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.

Pay it Forward for Don Shepherd Day ..... 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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Back to You

Im wondering, 

for real,

because I really do want to know,

will there ever be a time,

when something goes wrong in my life,

when a relationship ends,

or someone else breaks my heart,


or I lose a job opportunity,

or something happens with my health,

or I continue to struggle financially,

or my parents get sick,

or my kitties die,



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  • commented on Bringing New Love Home 2015-06-28 11:53:52 -0700
    More more more!!!! Please write more about this. More details. Yes, Im a stalker lol. But seriously, I LOVED this post and Im going to share it. It gives me so much hope for the future. This is so beyond beautiful. Since you have started dating MIke, I have been thinking a lot about Drew’s parents (I know – weird. Again, Im a stalker who spends way too much time thinking about YOUR life lol) How this would affect them. I started thinking about how insanely difficult it will be for them when the day comes that you leave their home and move somewhere else, possibly with Mike or wherever. It literally made me cry thinking about how , for them, having you there this whole time has probabnly been so healing and beautiful, to be able to care for the woman their son was to spend his life with. I would imagine that they will go through a whole other set of grief emotions and loss , almost like a second death, when you have to go. Hang on, Im getting to the good part …. lol …. .sooooo, because of all that, I would also imagine that yes, while its messy anad complicated and tragic and WEIRD AS HELL for you and for them to be sitting down having dinner with this new man in your life – I honestly think that in the end, Mike will be someone who helps them heal in a new way rather than making things more hurtful. They can never have their son back, and you can never have Drew back, but DREW is the exact reason you are all together. Drew (and Meghan) made this happen. Im convinced of it. He wanted you all to be okay and have another chance of happiness, and through him, you will have that beautiful opportunity. Its just so damn beautiful I might cry again. I was crying through this whole post, especially picturing Mike showing them a picture of his daughter. OH THE BEAUTY! LOL…..

  • commented on Anchor 2015-06-30 17:53:46 -0700
    THanks all. Still no results on the tests. Still waiting. I will let you know.

  • commented on These Two Years and a Little More~ 2015-06-24 20:25:07 -0700
    Memory fueled my existence for a long while too. Its okay. Really. It wont be like that forever. I remember telling my grief counselor that the only reason I wanted to get out of bed each day was because my husband didnt have that option / choice, so it was like an obligation I felt to honor him everyday. She said “So what? So if thats your only reason for living right now, let it be your reason for now. One day in the future youll have a new reason, or more reasons. That day isnt today.” She was right. Now, almost 4 years into this, I DO want to live and not just exist. I am excited for my future, even though Im still terified . And yes, I still fuel myself with memories of our love together, but I have mixed that together with the life I am trying to create now. You will too. Andif you dont feel that way today, thats ok. Today is not that day.

  • commented on Optimism 2015-06-24 20:18:14 -0700
    Mike, I really love reading everything you write, and I truly admire your attitude. I think Im more of a “realist” – Im definitely not Miss Positive-Thinking, and Im also not negative either. I guess Im a realist , sprinkled with a little hope lol. Anyway, living in fear is a tough one forme personally. I do have a lot of fear – about my future, about what will happen to me, about so many things – I definitely dont let it stop me from living, but its there. I just sort of feel the fear and do it anyway. I wish I didnt have the fear though.

  • commented on Everywhere 2015-06-24 20:02:57 -0700
    JANE, I truly believe you will get to that place of equalibrium. It just sort of happens and youll feel a shift, or maybe a few of them. Youll just grow tired of asking the same questions and then youll ask different ones and then not as many. Having patience is the hardest part . The pain is not fun to go through or sit in.
    SARAH thank you somuch!!!! Love you too !!!!

  • commented on Grief Like A River 2015-06-22 10:18:27 -0700
    Great picture. I greived yesterday on behalf of my husband – for the kids he will never get to have, the dad he will never get to be, and the full life he will never get to live with me. It was hard. I totally get it. There are certain days I grieve more for HIM than for myself, and Fathers Day is one of them.

