Kelley Lynn

When I first lost my husband to sudden death, I knew absolutely nobody that was my age who was widowed. The word "widow" made me cringe, and I ran away from any possibility that it could or would ever apply to me. Then I discovered Soaring Spirits and Camp Widow. Here were these people - hundreds of them - all over the country and the world - who were just like me. They had lost their partners too, and they were hurting and feeling alone too. Except suddenly, none of us were alone anymore, because now we had each other. The widowed community that I have met through Soaring Spirits is a HUGE part of the reason why I am alive and WANTING to be alive today. No joke. My widowed friends save my life over and over and over again, and I love them in a way that is impossible to describe. Soaring Spirits connects widowed people, and when you lose the person you thought you'd spend the rest of your life with - connection to people who "get it" means everything. My friends in the widowed community are evidence that there is life - joyful life - after loss. They inspire me daily, and I will always pay it forward however I can to Soaring Spirits, for giving me back my life again.

Grief Terrors

After my husband died, I spent a whole lot of time grieving. And existing. And just trying to breathe. In and out. Sometimes more in than out. Sometimes hyperventilating. Sometimes forgetting that oxygen is a thing.

Make it through that hour, that minute, that day. Whole lot of time spent sitting in his car that I was left with, in the university parking lot, wondering how the hell I was going to get out, walk into that building, and teach 4 classes. Dreading all the questions from the clueless but well-meaning people. Listening to the whispers in the hallways: "That's her. That's the professor whose husband dropped dead." Getting dizzy from all the tilted heads, showing their pity and their sorrys at me, as I tried to stare anywhere except directly into their eyes. 

I spent a whole lot of time in grief counseling offices, trying to find someone that made some sort of sense when they talked. Someone who wouldnt just throw cliches at me, tell me it was time to "move on", or try and "fix me" with a pile of pills and meds. I wasnt interested. I somehow knew that I needed to live and sit inside the darkness, in order to ever see some  light. I knew that pain was something that would be at the nucleus of my core for awhile. I knew that I had to process every nook and cranny, dissect every corner of his death, in order to gain any peace. I don't know how I knew these things, but I just knew. 

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Pay it Forward for Don Shepherd Day .....

...is just one month away. 

July 13th, 2011, is the day that rocked my world forever. That is the day that my dear, sweet husband died very suddenly of a massive heart-attack at age 46, after only 4.5 years of a beautiful and loving marriage together. In 2012, I started the first ever PAY IT FORWARD FOR DON SHEPHERD DAY. My husband was the most kind and selfless person I have ever met, and his love for all things music and animals was like nothing I have ever seen. He loved to take care of people and animals, and make sure they were safe, and his passion for all things music, especially guitar, was truly a beautiful thing, and was what originally brought us together. He was amazing. 

Pay it Forward for Don Day not only helped me get through the horrors of reliving that awful day that he died, but it has also helped many other people, in his name. It is something I will do every single year, on July 13th, for the rest of my life. In the past 5 PIF events, over 150 people participated in this day each time, sharing their stories of kindness in words and pictures, all around the world. 

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  • commented on Dear Dead Husband ... 2017-06-14 08:23:44 -0700
    THank you Bruce. Yes, that is exactly it. It does get harder, because the only thing harder than existing is living. Really LIVING. So hard.

  • commented on Eight Years and Crying 2017-06-14 08:17:10 -0700
    Tons of love xoxo

  • commented on My Own Decisions 2017-06-14 08:14:20 -0700
    That sounds very stressful. I hope that the people who are doing this somehow will SEE this blog post and understand that you deserve and need respect, as Shelby’s dad, AND as Meghans husband/widower.

  • commented on Back to You 2017-06-14 08:03:57 -0700
    Thanks everyone. Its not really that Im “blaming” Don for anything – its just more that every hardship in life, feels like it always comes back to me wishinig he was here with me to go through it with me. Ive been told by many, since this post, that I will ALWAYS wish that. I think thats pretty realistic, but I guess Ill find out.

