Becoming a Widow


Two years and four months ago I became a widow at age 37.

While reflecting on my journal entries it has been quite a journey. Some include “I feel totally lost”, “The pain is excruciating”,  “All our dreams for the future are gone”, “I can’t believe I won’t see you again” and “I am confused on how to grieve”. I remember going to the bookstore looking for books on grief and then even googling the stages of grief and typing into google ‘when will I start feeling better?’. It sounds funny now but I was searching for an equivalent to ‘What to expect when you are expecting’ –  ‘What to expect when you are a widow’.

time frame

I also wondered if it was normal to be so controlled and composed. I would and still cry on my own at home but rarely cry in public. Ultimately I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me and I never wanted to feel sorry for myself.

crying in shower

Even though crying is a great release it  has led me to a very recent realisation. At 19 I met John and we married when I was 21 and I happily lived in a bubble with him. We didn’t need anyone, we fit together and as John said in his letter he left me “we have an extraordinary love”. In this bubble we were safe, strong and unbeatable and I wouldn’t change those eighteen fantastic years for anything.

Couple 2009

The only problem is that now I continue to feel very comfortable in this bubble on my own. Trust me – sometimes it is a very lonely place. This means that I have trouble asking for help as my gorgeous family and friends are well aware of. Recently my beautiful parents snuck over while I was out and cleaned the pool, did the ironing and folded the washing. They were genuinely worried I would be angry. This was an absolute gift but also a good reminder that sometimes it is ok to need help from others. Do I really need to be super woman all of the time?

So what would happen if I stepped out of this safe bubble?

I am challenging myself to become vulnerable (yes that word again) and step bravely into the world, embrace my journey and lovingly let people in.


I now believe the following to be true:

“Ultimately, the only way to get through something is to get through it – not over, under, or around it, but all the way through it” – Alla Renee’ Bozarth – Life is Goodbye Life is Hello.

Grief (1)


8 Replies to “Becoming a Widow”

  1. You write beautifully Melissa. I hope your blog can reach the many that are grieving, what a wonderful help that would be.

  2. Wow Melissa in doing this you will help so many, I cannot begin to imagine your journey but admire your strength and spirit in doing this. Thank you

  3. Thank you for sharing these beautiful thoughts Melissa. This is a really positive way forward – ‘good grief’. Love Ev

  4. What a beautiful and courageous journey you are on – sharing your private thoughts and baring your soul. Your words are touching. I hope you get much from sharing them…as much as I’m sure many will be helped and inspired by your experiences and insights.

  5. I love your honesty and honesty sets us all free from being afraid to speak the truth. You write beautifully.


  6. Mel most people continue to walk around with their mask on not ever really showing their pain, doubt or fears, but keeping the real truth inside. Yes people admire a brave face but they applaud more those whose speak the truth about how they really feel. You bought tears to my eyes as I saw this post and I know that you can now emerge from your bubble slowly but surely knowing that you can help so many people out there…widow or not…to be brave enough to show their own truth. Well done you!

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