Board of Directors and Board Members
Chasity Williams is currently a Senior Practice Coordinator for a Leadership Advisory Firm in Dallas, TX. Chasity has been employed in the Administrative field with several leading companies where she supported Executive level leaders and managed office practices in diverse industries. Her extensive background includes C-Suite/Executive Level Assistant, Operations, Corporate Event Planning, Human Resources , Client Relations and Project Management. Chasity is also involved with several volunteer organizations that include grief facilitation, bereavement support at local hospices and leading several online grief resources. Her passion and heart is to serve and help others.
Chasity is two time published author that shares a collection of stories by widows across the globe. Each shares their own personal insight into the hidden and often unspoken challenges of losing a husband, including the emotional, mental and social shifts we are forced to reckon with in the aftermath. Visit here to read more and order a copy: Grief Diares: Through the Eyes of a Widow and The Unwelcome Committee
Chasity met her late husband at the young age of eighteen. In June of 2009, her life would forever change when she lost her husband suddenly in a lake drowning at the age of thirty four years old. Finding out who she was again, raising her son and living life to the fullest even after this tragedy was a mission she was eager to accomplish. Darrell and Chasity have one son together who is a recent college graduate that is now working full-time and choreographing his next big adventure.
Chasity enjoys volunteering, traveling, sporting events, writing and spending time with her family and friends.
Maureen Bobo is a Social Worker, Christ Follower, Love Advocate, International Speaker, Author and Entrepreneur. Maureen is a single parent of two daughters and their life forever changed on April 2010, when her husband of thirteen years, Martin Quinn Bobo, passed away of chronic heart disease at the age of forty five years old. The children at that time were ages eight years and two months old. From that tragedy, Maureen’s ministry to serve others began.
Maureen is a co-author of The Unwelcome Committee the story of three young widows with children and their navigation through the processes of grief. Maureen is also the coauthor/contributor to 3 other books: Grief Diaries: Poetry, Prose and More, Widowed But Not Wounded:The Hustle and Flow of 13 Resilient Black Widowed Women, and You Are Unstoppable: Moving From Past To Purpose.
Maureen speaks across the world to encourage others on similar grief journeys. Maureen has ministered the gospel in the churches, schools, and neighborhoods of Belize, Central America.
Her passion is for the Singles Ministry, Health and Wellness and Women’s Empowerment. Maureen shares that you CAN go from “Tragedy to Triumph” and hopes that her life story will be an inspiration for others to heal.
Khadija Ali is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. She has a passion to empower women and assist them in finding their life’s purpose after triumphing over tragedy in her own life. In 2007, she found herself a solo parent to five children after losing her husband, affectionately known as ‘Ali’, to colon cancer. Overnight, she found herself settling her husband’s estate and finding a ‘new normal’ for her and her five children.
In 2012, Khadija asked ten other young widows to write a book about their experiences. Only two women continued with the project, Maureen Bobo and Chasity Williams. Together the three authors published The Unwelcome Committee in 2016. She is currently spearheading another anthology about children with special needs entitled, ‘Mothers of Exceptional Children: The Journey, The Joy, and the Plight of Real Advocacy’ soon to be released in Spring 2020.
Khadija is also the owner of The Evelyn Rose Collection, a plus size online boutique for the everyday but extraordinary woman. You can learn more by following her on Instagram: @theevelynrosecollection.
Markell R. Morris
Markell is an international speaker, career counselor and job search coach who helps career changers figure out their career goals after loss and personal challenges through her company Futures in Motion, Inc. She has created career information resources and programs that educate, guide and mentor people in support of pursuing meaningful careers from a place of possibility and abundance. Clients say she inspires, encourages and empowers them to go after their goals and live their best life.
In 2013, Markell unexpectedly became a widow when her husband, Mark, died suddenly weeks before their first anniversary. She had to figure out how to reestablish her employment and reinvent her career. On the journey, Hope for Widows was an organization she turned to for support and community. Markell hopes that by joining the Board she can use her career coaching and organizational development background to support Hope for Widows Foundation’s vision to plant seeds of hope in the hearts of widows, so they can go from grieving to surviving to thriving.
Markell is also an associate faculty member at Santa Monica College Transfer/Counseling Center and Adjunct Career Counselor at Cypress College. She is the President of the California Career Development Association and Volunteer Grief Group Facilitator at New Hope Grief Support Community.
She received her Master’s degree in Counseling from the University of San Diego, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara (Go Gauchos!).