  • commented on “Share your memories! (3 Years Ago)" 2017-06-14 08:01:32 -0700
    Go sit in the corner and shut up. lol. You rock. And yeah ….those FB reminders can be such a kick in the heart. Very well written, as always. xo

  • commented on Growth and the Gifts in Grief 2017-06-14 07:55:19 -0700
    yes to life!!!!!
    Let me know if youd still like for me to do a guest-speaker video or something for the course.
    love you xo

  • commented on Hugging through the Fear 2017-05-28 18:42:06 -0700
    Ocean currents. Love that. Girl – you dont need a therapist. You just self diagnosed every single emotion and feeling inside you and broke it down brilliantly. Bravo. lol. And I love the hug-attacks , love that Shelby does that , and love that you want to receive those in a less fearful and more loving way. And Mikes post was beautiful.

  • commented on Stranger 2017-05-28 18:33:57 -0700
    Thank you both. ox

  • commented on She Didn't Have to Be 2017-05-26 11:30:28 -0700
    HAHAHA!!! I got a mention #soblessed … this is really beautiful, Mike! Their bond is such a special thing …. and I do believe Megan knows, and she is so happy.

  • commented on Coping on the Hard Days 2017-05-26 11:20:40 -0700
    Yeah. All of this. Thanks, mommy.

  • commented on Echoes in my Heart 2017-05-21 08:06:20 -0700
    Oh man, I SO get this. And I do the same thing. I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop, especially with real joy and moments of bliss. I try to remain inside the joy, but sometimes it just turns to immediate sadness out of nowhere. I really do think its because you have had so much loss, but I also think its a ’sudden loss" thing. There is literally almost NO moment where Im not acutely aware that every single thing can be snatched away from me, with no warning or reason. And thats a weird way to live, having that knowledge. Its scary sometimes.

  • commented on Change Your Mind, Change the World 2017-05-21 08:07:44 -0700
    Thank you Marty!!! I appreciate that.

  • commented on A Phonecall from a Friend 2017-05-12 06:49:24 -0700
    Awww Im so sorry about your friends dad, and I know exactly what youmean about the depth that death brings. Love you xo

  • commented on Going Postal 2017-05-12 06:46:46 -0700
    Its been the same way here too. Cold and rainy and cloudy. With a few days here and there of sunshine. Very strange May weather. But I shall go outside anyway, as you have instructed lol ……..

  • commented on How to Keep on Loving... 2017-04-30 08:41:27 -0700
    Dammit, Sarah. Sobbing my head off. This is what happens when you choose to let love in. And holy shit, do I ever love you. So happy you are in my life. This is absolutely amazing, and I truly wish I could have been there in person. If I could have afforded to be there, I soooo would have been. It sounds magical beyond description. xoxo ….

  • commented on Sewing My Widow Oats 2017-04-29 07:56:48 -0700
    pat if you can friend me on facebook I can tell you the names of the widowed groups. they are private and/or secret, so you have to be asked in or know someone who is in it . You can find me under Kelley Lynn on FB if we arent friends already. Im FB friends with lots of widowed peeps so I lose track lol.

  • commented on Half-finished 2017-04-16 09:11:48 -0700
    I love the way you explained this. It helps me in my own life to feel less guilty about some things that are in limbo or stalled or I havent finished them yet. I seee it a little differently now. Thanks for that.

  • commented on Dealing with Resentment 2017-04-16 09:03:51 -0700
    Oh boy can I ever relate to this. This actually happened this morning to me, while chatting with the new guy Im seeing, who is not widowed, so its even more complicated to explain myself to him sometimes. Anyway, we were chatting and he made a joke and I took it the wrong way and then accused him of not appreciating me . In the end, I realized I was putting all my pat “stuff” from the past year and a half on him, AND in a way, comparing him to Don, because it all went back to "Don appreciated me. " Ugh. I apoligized and explained that sometimes I get overly sensitive about things, and he explained that his sarcastic humor often gets him into trouble. Its all good now, but communicating is really tough sometimes, when your emotionss are just so complex and living in two different worlds sometime …. that duality of widowhood that I wwrote about in my Friday post. xo

  • commented on A Shared Darkness 2017-04-07 14:08:43 -0700
    this is awesome.And beautiful. im so gladyou have met this friend.

  • commented on Your Story is Worth Telling 2017-04-02 08:44:02 -0700
    Beautiful. Shared on my FB. I was SO beyond honored to share your story. That little girl under the Christmas tree just really says it all, about the power of sharing life and love forward. Love you!!!

Kelley is a comedian, writer, actor, and speaker living in NYC. She married her soul-mate and best friend Don, in October of 2006. She was 35, and he was 42. Just over four years later, he would die shockingly from a massive heart-attack. Kelley has turne
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