With time and hard, consistent work, grief does bear gifts for time served.  Grief, like all things in life changes.  The changes are not linear and they don’t come as quickly as we would like, but change does occur nonetheless. 

This fourth year without Mike, my grief feels different.  Now, my grief is well worn.  It is softer and more “comfortable” if that is even possible.  It still doesn’t quite fit right.  But, I am wearing it just the same.  I am learning to wear grief well; or, at least with more ease.  With time, my grief fits better.  Yours will too.

Rest assure, I never want to be entirely comfortable with grief.  This is not where I want to settle.  This is not where life is lived.  It is a starting point at best.  There is hope.  Hope for a life that is not filled with sadness and desire only for days gone by.  Others, who are further along than me in widowhood, have assured me that their grief has changed.  I want to believe them, and I want this for myself too. But, early on, I did not know how this would ever become true.  I worried my grief would be exceptional.  It was not.  And, your grief won’t be either.

Although not sequential, grief does evolve and change like everything does in life.  Change comes.  Trust the process. Stay the course. Even when it feels impossible, trust that something bigger than you is at play.


Yes, I miss Mike endlessly.  I always will.  I have come to accept this.  I know my life will always be a tiny bit bittersweet.  I sincerely wish this was different, but I don’t think it is.  I miss a man who has died and nothing will ever really be fine without him.  I am not sure I will ever feel 100% content without his physical presence.  But, I am trying to find my way in the world.  I am trying to enjoy my own company.  I am trying to find joy.  I am trying to live the beautiful life I have before me.


Still, I am restless as the day is long.  But, I am doing this.  And, so are you.  We are living forward because there is nothing else we can do.  We strive to accept this alternate life.  We learn to accept it over and over again.  Acceptance is not a one time thing.  It is an ongoing process.


For the better part of two years, I rebelled against Mike’s deadness.  And, I utterly HATED the word acceptance in relation to his death.  But, with time, I see that acceptance is necessary.  I have accepted his death in my head, and in my heart I work to do the same.

I don’t know where life will take me.  My life is full of uncertainty.  Life without Mike is scary and anxiety provoking; but, it is beautiful nonetheless.  I have a heart filled with gratitude for what was.  Gratitude is my weapon in grief.  I am better for loving Mike and being loved by him.  And, when I am unsure of everything, I am confident that his love will guide me as I navigate life without him.

I did not die, neither did you.  A new decade is before us, we have to go forth. I am striving to rebuild my life upon the solid foundation Mike and I were creating.  I will find my way and so will you, eventually.


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  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2020-01-12 21:42:49 -0800
    Melissa, I remember, not so long ago, being in the early days of grief. Reading the blogs of people who were further along than me gave me hope when I didn’t know how I would live another moment without him. And, comments like yours made me believe that one day, I would eventually not feel like I would die from sadness. Other widowed people’s words helped me believe that I would make it through the long, lonely nights. I want you to know that you gave someone, somewhere hope. This is powerful stuff. Thank you for doing this. Best to you, ~S.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2020-01-12 21:38:38 -0800
    Sue, Thank you for your kind and heartfelt note. I know that Mark and Mike are always watching over us. Best to you, ~S.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2020-01-12 21:37:35 -0800
    Bonnie, You have an amazing outlook for so early on…
    The way you are supporting others here in spite of your own grief is very gracious. I am impressed with your heartfelt caring and your natural fortitude.
    Best to you, ~S.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2020-01-12 21:33:05 -0800
    Sharon, The first year is very, very difficult. I remember feeling utterly and completely disorientated. I was shattered to the depths of me. I am now living my fourth year as Mike’s widow. My grief is less raw and it has become more bearable most moments.
    I have a hard time remembering much from the first year and the second year is foggy at best. But, I believe I started blogging here in just around the start of my second year…
    You may relate to some of my blogs from a few years ago because I was at the same timeframe you are living now. You can search for my earlier blogs here on the website. Maybe it will help. Best to you, ~S.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2020-01-12 21:26:29 -0800
    Julie, These firsts are so very difficult. I remember, my birthday was exactly two weeks after Mike died. I was barely present. When I see photos of that birthday I look at the woman in the photos and I feel so deeply for her. I remember how utterly shattered I was, yet I was smiling in the photos. I know how hard life has become for you these last few months. I wish you the best as go forth. ~S.
  • Melissa Tan
    commented 2020-01-11 18:35:06 -0800
    True and fitting. It will be 5 years next Saturday that my husband suddenly passed away. It is surreal sometimes to think how far my daughter and I have come. Grief is not so jarring anymore. It is a dull ache, at best I can describe it. But you are right, I have learned to be more thankful for everything in my life since his death. Thank you for sharing.
  • Sue Howard McAulay
    commented 2020-01-11 18:20:16 -0800
    When I read your posts I feel like you are writing the thoughts that I’m feeling and going through. I’m into my 4th year without Mark. I’m grateful for the time I had with him, but so longed for more.
    At times I can imagine just what he’d be saying to me…other times I hope and pray he is proud of the way I’m moving forward.
    This isn’t what I’d have chosen for my future, but I’m trying to be open to what life has in store for me.
    Thanks for sharing with us, it helps more than you know.
  • Bonnie Rozean
    commented 2020-01-06 21:29:40 -0800
    Thank you Staci. Your post is inspirational. I just participated in a weekend retreat where a part of the work was envisioning our aspirations. Ha! My mind was blank at first as my aspirations lately involve getting through another day somewhat coherent and intact. A message did come through though which is to LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH. I am alive and my life is a gift.
    Juli, I’m nine months in after my husband Jeff, died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. It’s hard, I miss him tremendously, and today was better than the 11 week mark. Be gentle with yourself and know you are not alone. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this challenging time.
  • Sharon Moriarty
    commented 2020-01-06 21:15:42 -0800
    It is now almost six months and I feel sadder now than ever. There is no end to the pain. I look forward to the end of my life. I want to go to my doctors in two days and have her diagnose me with an EOL condition.
  • julie roadknight
    commented 2020-01-06 18:02:25 -0800
    thank you staci for you post i needed it today.
    today is my birthday the 1st time in 10years that i haven’t spent it with my husband roger who died suddenly 11 weeks ago. i survived christmas and new year but today is especially hard i just want to hide away from the world. i have a wonderful supportive family however they do not live close by and were down for christmas and new year.

    i did not go into work today i am very conscious that in my present frame of mind i would make people feel uncomfortable – i am usually fine at work (hospital social worker) but today the thought of non-grieving colleagues and patients i felt i just wouldn’t be able to cope.
    thank you again and soaring spirits for giving me hope when at the moment i have none and feel life will never be happy again.

    julie (australia) the current bushfire situation hasn’t helped as i have had 3 family members and their families evacuated from fire areas in the past 5 days