You can learn more about how Markell helps career changers discover meaningful career paths after loss and personal challenges, and request her guide, 5 Steps for Launching Your Career Transition at her website http://www.futures-in-motion.com.
Carole Sanek is a public speaker, Facebook live streamer, writer and podcaster. She is currently working on several books of her own to assist people in moving forward in the wilderness of their grief. Carole invites you to learn more about her on Facebook at Fractured By Carole
Carole lives in the sunshine state of Florida, near Tampa and doesn’t ever complain about being cold.
Carole met her husband, Larry, through an online dating platform 21 years ago and they experienced the joy of a wonderful marriage. They traveled extensively for business and pleasure all over the world. Larry went outside one evening after dinner to take care of the rose bushes he had planted for Carole and his last words were “I will come back in and have a glass of wine with you.” When he walked back onto their lanai he tried to speak and couldn’t; that is when Carole looked up and realized he was having a stroke. She caught him in her arms and got him into a chair. Thirteen days later Larry passed in Hospice. He never regained consciousness.
Carole’s purpose in in joining Hope for Widows was to find a kind supportive network of women who are also there to exchange emotional feelings, share photos and memories, smile and also shed tears. She will be leading Hope Connect Lives where feelings will get shared, encouragement will be given and uplifting messages will be shared because no one should ever feel alone in their grief journey.
J’aime Morrison Ph.D. is a Professor of Movement and Performance at California State University, Northridge. J’aime has worked nationally and internationally with students, actors, professionals and communities as a movement coach, dance instructor and choreographer helping individuals to develop eloquent, expressive bodies through which to communicate and heal. She holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from New York University and she was a Dance major as an undergraduate student at UCLA. In 2010 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Portugal in the area of Theatre Movement. Recently J’aime made a short film, Upwell, as a way of processing her grief over the death of her husband Jim from brain cancer in 2015. The film has been accepted to several film festivals and won Best Cinematography from the 2020 Experimental Dance and Music Film Festival. J’aime is an Associate member of Women in Film and hopes to make her next film soon. Before the Corona-virus pandemic J’aime was scheduled to co-host a grief/surf retreat in Costa Rica in collaboration with TwoCan Retreats. The retreat is on hold, but J’aime is excited to be offering her “movement for grief” workshops for the members of Hope for Widows.
J’aime plans to lead a series of workshops for Hope for Widows Foundation that put mourning in motion through moving meditations, gentle stretching and an intuitive embodied practice. Using healing images of water – the ocean and its waves, we will engage with both the undertow – the sorrow of losing a loved one, and the upwell – the swell of emotion and promise of new energy in our lives. Grief really does come in waves and we must learn to ride them – join her as we learn to dance the waves.
This embodied approach to grief work will invite you to explore your physical and emotional experience of loss and help move you towards the expression of your experience in this non-verbal, cathartic way. These workshops are appropriate for those in any phase of the grief process and for those who want to deepen their exploration of the sea as a source of healing and transformation.
In 2009 J’aime’s husband Jim was diagnosed with a brain tumor. They welcomed their daughter Flora into the world amidst chemo treatments, radiation and surgery. Jim, a former athlete, gradually lost his ability to walk but he stayed alive long enough to see his daughter ride a bike and go on painting outings together. Even though they lived with the knowledge that Jim wouldn’t make it, his loss hit J’aime very hard and she has struggled deeply with his absence. In creating dance and film and sharing these passions with others, J’aime hopes she can make a positive contribution to this wonderful Hope Sister Community.
Jenifer met her husband Jamie at the babysitter’s house. There he was holding her first born son, it was truly love at first sight. He always joked that he fell in love with our son first and she was a package deal. A year later, Jenifer gave birth to their daughter and married a year later. Then 13 years later, her life forever changed and Jamie was murdered at the age of 32 by her mother-in-law’s boyfriend. Jenifer helplessly watched him die that day. Jenifer was 33 when her status suddenly changed to widow.
Jenifer lost her way through PTSD and survivor’s guilt and she held on bitterly only for their children. 12 years later and after significant amounts of therapy and self discovery, Jenifer can now treasure the special memories she had with Jamie.
Jenifer is a grandma of 5 at 45 (catchy isn’t it). They are the sweetest part of her life. She also enjoys writing poetry, blogging an online widows diary, and singing and dancing (at home). Jenifer additionally taught herself to crochet to calm her nerves . She currently sells her crochet work and crafts for extra money and to provide childcare to friends and family. You can find her work on Facebook at https://m.facebook.com/YarningWithGma/
Jenifer currently is a Moderator for Hope for Widows Foundation Facebook private group where she has found forever friendship, understanding and purpose. She also is excited to provide additional support through the Advisory Board with the program she will lead called Hope Sister Sunshine Mail. Jenifer will be able to bring her creativity and giving heart to the forefront as he sprinkles positivity and love to our Hope Sister Community.
