Artist. Writer. Creative Mentor.

Soaring Spirits has had an enormously positive impact on my own life as a widow as well as the lives of so many friends and others. This organization is doing incredible work to help people not only to cope with widowhood, but to learn how to rebuild themselves beautifully... with love, laughter, tears, and authenticity. Most of all, Soaring Spirits gives us hope. Hope that life can still be amazing even after we have lost the most important person in our world. Hope that a beautiful life - one that our partner is always a part of - can be created. 

Home & The Heart

I’ve written about it quite a few times these past few years, but moving across the country really did a number on me. I don’t think - scratch that - I KNOW I was in no way prepared for how difficult it would be to leave Texas. I have a love affair with my state that runs very deep. I have gone through some of the hardest but most meaningful experiences in my life in that state. As well as some of the most beautiful.

The resting places for both of my parents and Drew are there. The friends that became family to me after Drew died, are mostly scattered all around that beautiful state. And the culture… once you’ve fallen in love with the Texas hill country culture, there is really no way to ever separate it from your heart. And no reason you’d ever want to.

So when I decided to take a chance on new love, and do this super brave thing like uprooting my life to Ohio, I really had no idea the level of new grief I was signing up for. Everything up north is very different. The houses. The yards. The language. The attitude. The lack of chicken fried steaks. The accents. Hell even the Dairy Queens... (they do not have steak fingers - and don't get me started on that!)

I guess I didn’t expect a new place to feel SO different. Or for change to feel so hard. Clearly I did not realize, I lived in TEXAS of all places - which is pretty different in its own right from a lot of the country. Most of all, I didn’t realize - as it common with loss - what I had until it was gone. Or until I was gone...

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New Directions Fueled by the Past

Today an exciting milestone has happened for me. One that runs deep, and is stitched with so many remnants of a past life and of every day since that I've fought for. Today I was accepted to be a contributor for a major photography agency that works in the book publishing industry. They work with publishing houses all over the world to help them find the perfect photograph or artwork for a particular book cover. I am now one of the photographers that helps to provide those perfect photographs to their clients. In the near future, I may just be able to visit the nearest Barnes and Noble and find my photographs on the cover of beautiful books.

This milestone means so many things to me. I’ve wandered around trying to find a sense of direction ever since Drew died. I’ve tried countless directions with my art… and each one has had a feeling like it just didn’t quite “fit” for me. As I’ve learned, there are about as many different ways to be an artist as their are types of people. But this one - which marries my love of photography and storytelling - feels like a perfect match.

I can’t help but think back… I’ve been picking up a camera and capturing the world as I see it for almost ten years now. The first of those years, was the year Drew and I began dating. It was the year that he bought me my first DSLR camera, excited to see what I would create. In the three short years we had together, he continued to support and foster this direction in my life… buying me nearly all of the lenses and gear that I still use today. He was my photo assistant when I needed a helping hand or some strong arms for carrying ladders and lighting. And sometimes he was just there to observe. I still recall mornings at sunrise on the beach in my hometown when he would just sit back and watch me while I got lost behind the lens, capturing the sun-kissed waves. He loved to watch me seeing the world that way… to see how it lit me up inside. 

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  • commented on The Vastness of the Empty Space~ 2016-12-01 05:00:03 -0800
    I love this. So beautiful. The vastness of that space, this idea really stuck with me. It must be why seeing the Grand Canyon right after he died was so perfect. As vast as that canyon was, is how vast the space inside me felt. It felt like the earth understood such expanses in a way people often don’t. I am saving this… So beautiful and though you search for words, you did find a few today that gave me words I didn’t have. Thank you my friend!

