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.

Happy Birthday to Michele, just one L ...

So today is Michele's birthday. Who is Michele? Well, if youre a reader of this blog, you probably already know the answer to that question. And if this amazing woman has affected your life in any of the incredible and many ways she has affected mine, than you are a very fortunate person. But, just in case you are living under a rock and have no idea who she is, I will tell you. She is the founder and Executive Director of Soaring Spirits International. She created a village of widowed people. Camp Widow, this blog, Widowed Village, all of it - started with her. This is a piece I wrote about Michele, with one L - about 2 years ago, when I was asked to give the intro speech for her Key Note Address in Toronto, Canada .....

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The Obnoxious Holiday Letter

Within the widowed community, in the private widowed groups online mostly, Ive been hearing a lot of talk this week about holiday cards. Widowed people being upset or angered by or feeling very real pain - having to look at a Christmas card sent to them, with a picture of a happy and complete family, where nobody is dead, smiling and glittery with joy standing by their perfectly decorated Christmas tree. I remember year one and year two after Don's death, receiving these cards from friends and family, and feeling such a HURT inside my gut, looking at them. Their joy, their partnership, their kids. All the things that were stolen from me, and now I had to put it on my wall and stare it in the eye everyday? No. I just couldn't. That wasn't happening. 



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  • commented on Growing Me Up 2016-04-18 07:03:00 -0700
    ………. and now the comment below mine has me crying even more. DIANE , Im the Friday writer here at Widows voice, and wow!!!! Your story about your dad , AND your son, is absolutely beautiful. You probably wont even see my comment but just in case – you rock!!!!

  • commented on Dreams Coming True 2016-04-16 07:54:36 -0700
    Im soooo proud of you. This is HUGE and so much work, but the kind of work that makes you filled with happiness and purpose. You rock!!!!

  • commented on Passion from Pain 2016-04-10 07:48:04 -0700
    I love you. That is all I can get out right now, but just know that.

  • commented on Back to Start 2016-04-09 18:32:12 -0700
    You are all so amazing. Thank you. No energy to write much else right now, except thank you. Long day of being “strong” and out in public pretending all is okay, so now its time to go cry some more …. thank you for being here. I love you all.

  • commented on Journey of Self-discovery 2016-04-05 17:36:15 -0700
    Yeah. She really would be. Beautiful story.

  • commented on The Landscape of Love after Love 2016-04-03 06:25:54 -0700
    Yeah. I soooo get this. But give yourself some credit, dear friend. You are doing so much better with adjusting and with love after love, than you think you are. Look at how MUCH adjusting you have had to do. More than most people. And not for nothing, but you just moved your ENTIRE LIFE from Texas to Ohio, not to mention “instant 9 year old” in your life. That is enough to throw anyone into a tailspin of constant emotions, and look at you. You are doing such a beautiful job of stepping into THIS life, the one you have today. Yes, you have many mixed emotions about it, but like you said, thats no reflection on you or Mike , its just love after love. And, man, is it ever complicated. But so worth it to find someone to share life with again. By the way, this picture of you and the landscape itself iis gorgeous. Love you to pieces, and always love my Sunday morning “coffee and read Sarahs blog” routine. xo.

  • commented on The Home That Doesn't Quite Fit Anymore 2016-04-02 07:43:00 -0700
    These types of decisions are soooo hard for so many reasons. Different circumstances, but I moved out of OUR apartment abotu 14 months after he died. I just couldnt be there anymore, surrounded by stuff and things that were part of a life that no longer existed. Like you, I felt like I didnt fit there anymore. I get it. Leaving there will be VERY hard once it actually happens, it will be extremely emotional, but I think once you do it, it will improve and open up your life greatly , and in ways you cant possibly see right now. So good for you, brave one. So excited to see you in June!

  • commented on A Toast to Drew 2016-03-29 19:00:47 -0700
    My God, Mike, this is absolutely beautiful. Again, you make me cry with your blog posts. DAMN YOU!!! lol. I looove that Shelby says hello to Drew when helicopters fly by, and I love that you realize the BEST way to honor Drew’s life and Megan’s , is for you and Sarah to live yours everyday to the fullest, always carrying them with you, together. And yes, being a good man and a good father and taking good care of Sarah and her you – that is absolutely what they would want, and what you would want too if the situations were reversed. Love is a beautiful thing.

  • commented on Free To Be Me 2016-03-21 07:13:24 -0700
    Penny, I am SO happy to hear that you will be coming to Toronto this fall. Please make sure to find me and say hello – you can never have too many amazing new widowed friends to help you through. I will tell you that the age range AND the number of years since loss, is VERY wide and varied at camp. There are definitely people there in your age range, and a year and a half is NOTHING as far as time. People come to camp after a decade or longer from their loss. Its a healing place, and a place where you can be YOU and feel like a human being again – I will be happy to see you there and Im so glad this blog helped you in making that choice.

