation began.
Though Regina and their 5yo son were not ever able to hold a conversation with him (they spoke, he never did), they were relieved that they were able to see him again on American soil to physically say goodbye. He passed away in August of 2005 and the real grief began. There were things in their marriage that were not picture perfect or made public because he had been portrayed as a local hero. It was only after the media attention went away and others went back to their everyday lives that she felt free to began to wrestle with some of the truths of their imperfect marriage; things that she never got to resolve with her then injured, now deceased husband.
Regina has often felt unusual in her grief since there are so few military widows (compared to other deaths) though she’s come to recognize the grief is overwhelming and quite similar no matter the cause of the loss. She has recently remarried for the third time after learning that marrying in your grief can be devastating to the process of healing if you’re not truly whole – the second marriage ended in divorce. She is now the happiest and most at peace in a marriage than she’s been in decades. She and her husband currently live in Texas and are coaching three young adult children through their next steps while traveling, eating good food and visiting as many vineyards as time will allow.
Kelly was sad that her boyfriend had gone away for Christmas and New Year but they were both looking forward to the plans they had made for when he got back from his holiday. Sadly, those plans never got a chance to be lived out because he never came home. He died in the Boxing Day tsunami 2004. Kelly’s life came to a halt the moment that she got the call confirming that his body had been found. Her emotions shut down and she began to go down a path of self destruction, completely unable to process what had happened. Kelly had no idea where her life was to go next and actually she didn’t want it to move on, not without him.
But, unbeknown to her, Kelly had been left the most wonderful life saving gift….she was pregnant. Kelly had a reason to look after herself and something positive to focus on.
Her son was born in the August of 2005 and her new journey began.
Throughout the years Kelly struggled to find the strength that she longed for to enable her to use my experience to help others. Kelly didn’t understand why she couldn’t until in 2015, ten years after my loss, she was diagnosed with PTSD. With the help of the most amazing therapist she learned to process what had happened and find the old self again.
Kelly lives in Norfolk, England. She currently blogs about the symptoms of PTSD that she lived with for so long, as well as her recovery and also share her parenting experiences. I am an advocate of raising mental health awareness. You can find her on the following platforms:
On September 9, 2016 at the age of 29, my whole world turned upside down. My husband, Joshua, died unexpectedly and I was thrust into the world of widowhood after only one year and 4 days of marriage. I have been navigating this journey with the help and support of many in the widowed community and I look forward to sharing my experience, strength and hope as I continue traveling through life.
Find Emily on Facebook at Ready, Set, Grieve?
Dori is an award-winning published novelist, short story, and freelance writer. As Dori Ann Dupré, she is the author of the international award-winning novel, Scout’s Honor, and Good Buddy, her second novel, which is currently represented. Dori lost her husband Eric to metastatic colon cancer on September 29th, 2016, devastating she and their two college-aged daughters, Abby and Ally. She blogs about her widow experiences through her website and uses her fiction writing as an outlet to share her husband’s story.
Honored to be a part of Hope For Widows as a contributing blogger, she looks forward to sharing a part of herself with fellow “Shit Club” members. Dori works full time in the legal field, is a veteran of the United States Army, and currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina with her two dachshunds, Stretch and Slinky while her daughters are off trying to save the world, each in their own way. Connect with Dori on social media: Twitter @DoriAnnDupre, Facebook @DoriAnnDupre, and Instagram @doridj.
Nearly 5 years into being a widow, Sandy is raising her children in Silicon Valley and works fulltime. She is passionate about joy, hope and building healthy relationships. She loves to cook and entertain and has started a Supper Club for widows called The Widows Table, we she gathers local widows for community – not therapy (and God bless therapy) its nothing more than a gathering of woman who get it, its often said around the table, “its just good to breathe the same air with sisters who get it.”
You can find Sandy on Instagram at: @thewidowstable
Katherine Billings Palmer
On August 13, 2017, I lost the love of my life. Rick Palmer and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary one month before he died at age 63 of complications from treatments for small cell lung cancer. He was my partner and soulmate, the love I had been looking for and finally found at age 40.
Rick was a talented writer and web designer and, in 2002, we began our own web and print design business. We worked together building the business and enjoyed traveling, writing, and playing together. Our dream was to spend our golden years together doing more of the same, but in the ten months from diagnosis to death, that dream shattered.
