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.

New Love, This Love

So, almost exactly 6 years after my husband's sudden death, and after about 2 years of endless dating and even more endless heartache, I have met someone. Not just someone. THE one. Or, as Michele refers to love after loss: "my next great love." He has finally arrived, and isn't it about damn time? 

It is very early on in our relationship (2 weeks and 2 days, to be exact), but neither of us has ever experienced this type of "knowing" that it's love, or this kind of intense and yet HEALTHY chemistry. Feelings have developed fast, but nothing feels rushed or forced or unnatural in any way. Plus, it is the kind of relationship where we both are inspired by the other to strive to be the very best version of ourselves that we can be. He is not widowed, but he knows of loss. He has had multiple losses in his life, and hardships, and so we are both in this place of experiencing new things together. For the first time. 

 

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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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  • commented on Food, My Old Friend 2015-08-15 10:27:11 -0700
    Thanks Marissa, but I really really hate ANYTHING in my water except ice. No lemon, no fruit, no nothing. And I dont like seltzer/club soda, yuck. So thats out. Ill just deal with the water lol. Its boring as hell, but oh well.

  • commented on We Have a Widow's Voice Baby! 2015-08-11 16:45:05 -0700
    A beautiful story. Congrats!

  • commented on A Big Little First 2015-08-09 09:07:43 -0700
    Sniff sniff ….. you have no idea how much I look forward to reading about you and Mike and Shelby and Drew and Megan and your beautifully amazing extended family …. and yes, your mom is all over this too. Im SO happy for you that being with Shelby is so healing , and it makes total sense why. Its just so damn beautiful …….

  • commented on Happy for You, In Pain for Me 2015-08-09 09:44:31 -0700
    Arnie, you are SOOOO worthy of love, and dont ever think otherwise. We all love you and you have found a second chance in Beth, and she is a beautiful soul. We were honored to be there to witness it. I think the pain just comes with the territory of being widowed, but its very much worth it. I was SO HAPPY just seeing you happy. And its really normal that you had your own trigger moments too. Im so happy for you, I really cant say it enough times xoxo

  • commented on The Anger isn't as Important as the Love 2015-08-08 10:52:52 -0700
    This made me teary too. We both need a big ole hug right about now lol. So strange that we both went to our 3rd wedding since the death, on the same day, and we both wrote about it and found it really really hard. And I totally get the anger thing. Youre right. The love is more important, but I do think in order to get past the anger, you need to feel it and let yourself BE angry as long as and whenever you need to. Talk about it in grief counseling and move through it, and then it will eventually let itself go. Just my opinion, but I went through a VERY angry stage and thats what I did. I also let it out in physical ways. Punching bag. Beating up my steering wheel while parked in my car. Screaming my head off. I did these thingsfor months before I finally didnt need to anymore. Love you xoxo

  • commented on Decade 2015-08-04 20:48:12 -0700
    I love the way you write. Im so happy for you and Sarah and Shelby for this next adventure you are all about to go on … I am pretty sure that Megan approves 100%.

  • commented on Widow Bingo 2015-08-02 18:36:22 -0700
    It is the absolute WORST when you are being held hostage by someone who is making dumb comments. Happened to me at the hair salon, and theres literally nowhere to run, because your hair is being washed under a public sink. Ughhhhh. Brave, sweet girl you are going to that wedding. Id love to hear how it was for you. I was at Arnie’s wedding that same day – and there were LOTS of very unexpected grief triggers for those of us widowed peeps who went. It was interesting. And it was hard. And I was soooo happy for him. and I felt all of those emotions at the exact same time, in the exact same breath.

  • commented on Grieving the Grief Years 2015-08-02 18:30:01 -0700
    Wow. So many changes coming. And so many changes within you. Its a lot to take in and process and live. But youre doing a beautiful job ..

  • commented on Second Year Milestones... and Counting 2015-07-18 15:45:10 -0700
    Love you. Cant wait to see you again. For me, year two was absolute hell on earth, but so was year one. Just in a different way. This past year, year 4, was the first one I felt like I was actually living fully and where I have grown the most and healed the most so far. I was a mess the first 2 and a half years at least lol.

