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423893_227905027306832_216868583_n[1]This article was published this week on “The Grief Toolbox” website:

During my first year of widowhood, most of my friends had no idea what I was going through but they had more common sense than I did. I did know I was crazy for awhile. I realized I was feeling and behaving in ways that were so out of my character. For the most part, I did what I wanted to do, went where I wanted to go, and seldom considered the consequences. And for the majority of the time, my friends stuck with me and just let me be me.

So when a time came when I was on the verge of possibly making a huge mistake for my family, my friends, being friends, gave me some advice. When my former husband died, we lived in a single family home, in a neighborhood with many friends. I had promised my daughters that we would continue to live there. Nine months or so into my widowhood, I felt as if being tossed back and forth. I knew I had to let go of the past, accept what happened, and move forward.

With bi-polar feelings, there were still days I’d wallow in tears. I knew I couldn’t go back but I cried for the memories. Then, on possibly the very next day, I’d be looking forward to and planning what my next move would entail. My parents and only sibling lived in the Carolinas. Living in Florida, I felt further away than I wanted to be from my family. I came up with what I thought was a logical idea to move to North Carolina where my family lived and have a support system.

My friends came to my rescue. There’s a saying for the widow…”Don’t do any big moves in the first year!”. Some widows don’t have a choice but to move. However, in my situation the cons for moving outweighed the pros. My support system were my friends. They were like sisters to me. My daughters were happy in their school, in their neighborhood, and involved with dance and gymnastics. A lot of people in our community knew our situation, and that alone was comforting.

I listened and considered my friends’ advice not to move for at least a year. Well, I thought, that’s only 3 or 4 more months. I can wait it out. And as the last couple months of the first year winded down,  I realized how much it didn’t make sense to move at this time. It didn’t mean at all that I didn’t love my family. It meant why would I uproot my daughters and myself when we were surrounded by people that already loved us. Why would I subject my family to another change so soon?

When a year was up, the last thing I wanted to do was move. I believe one purpose for having friends in grief is listening to their advice because they have more sense than the grieving widow. I was still in a fog and couldn’t see the whole picture. So in my case it was true, I wasn’t ready to make any big decisions until a year had passed. My friends knew that and loved me enough to tell me. That’s what friends are for!!

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Unknown-150x150[1]Widows may be having a difficult week, with Valentine’s Day around the corner. If you know a widow, and would like to give her a gift, please read this post, from Carolyn Moor, that will give you helpful ideas. Carolyn’s husband died on Valentine’s Day and she has since founded the MWC “Modern Widows Club” which is a national club with over 11 million members.

Best Valentine Gifts for Widows: by Carolyn Moor

Well, it’s the season of red hot love, pink and white marketing and little blue boxes of affection everywhere you look. As widows, I know this stops you in your tracks a bit depending where you are in your journey.

And ladies, I get it. I lost my husband on Valentine’s Day.

In the first few years, I ignored it and ran the other direction like it was the plague. See more…

Each widow handles grief in her own way with different needs. Some may just want a friend to talk to with a listening ear. Being a friend to a widow, especially on Valentine’s Day, can mean more then you’ll ever know. Been there!

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A_Widow's_Pursuit_Cover_for_KindleMy book, “A Widow’s Pursuit” is now available on Kindle! Click on the link to bring you to amazon.Then click on my name and it should bring you to my  author page. The few pictures are of my family and friends that supported me through my grief journey. THANK YOU! I can now give back and pay it forward:-)

 You don’t have to buy a Kindle to read the book. You can download on your PC.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALori is not only my “Book Designer” but a very special friend. I believe God places many of our friends in our lives for a purpose. When I moved to Georgia, Lori was my next door neighbor. She was an exceptional Graphic Art Designer for Coca-Cola until her life took a sharp turn. Marriage moved her 2 hours out of the Atlanta area. Although we don’t get to see each other as frequently as we’d like, we find a way when we can. We had fun working on the book cover together since it gave us an opportunity to get together. Soon after, she was able to celebrate with me at my book party!

Lori was part of an answer to my prayer, for finding the perfect cover for my book. On the first afternoon of searching the web, together we found the picture that I wanted to use for my book cover. Everything fell perfectly into place. It’s amazing when you feel God’s hand in the process. I don’t doubt for a minute that we didn’t have Divine Intervention!!! Every detail was covered. And having the best Graphic Art Designer was all part of His plan, too!

Visit Lori’s website: Lori’s Art & Photo Gallery, to see more beautiful art and paintings she has done.

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February 2013 014Everyone has their own story of how they met their best friends and what makes them so special. So when our family moved in next door to Lisa and her family, Lisa and I instantly became friends. I had no idea the journey I’d walk with her. At the time, my youngest daughter, Nicole, was 6 months old and Lisa was 7 months pregnant with her youngest son, Jeremiah. I went over to Lisa’s one day to ask for a cup of sugar. And thus our journey began….

