We hope this Widow’s Column provides hope, support and a sounding board for anyone who has lost a spouse. We know we’re not alone. We want to hear from you. Share your experiences and comments and maybe we can learn, grow, and heal together.

I have been M.I.A for a while. As some of you know, I am a divorced mom of four. July 1st 2014 made me a divorced widow of four children. Our family suffered a huge loss, my ex-husband passed away at 47 years old. It was unexpected, although he was a juvenile diabetic and a kidney recipient and had always had a hard road when it came to his health. We just never expected this day to come so soon. I will always remember picking my son Ryon up that morning. With the rest my kids in the car, we drove out of the Country Club where my ex lived and we saw him on the driving range taking his practice shot. He had a heart attack a few hours later playing golf. It has been comforting to know he was happy and playing a sport with friends he loved so much.

Rodney and I were engaged 10 months after we met and then came a wedding, a new home, babies; lots of babies. It was a lot of change in my life, too fast I think.  I was a young 24 when I met him. I still try and make sense of it. Why I decided to end my marriage; I value family yet I changed the dynamics of mine. I cared for Rodney, but we failed to figure out together and even in therapy how to be friends and connect on an intimate level. These things I have been fortunate enough to learn is what I need in a relationship.

After the dust settled and emotions calmed slightly, we both realized we still needed to be parents. We didn’t work as husband and wife, but we did work well as parents. So we kept our family unit as close as we could. As a divorced couple, we took vacations together with our children. Disney in 2011, New York City in 2012, Boston in 2013 and our last family trip together was this past Memorial Day 2014. We would sometimes drive to the kids sporting events together; go out to dinner, and of course our annual Six Flags New England trip in the summer. We found what was a comfortable amount of time and we made it work. It wasn’t always easy, living in two homes, finances, etc. but we made it work for our children. You don’t need to live with that person, but they are in your life for a reason and sometimes very important reasons such as children. So your story together is not over. I am so grateful everyday that we had what we had post divorce. My children have done amazingly well dealing with this tragedy because they know I cared and showed respect to their father. Even when I was frustrated with him and he with me, they saw two people no longer legally bonded together in marriage stick it out for them. We could have taken the therapists advice and only communicated through email, which I still to this day laugh at. What a STUPID suggestion! We were grown ups. We could figure it out and we did out of love for them and they saw that. We have so many good memories now to hold on to and he will always remain present in our lives. I will make sure of that. I know now that I understand what love is, he was not the great love of my life, but in his short time here on earth he gave me four great loves and many life lessons. I survived the divorce and cared for him for all the right reasons.

Below are some photos of the smiles & strength that comes from a family that chose love even in the wake of losses such as divorce and then death.

The photo above is me recently slowly stepping back into the Fashion…. another love of mine.

Sequin Dress by Adelyn Rae at Contrary Boutique.