After Rick’s death, I quickly realized that the enormity of his loss was too much for me to handle on my own, so I began grief therapy. I also began writing through my grief in a journal of feelings, thoughts, memories, and poetry. As I navigate my new life alone, I share my journey and my efforts towards creating my “new normal” on my personal blog: The Writing Widow. I’m also on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Cecilia Mannella, RSW, RCC
Widowhood entered suddenly on June 17, 2016 when the love of Cecilia’s life died. They had a whirlwind of a love story which was fun, exciting and calming. This started her relationship with grief and loss. As a social worker, therapist, teacher, writer and human, she embarked on a bumpy yet remarkable path in her life. Cecilia is still working on discovering who she is as a woman, a sister, a daughter, a widow, a helper and a friend. She has been humbled by the depth of pain and suffering while learning that she is stronger than she thought. Cecilia has learned the strength, courage and beauty in all the widows that she has had the pleasure of connecting with.
Cecilia knows that writing is her ability to be vulnerable to the world in a way that is difficult. Words are the expression of her soul and she connects to others through their words. As a therapist, she brings a different slant to her writing that explores therapeutic approaches for healing that she has tried herself. What she has learned, is that there aren’t just 5 stages of grief but that grief is a soul changing experience which propels you into being a different person.
You can also find her on her blog Widow Living Instagram @widowedliving and Facebook @widowedliving
Sherri Lynn Miller
Sherri Lynn Miller’s world came crashing down around her on the morning of January 7, 2015 when two first responders came to deliver the news that her husband, Sean, had been instantly killed in a car accident not even a mile from the school at which he worked as a band director. At that time, Sean and Sherri had a precious two year old daughter and Sherri was just 11 weeks pregnant with their second child, which would be a boy who would take his father’s name.
After becoming widowed, Sherri knew that she had to use the experience to make a difference in other’s lives. She left her job as an elementary music teacher when she was offered her husband’s position at the same school in which he worked. She poured her heart and soul into teaching music and band to the very same students that loved her husband. Sherri knew God had placed her right where she was needed in the community in which she was needed.
Sherri soon began to use her love of writing to help her cope with the grief she experienced, especially when the grief began to overtake her at work and while she was working to raise her children alone. After a battle with complicated grief and some time off from her job, Sherri finally began finding her personal identity again for the first time since the untimely death of her husband. Besides music, she has a passion for mental health, fitness, community service, and helping others find their personal strength after unexpected losses. Sherri currently blogs on her personal site, The Widowed Warrior and can be found on Facebook and Instagram. (@sherriteachesmusic)
Carla always knew she would be a widow but didn’t have any idea how it would actually feel. When Carla met her late husband Jared, he was waiting for a lung transplant due to Cystic Fibrosis, a chronic disease affecting the lungs and pancreas. So she knew that most likely someday she would say goodbye to her husband. But she never dreamt it would be exactly one week before their 14th wedding anniversary. In August 2014, Jared was diagnosed with a rare bacterial infection in his transplanted lung and was expected to survive at least 6 months if not a year. Instead, he died just 6 weeks later. And in the blink of an eye, Carla became a solo mom to their 10-year-old son. And even though her life was forever marked before and after, she was determined to live life to the fullest because her husband would expect no less.
She founded Breathing for Jared, a Foundation to provide college scholarships to those suffering from lung disease in honor of her late husband. Became a supporter of the CF Foundation and Donate Life. And discovered that writing out her emotions and fears on her blog Transplant Wife and Widow helped her to process her grief
Carla recently remarried and is now blending a family with her new husband, bonus daughter, and son.
There were many things Brittany anticipated being in her life, but becoming a widow at the age of 29 certainly was not on the list. They were just in the early stages of life together- married for 2 1/2 years with a beautiful 10 month old son, and buying their second home. And then it happened; unexpectedly and very suddenly her world was cruelly and swiftly ripped apart on November 19, 2015. Since her husband’s passing, Brittany has been left to pick up the pieces of this shambled life for herself and her son. It isn’t something she does gracefully everyday by any means, but it’s a constant work in progress.
For Brittany, writing and sharing her story have been one of the very few cathartic endeavors she has embarked on. Words and emotions are powerful and if hers reaches and touches just one person, it’s worth the fear of being vulnerable.
When she is not chasing her now 3 year old around, she is a Radiation Therapist, working on her Masters of Health Informatics, an outdoor enthusiast, lover of books, and also a blog contributor at cutemomblog.com. Life is anything but slow paced for her. Maybe that’s part of her journey, or perhaps it’s self induced- she hasn’t decided yet, but she does know she will continue to carry on for not only for her son, but herself as well.
My name is Rebecca.
My husband always called me Bec.
His name was Ruben Steven Cortez.
I called him, Rube.
We loved each other like crazy.
We had a love that others would tell me they only dreamed of…
He was my best friend, my counselor, my pastor, my business coach, my greatest love.