For 3 wonderful years we made fun memories together until my family moved back to the East coast and settled in Florida. Fast forward 3 more years and I became a widow. My grief journey took me back to California where Lisa took me in for that first summer where I went wild and crazy! At least that’s what I felt like!

Five years later, beyond my grief, I moved to Georgia to make a new life. In the meantime, Lisa had divorced and moved to Georgia with her son, Jeremiah. She just happened to move to Georgia the same month that I had and we were then living 2 hours apart. We began making new memories again and enjoying our family visits:)

Then 3 years later, life took a tragic turn. Jeremiah, 14 years old, was killed in a car accident. A purpose out of my grief allowed me to be there for Lisa this time. I could walk beside her in her grief journey and understand the heartache and pain. And that’s what a Best Friend Forever is all about!

We believe that Jeremiah occasionally shows up as an angel. My daughter, Nicole, had an experience that she believes Jeremiah saved her life. A month after Jeremiah died, a car Nicole was in one night, as a passenger, almost crashed. She saw a handprint on the outside of the window that stopped the car. She believed it was Jeremiah’s hand that stopped the car from crashing. I wrote a short story that was published in, “Angel Digest”.

My journey with my BFF is not over. Through better or worse, that’s what friends are for!!

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Jan 11 2013 086I have to share how awesome my friends were to me in my deepest times of grief. I know now, that it’s not fun to walk through grief with someone. So when somebody walks through the shadow of grief with you, they are some special people!!!  This is Trish. (above) She actually gave me the idea to write the book and encouraged me the whole way through. She made sure that I never gave up. She was actually my friend that took me out to dinner on my first birthday as a widow. (Not even one month into my grief.) Talk about a birthday celebration. NOT! But I was still in shock and in the numb stage so I wasn’t too depressing to be around yet!

Jan 11 2013 095Now meet my friend, Carol! She always had a scripture to share to keep my faith on track. She took my children in and made sure they were fed and had their homework done everynight. Carol would listen to me as I talked for hours about Nelson. We both believed in eternal life, and this softened the pain of reality. I’d go through the motions, but felt like I was living in a foreign world.  It didn’t hurt when we’d go to Carol’s timeshare at Daytona beach occasionally. We’d talk for hours and many times it was with Carol when I received my signs from God.

Jan 11 2013 096Here’s my friend, Angela:-) (Her husband, Sal is behind her and friend, Jim.) Such wonderful friends and super next door neighbors!!! I could always count on Angela. Sometimes it was having a cup of coffee and talking while other times she’d come to my rescue when I desperately needed her. She’d talk me through how it was ok that I was feeling the way I was. My kids lived at her home as well. She and Sal had an open door policy. Their “casa” was our “casa”. I know I took advantage for awhile, but they loved us unconditionally!!!

Jan 11 2013 098Now here’s Dinah! (In Pink) Her husband, Arturo, their 2 daughters, Christina and Larissa, and my daughter, Jessica (standing on the other side of Dinah). I’ve known Dinah since 4th grade!!! Dinah was my partner in crime as we went through our teenage years together! She could always make me laugh and still does. The memories we share together are priceless. I couldn’t imagine life without Dinah. Despite her humor that keeps me laughing, she has loved our familly like her own. This is what I call FAMILY!!

Partially because of these friends, I am who I am today. Because they provided me love, encouragement, and support throughout my grief journey, I am now able to help others through their grief. God is a good God! He provided me awesome friends!!!!! Read more about them in my book!

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Friends Photographing ThemselvesPlease meet, Debbie, and visit her blog A New Side To Normal 

Debbie’s husband, Dave, passed away 4 months ago after a 7-month battle with lung cancer. They were married for 27 years and have 2 adult children.

A New Side To Normal is about Debbie’s life encounters as a recent widow. It’s small snippets of her journey through the grieving process as she finds a new normal.

Debbie writes, “My goal is to stay strong, hold Dave’s presence close to my heart, and seek the humor in every tough situation. But more than for myself, I hope that I may someday help someone else get through this pain. It’s not like there’s a right or wrong way to grieve – so long as we do.”

Debbie’s recent post, “Thank You, My friend” posted on January 21, 2013, I hold close to my heart. A widow NEVER forgets who her best friends are when tragedy strikes.

Debbie writes:

“I find myself this week thinking of my friends. They say you know who your true friends are when tragedy strikes. They are the ones who are there for you, who love and support you in the good times, as well as the bad. Read more….

Since I self-published my book, “A Widow’s Pursuit” on amazon.com, I just had my first book party with my true friends who were with me when my tragedy first striked!

Thank you, my friends!

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