Jenifer shares there are two things she fully believes 1. No matter how much she suffers there’s someone suffering more, and if they can endure pain and suffering who am I to say I cannot 2. No matter how bad today is tomorrow is a new day.
Shelle Kindschuh is a certified Life and Complex Grief and Loss Coach at ShelleyLynn Coaching, LLC. Becoming a certified life, grief and loss coach, along with her own self coaching has been instrumental for her healing. Shelle focuses on health and wellness – both physically and mentally helping women to get through grief and depression. Her focus is connecting mind – body – spirit in a variety of ways to help women become – or get back to – the best versions of themselves. Empowering them to use their personal challenges and turn them into growth opportunities.
Shelle met her husband Steve when working at a resort casino and they had an amazing 5 years together with his two children. The four of them spent their days 4 wheeling, snowmobiling, fishing – pretty much anything outdoors. September 8, 2017 she woke up to find her husband not breathing, only 46 years old. Working though the experience of that tragic morning, along with all that goes into life after the death of a spouse, has led her to reinvent herself.
Going from not being able to get out of bed in the morning to now waking up at 4am (on purpose) to workout. Shelle is using this unfortunate, tragic experience to work on herself and help other women to do the same. There is something to be said about grief and trauma, we can let it defeat us or we can use the experiences to help others overcome and prosper – not because of it, but despite of it.
Shelle plans on honoring her husband and his life by motivating Hope Sister’s in the community to live the life they want, need and deserve. Areas of focus for Shelle will be meal planning, grocery shopping and easy fixed-meals, personal development, workouts, self care, motivation and inspiration. No one knows why life throws at us what it does, but each of us is capable of still living our best life. And no one needs to be alone on that journey to get there.
Be on the lookout for active initiatives within our community.
You can email Shelle directly for questions concerning Health and Wellness at email@example.com. Also, you can find her on Instagram at: @shellelynncoaching
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.
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.
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.
Ajai Blue-Saunders is a servant leader and runs a nonprofit in the Richmond VA area. She is always seeking ways to encourage and serve others, even while experiencing the sudden death of her husband in 2015. Her work experience includes project development, herbalist, management, supervision and overseeing several companies and nonprofits. Ajai has a heart for the disability community and serves on many local and national boards. She currently is solo parenting an artistic adult daughter with disabilitiies and together they are navigating this life with faith and love.
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
Kelly’s widow journey began in 2011 when she was 27. Her late husband passed away from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. Kelly’s re-entry into life has been difficult, but her relationship with God, being diagnosed with PTSD and her passion for music, dance and science have greatly helped her get back on her feet. Kelly is currently preparing for graduate school and volunteers as an endometriosis educator for the Endometriosis Foundation of America.
Kelly has so much she looks forward to sharing with you and she hopes that you may find something in her writing that will bring hope to your own journey, help you through the tough days, and show you that happiness can be found in the midst of grief.
You can follow her on Instagram at @kellcann
Celi Olson is a busy, single, working mom of two, who loves to write. Her world turned upside down when she became a widow on June 29, 2017 when her husband took his life. Words, journaling, writing, poems all became huge tools of comfort and healing through her journey. Through her faith in God, family, friends, support groups and therapy she has learned a lot and grown. Celi has come to the point of wanting to share her experiences and what she is going through, and hopes it helps even one person or helps someone not feel alone, then it will be worth it.
Dena’s life was forever changed on June 25, 2018, when she became suddenly redefined as a widow. A title she never thought she would have, or not have for at least another 40 years or more. Her healthy 43-year-old husband suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, leaving her shocked, heart shattered and left, at age 41, to raise their precious 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter without him. Since gaining this new title, she is continually trying to figure out how to live this new life, and has leaned into her faith, has focused on being brave, and has taken head on all of the challenges she is now faced with in this new life. Dena is here to share her story as she is living it and to be honest and raw, providing insight into the life of a sudden widow with a full-time career and two young children. Dena learned the importance of what she has gained through living a life well lived with her beloved spouse, and she has been writing what is on her mind and in her heart, everything from the pain of losing a spouse suddenly, to focusing on gratefulness and being brave in this journey. She hopes to give others insight into what this journey looks like and provide thoughts on how she is managing through it all. And hopefully inspire some of her hope sister’s along the way.