I loved how he loved me and how he loved others.
We worked together and were in ministry together for almost 23 years.
On December 11th, 2016 my beautiful Rube, suddenly and unexpectedly suffered a stroke in his sleep.
I called 911. I gave him CPR. I remember it very vividly. I cried out, “Don’t you dare die on me, Rube!”
He never regained consciousness.
I say that when he left this world, half my heart went with him.
And it did.
We were one.
Now I am half.
I have been learning how to live with half a heart.
I have been learning how to live the unimaginable.
At the hospital, when I realized he was not going to regain consciousness, somehow and only by the grace of God, I uttered these words,
“I SURRENDER TO HOPE.”
I have asked Jesus to not let any of this go to waste.
And to teach me what grief looks like from His perspective.
In my writings, I share how I have survived the horrific while miraculously having hope.
I will be painfully honest, as I share how I quickly recognized a glaring gap in our culture to understand grief and how to love others well, who are experiencing it.
I hope by doing so, to somehow encourage those who suffer silently in their pain, as others in the blogging community and social media world of instagram have done for me. I also pray that in some small way it will bring more awareness and help close what I call the “grief gap” that is so prevalent in our misinformed and uniformed society.
To all who have gone before me I say a heartfelt thank you.
I thank God for you.
You were used to help keep me sane during some of the worst pain of my life.
To my beautiful daughter Jess and my dearest friend, Cindy, thank you BOTH for journeying with me like none others.
Certainly not an easy thing to do.
I literally think I would have lost my mind, if it hadn’t been for you both.
We all have much to learn, especially myself of how to love better, live better and better understand grief.
Rebecca King Cortez, “Bec”
NEW BLOG COMING:
Just three years and ten days after getting married, Samantha’s world took an unexpected turn when she became a widow at the age of 22. Her husband passed away in a tragic accident in May 2016 leaving behind an almost two year old son and an unborn daughter. After over a year of just surviving through her pregnancy, daughter’s birth, and various birthdays and holidays, Samantha realized that she wanted to do more than just survive- she chose to thrive. She wanted to give her children the childhoods and the mother they deserved despite her sometimes unbearable loss.
Through writing, sewing, coffee, and a whole lot of Jesus, she takes life one day at a time as she makes her way through this grief journey. She hopes that her written words will help others to heal and to have hope in their times of darknesss.
You can find Samantha on Instagram as @samiwhitedesigns and Twitter: @samiwhitedesign
Her blog/sewing business www.samanthawhitedesign.com
Sue Leathers is an English teacher and mother of two adult daughters. She lost her husband in October 2017 to a sudden massive heart attack, which sent her on a journey to rediscover herself and a direction for her life. She has found solace in reading of other widows’ experiences and in writing of her own journey, and hopes to help other widows not feel alone.
Sue can be found on Instagram: @susanjanie
My name is Lorah and I have been often told that I should share my “story”, that I am inspiring, and that people could benefit from my “story”. I say it like that because I am more than what I have been through and I don’t like to lead with the widow foot…..(did I really just say that?)…yup, that’s right, WIDOW. I lost my soulmate of 8 years to a stroke at the early age of 36. There I was, 31 years old and having to plan a funeral and purchase my first plot of land together….a burial plot (hurray for land deeds). The reason I don’t share my “story”, is because it is my life and not just a chapter for reading pleasure. However, after a conversation with my best friend I realized that maybe if someone out there could see how I am living my life through the tragedy and see that there are still smiles and still accomplishments (even if that was getting out of bed that day) that maybe I could lift up someone’s spirits when they are living through their “story”. If that is even a possibility, then sure, I will put my “story” out there for people to (rip to shreds… kidding!…kinda…eeekk) be inspired that there is hope for happiness through the darkness.
Elizabeth was married to her college sweet heart for over 27 years. She is the mother of two beautiful grown daughters, writer by degree, Eastern North Carolinian, learning to walk by faith as a widow post ALS with a Golden Retriever named Henry. You can find Elizabeth on instragam @elizabethwwooten or on her blog www.thisgracefilledspace.com
Melissa Pierre-Louis Peoples
Melissa is in the process of rediscovering Melissa. She is in her journey of “the new normal” since widowhood and single parenting. Her hope is that in sharing her journey, that she may be able to help not only other widows, but any person undergoing a transition in life. Grief is a process but moving forward is an opportunity. She currently works as a certified process improvement expert. She taps into her professional experience and applies those tools into daily life.
As a blog writer for Hope for Widows, Melissa hopes to provoke thought, share ideas, and encourage you.
You can also find her on Instagram @melly_plp