  • commented on Gone Dancing 2015-07-16 18:23:59 -0700
    What a great dream you had with him dancing and telling you its not horrible!

  • commented on JesusMaryandJoseph is all I have to Say About This~ 2015-07-16 18:20:52 -0700
    I feel very similar. My second love better be out of this world amazing or Id rather just stay alone.

  • commented on The Sisterhood of the Travelling Widows 2015-07-11 16:37:15 -0700
    Yes!!! He would recognize you and he would feel happy that you are living again and that you are finding ways to honor him and help others and connect with these lovely ladies. I didnt know him, but Im pretty sure he would be damn proud of you. How did you meet these girls? Online? Did you all just sort of create a travel group to come together? Thats so cool.

  • commented on Pinata 2015-07-10 09:52:05 -0700
    Crap. My FB link to my event page didnt work. If youd like to reaad more about what Pay it Forward Day is and how to take part, its a public page on my Facebook, so just do a search on FB for “Avalanche of Kindness: 3rd Annual Pay it Forward for Don Shepherd Day”, and it should come right up. Thanks guys!

  • commented on Going Walter Mitty-ish... 2015-07-08 17:59:34 -0700
    I actually think this is a great idea. Its a form of therapy, really. You have to walk through your past and break it down and feel the love from it in order to fully engage in any kind of present or future. I think this is good. Let us know if the memories start to come back to you. Id be curious.

  • commented on Hey Bud 2015-07-07 10:01:49 -0700
    Thanks for reducing me to a puddle. Im a puddle now. Im no longer human. Just a puddle of tears. Thanks for that.

  • commented on The Fields of Tomorrow 2015-07-05 14:16:50 -0700
    I cant even handle how beautiful this is. Only you would have someone write you an email like that, proving yet again that Meghan and Drew are all over this union between you and Mike. Damn.

  • commented on My Week of Retreat 2015-07-04 06:50:56 -0700
    Okay, Im dying to know WHAT you ate . What were these “different and new” food choices that were offered? Also curious to know if you were allowed / felt the need to use your phone / get online / text etc in a place like that, or if it just doesnt even cross your mind in a place of healing like that. I would have been a “non surfer” too, we could have hung out together lol.

  • commented on New Life, Old Life 2015-07-04 20:11:21 -0700
    Dianna Maria – THANK YOU FOR THAT . What a nice thing to say. xoxo

  • commented on And the Plan is... 2015-07-01 07:21:56 -0700
    I, for one, think you are amazing, and Im so happy to have met you at camp. Everything feels aimless after this loss, and I can only imagine being on the road for so long would make this feeling even more “anchorless”. But Chuck knew what he was doing when he asked you to scatter those ashes. As you said, he was a smart man, and he knew it would take you on some sort of adventure and that you would absolutely grow and learn things about yourself and others and life. Things you would not have known or learned by staying at home. I think that while on the surface it looks like you were sent to honor his wishes, I believe he , as you said, saw the big picture somehow, and that was the real reason he asked you to do this. I think he knew you so well and the faith he had in you is awesome, and he knew you would turn this into something epic. And who knows what that might be. A book about the adventure? A documentary? A new connection you never would have made otherwise? Or just many pieces of self-discovery along the way. Everything feels aimless after this loss. I am not traveling the country and I feel aimless too. But we are not aimless. Everything we do or decide leads us somewhere else, and we are learning minute by minute to navigate THIS life, while carrying them always with us. You are awesome!

  • commented on My Other Soul Mate 2015-06-28 12:19:37 -0700
    your sister sounds incredible, and this story made me so happy for you that she did that for you. How did she know that “coming home alone” is the worst / hardest / saddest part of going anywhere for widowed people? I love the people in my life who just seem to “get it” even though they arent widowed, and there arent many of them. Tell your sister that all of us in widow-people-land think she is pretty awesome and that we love her for loving you with such care and compassion! p.s.I cant wait to hear about your trip!!!

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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