You can read more and follow her on Instagram @suddenlyredefined or on her Facebook page Suddenly Redefined.
Northern Virginia has been Jennifer Carstens’ home since she was a teenager. She met John when she was working at the D.E.A. Headquarters in Arlington, VA, during the summer when she was in college. Honestly, it was love at first sight for both of them. He had a way about him that made her feel like everything was going to be okay. They were married 4 years later and lived happily for the next 21 years. While their lives were not
flawless, they were close to perfection. Their daughter had just turned 16 when tragedy struck on March
11, 2017. John was healthy and happy, but suffered a massive brain stem hemorrhagic stroke. Much to
their horror, he slipped into a coma, and would never wake again. He was 49-years young. Their daughter
is now 18 and they are still piecing together their ‘new normal.
Jennifer believes he would be proud of the ways they are moving forward. They continue to seek peace and healing through humor, love, and sometimes tears.
Laurie King is so excited to be sharing her thoughts and lessons she has learned on this journey of widowhood. She met her husband in 2004 and they began our family shortly after. They had two daughters 14 months apart and 5 years later had their son. While she was pregnant with her son, her husband was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer and they lost him 18 months later.
She is a school counselor in the Philadelphia School District and has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology.
They currently live in Philadelphia and the kids are now 9, 13 and 14. She spends her free time with family and friends and recently bought a houseboat down in North Wildwood.
Laurie is thankful to share her story! She says, ‘We all know this is the one club, we that we didn’t have to belong to. Thank you for allowing me to share.’
Dawn’s life was forever altered on December 6, 2018 when she got the call that her husband, Jeffrey, had passed away at his work. She quickly learned that Jeff died from a gunshot wound, and detectives determined that it was self-inflicted. Dawn still struggles to wrap her brain around that fact. She will tell you that most days she doesn’t think about that part of it at all. Her husband is gone. The manner in which he died ultimately doesn’t matter. Gone is gone. He will forever be 46.
Jeff and Dawn started out as friends in the Fall of 1997. They started to date in January of
1999. On September 3rd, 2000, in front of a beautiful lake, Jeff asked Dawn to be his wife, lover and friend for the rest of his life. She excitedly accepted, and on June 30th, 2001, they
became husband and wife. Together, Jeff and Dawn had 3 children…Ali, Josh & Meghan. During the majority of their 17 years of marriage, Dawn was a housewife and Jeff ran a fencing company. The kind of fencing that keeps children and animals contained. Not the kind of fencing that uses a sword.
Dawn currently works as a secretary in the special education department of a school district. She has a degree in Elementary Education, and she loves being able to provide support to teachers and staff. In her free time, she can usually be found spending time with family and friends. Reading has been her passion since she was just a little girl, but since Jeff passed, she has found it hard to focus on reading. While that is a negative change that has happened on her journey, one positive change is that she has been writing more. She tries to openly share on her personal blog, Dawning Light, with the hopes that it will help even just one other person.
For years, Dawn has been passionate about spreading joy to those around her. She continues to be that way, and now she is very purposeful about trying to focus on the positive things even during a horrible situation. She moves forward on this journey with her mind focused on continuing to honor Jeffrey, as well as trying to raise their three wonderful children in a way that will make him proud. Her hope is to live a life that will allow her to see Jeff in Heaven. She wants to see his smile again and feel his arms around her. Of course, that will be after she hopefully hears her Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Kelsey was raised in a small town just south of the Oregon border in California on a beautiful ranch. This ranch was also where she met the man of her dreams. A New Mexico cowboy who just so happened to be a veterinarian. While attending college to become a veterinary technologist she helped her then fiancé build their veterinary practice. Her and her husband cared for many animals both big and small, along with all of the animals on their ranch. They were married at a beautiful September wedding surrounded by friends and family. However, four months after their wedding a horrible accident took Dakota’s life. Joining the 1% of widows under the age of 35 a group no one ever wants to become a part of opened up a jar of passion she didn’t know she had for writing. She was encouraged by a friend after the accident. She was told she was strong and if anyone can get through this it’s her and maybe one day she will be able to help others going through what she’s feeling right now. So that’s what she set out to do.