  • commented on Transitions 2016-10-16 07:05:57 -0700
    I teared up with this one, because I remember that you. I remember before you had any hope at all about relationships. I remember when you had such big fear about whether any man would desire you again. I remember wishing you could see you the way we all do – and just how beautiful you are. I remember always knowing and always being confident that you would be loved again… because you are the type to take chances and get out there and try things and push yourself and open your mind and heart, when you are ready to. I always knew it would be, and it is so wonderful to get to watch this part of the journey, where we share in this same knowing of how lovable you really are. I am so proud of you for fully diving into this new phase, and how well you have transitioned this relationship. And how well you listened to your instincts. I mean bravo. Love you!

  • commented on Vernacular 2016-09-18 06:53:04 -0700
    I think i’ve been feeling this a lot lately too, without even realizing it. Especially as my birthday comes up. I remember the very specific way he celebrated me for an entire week around my birthday… how he would tease me for weeks about the presents he’d gotten me, leaving me on the edge of my seat with anticipation. It was distinctly his way of doing things, and his way of making me feel special. His way of humor. His specific kind of goofiness and playfulness. This was a wonderful post. Thank you my friend. <3

  • commented on Your Death Is a Pain In the Ass 2016-08-07 08:02:11 -0700
    I can totally relate to this one in my own ways right now. Even though I have Mike, and yes, he now does all those things Drew used to, there are STILL so many situations going on lately that I would NOT be dealing with if it wasn’t for Drew’s death. I am completely feeling on the same page as you. We need a chat soon. Hang in there, and get your cats outta the effing kitchen when you’re cooking woman!! Love you (mommy)

  • commented on Widowhood Confusion....What? 2016-07-07 05:16:45 -0700
    Yes. So exactly the way I have felt all these years. And even with a new person in my world, my shit is still all over the place. I’m still confused, and still searching for something, and still miss Drew, and I still want to give up sometimes but somehow also am determined to “make something” of this life. Adding a new person into the mix has actually created even new confusion, and fear of him dying too. This widow life is all so damn hard, and so much work. Thank you for this one.

  • commented on The Tsunami of July 2016-07-02 09:39:48 -0700
    This took me right back to my own traumatic day. My own phone call. My own animal screams. All the disbelief. Sometimes its still hard to feel like we have somehow lived this long through it all. Its so surreal.

    I’m thinking of you. sometimes I feel the months after Drew’s death are even harder because that misery stretched on and on. Something about being in the hot Texas summer has brought back a lot of the grief too this week for me, mini flashbacks. I’m on my way back to Ohio now, and so look forward to a phonecall soon to catch up with you. Beautiful post. <3 love you!!!

  • commented on Welcome Our New Writer Michelle Midgett 2016-06-07 10:28:19 -0700
    Sunday’s writer here, saying welcome to Widow’s Voice, and thank you so much for sharing the beginning of your story… I hate for you to have this opportunity, as I do for us all, but we are glad to have you here nonetheless! I’ve been writing around 2 1/2 years here and it has been so very healing for me, I hope it is the same for you. Very beautifully written first post. Looking forward to reading more <3

  • commented on A New Beginning 2016-06-05 06:07:43 -0700
    This was such a good post – boy oh boy have I been there, and still find myself in that same panic from time to time even a year and a half into things with Mike. It’s such a difference from how we were when we entered into relationships before meeting death. Now, we have a knowing, a very deep knowing, as you said. Good for you for leaning into the love and taking the chance to be deeply vulnerable with your new guy. Proud of you!

  • commented on Just Do Something 2016-04-26 11:51:16 -0700
    Thank you for continuing to teach me more about you. It is an honest, vulnerable, brave post… Just saying it again!

  • commented on Dreams Coming True 2016-04-24 05:52:50 -0700
    I loved this post, and it’s so inspiring to see you stepping into this dream and making it reality! I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. Keep on keeping on!!

