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My story is woven with grief, but it is also illuminated with immense joy and love. I began to understand grief through personal experience during my parent's divorce in my childhood. It came home full force at the age of 25 after the death of my first husband, Steve, in 1998. I write more extensively about it in the post entitled "Lost." Those of us unfortunate enough to have tangoed with immense and sudden loss can tell you it changes you. Forever. Almost instantly. From that moment forward, I saw the world differently. I became imprinted with fear and sadness and acutely aware of the finite amount of time we are given. After swimming through the largest waves of grief, I also realized that I had been blessed. Blessed with a better understanding of what is essential. I can feel deep empathy for others. I don't often sweat the small stuff. And, while I do like the finer things in life, material items hold much less weight for me. All these gifts and many others derived from that suffering have genuinely enriched my life over the last 25 years.


My children, Jake and Tessa, are grown adults now. Yet, we all carry with us the scars of that tragedy. The ripples continue to be felt. While being a single mother in grief was difficult, it is because of them I think I was able to thrive. I wasn't alone. I was given lots of love by them. They were my "why" when I put one step in front of the other those first months and years. When Steve died, I was six weeks into a very intense 11-month master's in teaching program. I stayed with it amid all that grief because I needed to make a life for them. I will be forever grateful to City University's class of 1999 cohort A for their support and friendship that year.


A few years later, I met and married Keith. He was the most intelligent man I had ever met. Witty. Deeply kind. A writer of immense talent. You can find a link to a book I published of his writing on the resources and recommendations page. We forged a life together and built a home complete with four kids and an English bulldog named Suzy – Keith's "trusty steed." I felt at peace for the first time. Because of the gifts grief gave me, I was immensely grateful daily for our life and his love. Then, eight years into our life together, Keith died in front of me from a massive heart attack. It was devastating and surreal. Many of my essays are about this time and the times that follow. Again, I was blessed to have not only my children but the community of a small, independent school where I taught and my co-workers there who helped pull me through. Yes, the fear, anxiety, hopelessness, and deep, intense sadness again shrouded me. But there was also a doubling down of the appreciation of life, the beauty in the mundane, and the fierce gratitude. 

 I learned the importance of caring for my health, hired a trainer, ran a triathlon, and settled into a weightlifting routine I have religiously followed for the past 7 years.


Those were some rough times. But once again, life gifted me with love. On what would have been Steve's 47th birthday, I went on a date with a younger man for the first time. Grant and I were married in 2020. He is truly my partner, my joy bringer, and my greatest adventure. Despite a rather abundant matching set of baggage we are "practically perfect," and I once again settle into a blissful life of appreciation for all of it. The good. The bad. The imperfect. Knowing that someday, this, too, shall pass.


The quiet, but deep current that runs underneath the telling of this story is my family. My parents (all of them), grandparents, aunt, and best friend of 35 years. They are indeed the heroes of my story. If I were to list all they have done for me, this would need to be much longer.


I undauntedly turn 50 this year. It is a gift that many do not get. Soren Kierkegaard said, "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." It is fascinating to me as I age how life is woven together and how interesting it is in retrospect, the unpredictable ways the pieces come together. While sorrow is a large piece, so are joy, laughter, and love.  

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