  • commented on The Walk of Grief 2015-06-22 10:15:05 -0700
    Love this. Its so funny – this is one of those “new me / old me” things for me. The old me would have totally made fun of something like this – a labyrinth. And Don would make fun of this too. Totally. But in a lighthearted way. I can just see us walking one together if he were alive and the NEW me wanted to try it . He would do it with me. He would stand next to me and walk with me through it, because he was the type of person that would do ANYTHING I wanted to try, he was right therewith me. But he would be mocking it and making jokes and making me laugh and saying “do what did you learn, Boo? Are you gonna make me do yoga now too?” But the old me would never have tried this or seen the beauty or the profoundness in it. But THIS me does. Honestly, meeting people like you and others has opened me up more to things like this. Unconventional things that I would never have even looked at before. And Don is chucking, but he istotally along for the ride. ps.I think theres a labyrinth in Toronto, right outside the Marriott where we stay, If Im remembering right . Youre gonna love it there.

  • commented on What I Knew, But Don’t Now~ 2015-06-20 09:25:51 -0700
    This is so well written and makes complete sense to me, especially now that Ive started doing a bit of grief-coaching myself. Thanks for putting it into words in this way.

  • commented on Can I Really Do This 2015-06-22 10:19:43 -0700
    You MUST be bribing her lol I cant figure out how you just keep getting more anad more points ……. stop getting points!!!! lol

  • commented on The Musician: Part III 2015-06-19 08:17:11 -0700
    So incredibly beautiful.

  • commented on From Three Years 2015-06-14 07:05:49 -0700
    Cloudbursts. I love that. And holy hell, you have changed and grown soooo much just in the time I have known you. Im so happy we are part of each others ever-changing worlds.

  • commented on My Husband, My Blessing 2015-06-13 08:19:17 -0700
    By the way, why is it that I cannot catch up to you on the leaderboard, no matter what I do? lol. You are always like 20 points ahead of me. What are you doing to get all these points? Ha!

  • commented on Around the Corner 2015-06-13 08:21:14 -0700
    I hope your day was somewhat peaceful and that you felt his love today, BJ. Thank you for your kind words, and I will check out your blog for sure……

  • commented on The Musician: Part II 2015-06-12 10:53:08 -0700
    DAMMIT!!!! I have to wait …. again!!!! LOL I love this story!

  • commented on New Paths to Mindfulness 2015-06-09 19:54:49 -0700
    I love all the ways that you and Sarah continue to love and discover Megan and Drew THROUGH one another – while always building onto your own special thing too. Its really quite beautiful.

  • commented on Colors of Love 2015-06-07 16:44:35 -0700
    I cant wait to talk with you on the phone soon. I NEED to know the details of your MIL meeting Mike – that is just beyond bizarre, and amazingly beautiful. Drew’s mom sounds like such a special person, honestly. Have a love-filled weekend xoxo

  • commented on Letting Go of my Dream, Making Way for the New 2015-06-06 18:06:01 -0700
    Wow, that is big. Im not sure Im quite there yet. I look forward to my future now, and I am excited and scared about it, but I still ALWAYS see it as “second best” to the life I would have had with Don. I feel like I might always feel like this version of life is second best – maybe not – but right now, Its hard for me to see NOT feeling that way. Thats amazing that you are ab le to let go of your future together. Im not yet able to.

  • commented on The Musician: Part I 2015-06-06 18:00:41 -0700
    Well damn … Im on the edge of my seat over here with whats going to happen next … I have to wait a whole week??? Well, at this point its only a few days since Im reading this late, but still …….

  • commented on Here and Now 2015-06-06 17:50:48 -0700
    That IS pretty damn awesome! Go you!!! You sound so much happier and healthier lately. Cant wait to see you again xoxo

  • commented on Be Kind 2015-06-05 10:42:36 -0700
    This picture is soooo powerful. I need to remember to be kind to me. I am really good at beating myself up. Thanks for the awesome words.

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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