  • commented on Growing Me Up 2016-04-18 19:56:39 -0700
    Diane, thank you so much for writing to share… it really made my day. What a beautiful memory with your dad. Having walked beside Drew’s mom in her grief these past 4 years, my heart truly hurts for the loss you have felt as well. I’ve in fact met many mother’s who’ve lost children since Drew’s death, and the depth of that loss is about as deep into one’s soul as any could be… of course, because the love is that deep. Like you, Drew’s mom has chosen to continue to build a relationship with him in spirit… I know it has helped her so much (and me!).

    Jonathan died only a few months before Drew, and was only a few years younger. Wow. I’ll never understand why we lose the good ones so young. Sending much love to you, and Jonathan, and your dad! Thank you so much for reading all this time! I am so glad my words could help you, and that yours have helped me today too. :) All my best <3

  • commented on "It Isn't Just Me" 2016-03-18 11:15:08 -0700
    Thank you all for the comments. I am so glad others understand, even if I wish you weren’t going through the same thing as me right now. At least we’re not alone!

  • commented on Free To Be Me 2016-03-18 11:03:36 -0700
    Loved this. I felt exactly the same way. I am in such a different place this time than the last few times, and I got totally new and different things from it. But every single time, it proves to feel like home <3

  • commented on Home, Heart and Facing Fears 2016-01-07 11:05:16 -0800
    Thank you all for these wonderful comments. You each warmed my heart… sometimes it can be weeks without comments on here – and it feels really good to know that people are listening, and caring. My love to you ladies.

    Kelley, a special thank you to you, as someone who was on the other end of the phone those days a year ago when all that happened! Love you so much.

  • commented on Into the Woods 2015-12-20 13:54:18 -0800
    Thank you so much Cathy. We just returned and i have to say it gave me a deeper appreciation for the little comforts and relaxed me so much. I hope you got out for a good hike yourself!

  • commented on Falling 2015-11-21 18:29:27 -0800
    God, why are we always going through the same shit in some way at the same time? I have been feeling this EXACT thing the past week…. how long will it take? When will it start to feel like success and not like scrambling? Will I ever get anywhere on this book (the photo book, which came to a halt several months ago and is still sitting there stuck. ugh) Yup, i get it. I also can so imagine how much panic and stress it is creating to feel like this is your shot and you could mess it up if you dont do X, Y, Z… with my photos, i only have roughly 2 years to get them exhibited in galleries before they are then considered “old work” which is total shit. At this point, i still havent snagged a single solo exhibit, and i really badly want this series to be shown in totality somewhere big on the walls. I so get it. And I so get the feelings of being tired of working overtime. We definitely should skype after Thanksgiving. I miss you tons. Moving is shitty, and lonely. Love you!

  • commented on The Big Move 2015-10-30 06:20:55 -0700
    Thank you all. ITs been a rough past week no doubt, but so FULL… full of love, full of joy, full of heartbreak. Very very full. Thank you for reading and the love!

  • commented on What A Man Is 2015-08-30 06:54:10 -0700
    Yeah, you made me cry today. Damn. Even after these years, I still hate all of this shit. For you. For me. For all of us. And even if i have found someone new… I still HATE all of this simultaneously. I still hate that Mike isn’t Drew in some small corner of my heart… and I always will. If that makes any sense (I’m sure in widow terms it does). God this shit is so so accurate. Well written.

  • commented on The Two Faces of Fall 2015-08-25 16:14:25 -0700
    Thank you Karrlin! And Kelley… yes! One of these days!

  • commented on Seeing in Color 2015-08-23 06:06:51 -0700
    I loved this one!! I think you’ve inspired my post for today even a bit. I feel exactly the same way about fall. This year is the first year I have the real excitement back about it… not like it used to be, but in a NEW way. And I feel stupidly over excited just the way you are feeling!! Most of all… because I will get to come up north for some weeks this fall, and get to experience a place where the colors change in full glory – it literally WILL be like seeing it brighter than i’ve ever seen it before!!! Thanks for this one. Now i’m all impatient. Hurry up fall!

Artist. Writer. Creative Mentor - making meaning from life's challenges through creativity.
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