Tanya Christians met her soul mate during her final year of university in Spring 1999. Although she was only 21 at the time it didn’t take long to know that this guy was the one. Chad Christians was charismatic, adventurous, confident, gorgeous and incredibly kind. He was a talented athlete who made everyone feel better the minute he entered a room. Deeply loved by everyone who knew him, Tanya always felt incredibly blessed that he chose her. Chad had a 2-year-old son when Tanya met him so once they moved in together in 2001, Tanya became a part time step mom. They were married July 2004 and then had 3 children together; a daughter in 2006, a son in 2007 and a second daughter in 2010. They built a beautiful life together in a close-knit acreage community.
Chad was a successful business owner and Tanya happily gave up teaching to stay home and raise their kids. They were incredibly happy.
In 2015, Tanya returned to work as a teacher, first part time because their youngest was in kindergarten and then full time when she was in grade one. It was June of this year that everything shattered. The life Tanya thanked God for several times a week came crashing down. Chad had been having severe back pain which led to his gall bladder being removed. After that surgery, Chad’s intense back pain was still more than he could stand. He had
been seeking medical attention for his pain since February but it wasn’t until June 11th, 2017 that the answer to the pain was found. A moment forever etched into Tanya’s mind. Chad had terminal, stage 4 gall bladder cancer. Despite being told the odds, Chad fought this cancer with everything he had, even seeking private treatment out of country, but it was just too aggressive. To everyone’s devastation Chad passed away 3.5 months later at the age of 41. When Chad moved into the different hospitals, shortly after diagnosis, Tanya moved in with him. She was by his side every moment as his health started deteriorating very quickly. Tanya’s strong faith in God gave her peace and hope during this horrendous time. She started a small, private blog telling her story during the endless hours of living in a hospital. Reading other widows blogs during this time gave her hope as well that possibly she could figure out how to live without her beloved Chad.
Chad passed away September 19th, 2017 at the age of 41. Tanya still lives on their small acreage, is working full time as a grade 6 teacher, has three kids in sports and activities and tries to stay connected to her community.
Tanya hopes sharing her story of how she is choosing to build a life where she and her kids thrive, despite her devastation, will give others hope too. How being intentional with her healing, taking steps of self care, adventures with and without her kids, staying connected to those who love them and a deep faith in God is helping them all to live a whole-hearted chapter 2 of their lives.
You can find Tanya on Instagram @christianstanya and her personal blog www.seekingthelightca.wordpress.com
Sue Entner met her husband online, in a single parent chat room group. They communicated for almost a year before Tim flew to meet her in person in December 1999. Once they met, they knew they were inseparable and Sue moved from Florida to Iowa in early 2000 with her young daughter. Tim and Sue were married in September 2002. Sue was well aware of the various medical issues her husband had endured and one of them was knowing he could need a 2nd kidney transplant. It was a private joke between them, with Sue always saying, I have a spare, so you can have one of mine. In February 2004, they got the news that indeed Tim needed a 2nd kidney transplant. They held out hope for a miracle and they got it – in the form of a match between Sue and Tim. In June 2004, they underwent the kidney transplant and it looked like his health was going to take a healthy turn.
Unfortunately Type 1 diabetes does not discriminate and Tim continued with complications from that. Not only diabetes, but because of some of the anti-rejection medications that he was on, he developed various skin cancers. They battled this together, through radiation and surgery and a second surgery when the cancer came back 8 months later. Together through it all, they raised their daughter, whom Tim had adopted and enjoyed life with Tim’s son also. They ran a successful business together and Sue also maintained a job first as a language interpreter for the local hospital, then as the office administrator for a local business. Life seemed to be going
well, watching the children grow and welcoming grandchildren into the family.
2017 became the year that everything would change. In March 2017, Sue’s father passed away from a sudden cardiac arrest. In August of that same year, Tim’s father passed away from complications of a broken hip. And as if that weren’t enough to try and endure and get through the grieving process, Tim suffered a cardiac arrest in October 2017 from complications with an infection in his bloodstream. In that moment, Sue’s world came crumbling down and she was now faced with not only the grief of her family members, but her very best friend and husband.
Reading was always her passion, but she started to write in order to get through the grieving process. Journal upon journal of entries has helped her on this journey to discovering herself, growing and grieving. Sue has shared her journey through grief through several widows groups on social media, meeting other widows in person and trying to let others know that they are not alone. She looks forward to sharing her hope, courage and continued journey so that it may touch someone else out there struggling through the same issues.
Sue can be found on Instagram and Twitter as BrunetteSuzyQ
At the young age of 25, Jayme Johnson lost the love of her life suddenly, unexpectedly, and tragically. She and Luke were only married 6 months and actively trying for a baby when she discovered him unconscious in her front yard after doing lawn care all day. On May 9, 2019, Luke passed away from idiopathic cardiomyopathy, caused by a silent condition he had from birth.
