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.

Working It Out

So, for the 457,000th time in my life, I have recently added exercise to my "trying to get healthier " life routine. i joined the YMCA, and I have been taking classes, mostly in the pool. Water Zumba, water aerobics, water weights, things like this. It is actually a pretty damn good workout, and at the end of the hour-long class, I am totally wiped out. As an overweight person who originally gained a lot of weight as the result of coping/not coping with trauma, I have been up and down this "getting healthy" routine several times. Normally, I have some level of success, and then ultimately, I don't stick with it, and it all falls apart. At some point, I end up falling back into old habits, and making poor choices with food, and then getting lazy about exercising. When my husband died suddenly, 7 years ago now, I found myself eating sporadically, thoughtlessly, and terribly. Loads of sugar. Anything with carbs. Chocolate. Cakes and cookies. Fast-food. Just all the bad things. It helped to numb me, and it tasted amazing. I did it out of boredom, loneliness, and fear. Fear of getting back up and living a life again, instead of simply existing. If I kept eating and living in a non-healthy way, it gave me all kinds of excuses to not better myself and to not care. There were many years after Don died, that I simply didn't care. 

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It's Not Guilt, It's Sadness

So it's been 7 years since my beautiful husband left for work one morning, and never came home. Seven years since his shocking and sudden death. Seven years of living this life in the "after" of painful and life-changing loss. It's a long time, and it isn't. It's forever, and it's also ten seconds. In all of this time living with the death of my husband, I do get asked one question quite frequently. People often ask me if I feel guilty for being happy. Do I feel guilt when I experience joy or joyful moments? Do I feel guilty for falling in love again? 

The answer is no. 

Guilt has certainly been a big part of my grieving and healing process. I felt guilty on my first two birthdays after Don died, because he would never get to see another year or enjoy another birthday or another year older. I felt guilty on New Year's Eve for years, and I refused to do the countdown to midnight, because it felt like a countdown to more time without him on earth, and another year that he won't ever get to be part of. I felt guilty for being asleep in our bed, while my husband was collapsing on a hard floor in a Petsmart, and going into cardiac arrest. These are the types of things I felt guilt about, and the types of things I worked on for years with my grief counselor, and came to better terms with. 

I have never felt guilty for feeling joy. I have never felt guilty for falling in love again. I have never felt guilty for laughing so hard my sides hurt, or for feeling euphoric about something incredibly awesome or awe-inspiring. Maybe it's because I know for a fact that the most important thing to my husband, was my joy and happiness, so I know that me being happy would give him incredible peace. Maybe it's because I so fiercely want to LIVE, because my husband does not have that choice, so I look for and cling to moments of euphoria wherever I can find them. Maybe it's because it took me FIVE years and a hell of a lot of processing and therapy, to get to a place where I was even able to find love again, so why spend one second feeling guilty about it? I don't know what the reason is, but I have never felt guilt for feelings of joy or love. 

What I HAVE felt is this: 

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  • commented on Fire and Rain and Huge Grief Triggers 2018-07-06 19:26:41 -0700
    Johan, 15 years later, are the grief triggers still there??? Im guessing the answer is YES.

  • commented on PRESSURE 2018-05-29 07:15:46 -0700
    Hi Linda! And thank you! Yes of course. The book will be available through Amazon once its finished. I will let everyone know!!!

  • commented on Second Time Around 2018-04-27 13:14:52 -0700
    Thank you Misty!

  • commented on The Last Dance 2018-04-10 08:05:59 -0700
    Dammit Mike. I was fine until that last sentence.
    You always get me with the crying…….
    ps dry bologna sandwiches sound nasty. They need to do better for the dads!

  • commented on Coffee with Missing Pieces 2018-03-16 09:04:38 -0700
    Oh man, I totally wish I could hug you in a creepy manner right now, and call you mommy LOL. I don’t know what its like to lose your mom so young in life, or to go through adulthood without your mom or dad – I don’t know what that is – but your beautiful and honest writings about it, have certainly helped me to better understand that feeling of nervousness , of feeling ungrounded. I DO understand so well about hearing a word, such as “mom”, in normal conversation, and having it just wound you, and shine a light on the thing you will never have. I love you, mommy – and I think youre a courageous person. I so wish I could see you next week, and I know that you are wishing that too. xoxo

  • commented on Maturity Rising 2018-03-16 08:56:19 -0700
    I love everything about this Mike. You are a good day. You are letting your daughter grow up to be a person with her own thoughts and feelings, while allowing her to ask the sometimes hard or unanswerable questions, that might surely come up.

  • commented on Its Your Birthday, My Heart and Back Know 2018-03-16 08:48:57 -0700
    INDIE – I am sorry you haven’t found that door yet, the one that will make you feel as if you aren’t just simply existing – but actually living again. I can only tell you it took me 6 years to find that feeling, and still now, its very hard some days. I fight for my joy everyday. Its never easy. I hope you wont give up on yourself. When youre exhausted, take breaks. Take emotional breaks to zone out, think about something else, see a funny movie. Then come back to it when you can handle it more. You can reach out to me anytime also. Here. On Facebook, or at my email kelleyiskelley@gmail.com For real. Please don’t give up.

  • commented on New Directions Coming 2018-03-16 08:33:08 -0700
    Im so damn proud of you.

  • commented on Home & The Heart 2018-03-16 08:30:08 -0700
    Finally have somet ime to catchup on blogs. Love this. And I wish that Don could read it, as crazy as that sounds. He and you have so much in common, and he never stopped missing Florida.

  • commented on Half Life 2018-03-16 08:24:32 -0700
    Finally have time to sit and read through some of these blogs. I like this one. ANd I get it. I relate. Also, what exactly would a tragic mayonnaise accident look like? Never mind. I don’t want to know.

  • commented on Resentment and PTSD 2018-02-26 13:04:43 -0800
    thank you both, so much.

  • commented on 100% Chance of Rain 2018-02-23 06:23:41 -0800
    Love this . Ben feeling similar lately. Im 46 – the same age Don was when he suddenly died with no symptoms. Im petrified I wont make it to 47, and I hate even talking about it . Ugh. And like you, I resent it. xoxo

  • commented on Number Eleven 2018-02-23 06:20:05 -0800
    THis is really beautiful and bittersweet, sounds like you did an amazing job at not being an embarassing dad lol

  • commented on Flowers, Cake, and Change 2018-01-21 20:16:56 -0800
    thank you carol. Your words are very kind xoxo

  • commented on The End is Lurking 2018-02-26 13:08:00 -0800
    I think that all the time. “does he know that he died?” ugh.

  • commented on Walking in the Snow 2018-01-13 11:39:42 -0800
    Great visuals Gabe. Love it!

  • commented on Happy Birthday to Michele, just one L ... 2017-12-30 16:33:51 -0800
    Kim, Im so sorry. Try to breathe. Hang on. And I will for sure give you a big hug in March.

    Thank you Candace and Staci. I believe this too, that we all have this bit of magic in us.

  • commented on The Obnoxious Holiday Letter 2017-12-29 12:27:51 -0800
    Carolyn I would love to see one of those letters if you can find it!!!! Darren sounds awesome!!!
    HAHA Cathy it will soon be time for my valentines video again lol.

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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