  • commented on Perspectives from Camp Widow 2016-03-18 09:12:14 -0700
    I love this, Mike. I just wrote something along the same tone for my blog today / about why going to camp over and over again is always relevant and always different. And about what its like to be around other widowed people. Im so happy to know you and Sarah in this weird post-death life. Its such a hard road, made so much better when you find your people. Sunday was an awesome day.

  • commented on "It Isn't Just Me" 2016-03-06 14:02:29 -0800
    This HAS to be a sudden death thing. I feel this too. For sure. I find myself getting exhausted so much more easily than in my old life, because I have to DO so much more, alone, and have to work more and stay afloat , and write a stupid book about him dying – and then I get resentful of having to write a book, or of having to find the energy to help other people, even though I LOVE helping other people, but I am so tired and I need help too and nobody gets that. Then I get pissy and resentful at the new friendship/whatever this is thats going on with me and this person – because its all so complicated and HE is complicated emotionally and so I get pissy at the fact that he has his own demons and if Don wasnt DEAD I wouldnt have to deal with really liking someone new and not knowing how to move forward through their personal demons. So yeah, Im pretty grumpy about all that, and holy shit that felt good to get out LOL.

  • commented on On Being Cherished...and Kissed... 2016-03-02 10:19:47 -0800
    Well if the words themselves didnt make me sob, the pictures that followed did. This is soooo beautiful.

  • commented on Sharing Grief and Taking Steps 2016-03-02 10:12:33 -0800
    Beautiful Sarah. And you should be proud of yourself.

  • commented on Camp Widow Lite 2016-03-02 10:11:30 -0800
    I love this!!! And also, you love camp widow because you and Sarah MET there!!! Cant believe you didnt even MENTION that lol. … I love that Beth came to Sarahs art show and I love the bond between widowed friends …. great post.

  • commented on Wish You Were Here 2016-02-21 09:22:08 -0800
    I so wish you could have your mom. I totally sobbed reading this. I know every single day how lucky I am to have my parents, and that NEVER goes unnoticed by me, especially since knowing you, and others who dont have their parents around anymore. Those triggers are going to be there and they are so hard, but I do truly believe that in the end, you and Shelby are helping each other to heal. Like our friend Tom says “when you heal, I heal. When I heal, you heal.” That phrase comes to mind when I think of you and Shelby and how beautiful it is that you have her and she has you. Love you sarah. Love, your REAL “mommy” Bahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • commented on I Will Never Move On 2016-02-23 13:23:01 -0800
    Thank you Loretta . I AM writing a book. You will hear all about it once its finished lol.

  • commented on All I Can Be, For Now 2016-01-25 11:58:19 -0800
    I think that is very healthy and makes total sense, and really, if she is a good friend, she will understand that. You HAVE to take care of you right now. There will be a time when you CAN be there more for her and her child, but right now, you are emotionally exhausted and spent because of the huge thing you already did , so now, its about you. Take all the time you need. sometimes we just need to back away for awhile so that we can one day be fully immersed again. One day at a time, friend xo.

  • commented on One More Phone Call 2016-01-25 11:52:40 -0800
    OH hell yes. Thank you for quoting me , and Im feeling a LOT of those same feelings you have described here. I want to call Don up all the time and tell him the cool thing that just happened, or share with him the great day I just had, and I still have that thing of feeling “NOBODY else would give a shit about this particular thing except HIM!!!! DAMMIT!!!!” I think it will always be that way, and that is hard. It will always be hard. But Im so glad for us both that we have reached the place where we have a life that we want so badly to tell them about, instead of just being in pain 24/7. I wish I could tell Don about you and your friendship. And yes, part of me believes that he knows, but like you said, its just not enough and its not the same as talking to him about it.

  • commented on ... And Still 2016-01-25 11:54:23 -0800
    thank you everyone. these are such simple thoughts, but we all feel them, I think. All the time.

  • commented on Home, Heart and Facing Fears 2016-01-03 19:54:44 -0800
    “I missed Ohio.” This post made me tear up so many times, because I know you so well, and because I have seen first hand these changes, and because I was the one who sat on the phone with you the morning after that traumatic event on New Years Eve where that guy who we wont mention did that terrible horrible thing … I heard you crying and I didn’t know what to do , and I could FEEL how traumatic that was through your voice, and It made me so incredibly sad . I felt so helpless . And now, to know that this year you came back to a Christmas tree and a guy and his lovely daughter and presents and songs and love …. its just such a beautiful thing. THank you Drew. Thank you Mike. Thank you life …. for always shocking the living crap out of us, and giving us another shot. Love you mommy xoxo

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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