Since that fateful day, Jayme has used writing to help her process the whirlwind of daily emotions and endless lists of death “to-do’s” that come along when you lose your spouse. Her blog, appropriately titled “Confessions of a 25-Year-Old Widow,” has been her saving grace and introduction to a huge circle of incredible widows that she continues to turn to when this familiar grief gets too complicated.
Jayme uses daily gratitude, meditation, and copious amounts of self-care to keep a positive outlook on the rest of her life. She aspires to be a source of strength and a valuable resource for other young widows who are faced with the unimaginable pain and loneliness that accompanies being in her shoes. She is endlessly thankful for her patient, loving, and supportive family, friends, and fellow widows for encouraging her to pursue her humanitarian passions and actively find JOY and light in an otherwise dark world.
You can find Jayme’s personal blog here: https://widowed.blog/
Therese Marchitelli is a mother, entrepreneur, caregiver, tea addict, eternal optimist, orchid wizard, natural protector, dog mom, meditator, mediator, and widow. Her husband, David Glickstein, died from a traumatic brain injury after a car accident in 1995, leaving behind Therese and their young son and daughter. There have been grave mistakes along the way, but Therese has learned from them and persevered. She now strives to support and help women who are suddenly widowed along their new, unexpected journey with love, protection, and hope.
A. Olivia Nelson
Ever since A. Olivia Nelson could remember, she always used her words to intrigue, express, and create. However, the start of 2017 would give her a different reason for writing: to grieve. She was under 30-years-old when the boyfriend she knew she’d marry passed away. It was sudden, unexpected, and to increase difficulty, she had recently relocated and had little support around her. Not to mention, finding resources for a grieving girlfriend seemed impossible. “We weren’t married yet, so can I be a ‘widow?’” She later learned that in losing a partner, dating, engaged, or married – most of us share common feelings.
Eventually, after two years of adjusting, navigating through loss, and going through the hardest of grief waves, she and her best friend reconnected, fell in love, and planned to marry. They traveled everywhere – 25 places in one year – relocated twice, built a business, created recipes and loved life together. He even encouraged her keep pictures of her late boyfriend. But then it happened. Eleven days before she acknowledged the date of her late boyfriend’s passing, and after choosing where they wanted to get married, her fiancé died of an unexplained cardiac arrest. With this surreal and unfathomable loss, she remembered what helped her cope the first time – talking to others who understood. Somehow she knew that aiding others in their grief helps heal us too. So that’s why she’s here: to let tender hearts know they aren’t alone, and that we’ll walk this road together.
Sherri met her husband, Sean Miller, in college where they both participated in marching band and were both music education majors. They discovered they had many common interests other than music and found themselves married two years later. They welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Mary Madilynn, to begin their family. The two of them started working as music teachers and felt they had the perfect lives meant for them.
Then, on January 7, 2015, Sherri’s world came crashing down when Sean was involved in a tragic car accident on his way to work that would take his life. Sherri, at just 29 years old and eleven weeks pregnant with their second child who would be named Sean Claude Miller II, knew she had to find purpose in her new life and continue forward. She assumed the role her husband held as a band director at the school he so proudly taught, where she stayed for four years. After seeing that she needed to move forward from her grief, Sherri left her husband’s position and less than a year later found herself teaching at a residential treatment facility for children and adolescents.
Sherri is passionate about mental health, self-care, finding positivity even in the darkest times, and the arts. She hopes that by revealing her story she can help others who have found themselves on the same journey navigate the roller coaster of emotions that come with grief and widowhood.
When Laura Pittman took her dog to a trainer that was highly recommended, her biggest hope was that her dog might learn to not pull so hard on the leash. Not only did her dog gain some manners, but Laura found the dog trainer to be an amazing man, and found herself falling in love with him as time went by. Thankfully, he found himself feeling the same way, and the two of them quickly became inseparable. The love between them was accompanied by a passion for animals, particularly bird dogs and horses. He was a scientist and she a mystic, and together they found the magic in everyday life shared with one’s soulmate.
They were married in June, and their dreams were blossoming, when a sudden cardiac arrest in January took Keith to his heavenly home, leaving Laura broken-hearted. Desperately searching for resources for widows on google, Laura found Hope for Widows, and is so thankful to get to walk alongside women on similar paths.Now in her writing, she continues to explore the question of what ones does, when, at 26, they have lived their greatest dream and their greatest fear.