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.

Opposing Teams

I became a NY Yankee fan in the 1990s, when I went to NYC for college. It was the Joe Torre era, and baseball in NY was exciting. Going to multiple games at Yankee Stadium with college friends, it was tough not to fall in love with it. When I started dating Don, my late husband, he wasn’t really into baseball. He said it was boring, and asked me how I could watch an entire game without falling asleep. I told him if he understood the strategy, it’s the furthest thing from boring.

When he moved to NY to start our life together, he understood. He became a huge Yankees fan too, bigger than I could have ever imagined. He was hooked. He would watch pre-game show, post-game show, and everything in between. When we watched a game together on TV, he would talk nonstop, analyzing the pitcher or hitters next move. It is a thinking man’s game, and my husband was a thinker. This was his sport. WE went to lots of Yankees games together. In NYC, in Florida during spring training - we had a blast, and so many memories. My love for the Yankees is my own, but it’s also very much connected to my relationship with Don. It was one of "our things" that we truly enjoyed together - a great Yankees game.

When he died, it took a long time for me to go back to my Yankees. At first, I watched an inning at a time. Or maybe two innings. Then I’d have to shut it off. It was too lonely without his commentary and back and forth conversation. After a while, I went back to Yankee Stadium. I went with good friends. We felt his spirit there, we felt him close. It was comforting.

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My Husband Died and All I Got Was This Lousy Book

In July of 2011, my husband died, and I died too. Well, that version of me died.

About an hour after his death, after I had made the phone calls to immediate family and a few close friends – from a random bathroom inside the ER part of the hospital, sitting on the toilet after having just thrown up from shock – I sent my first Facebook status update about my husband being dead. I wrote it in words, so that everyone would know. I wrote about it in a brutally honest way. My post said “I don’t know what to do next.“

From there, Facebook posts became something of a comfort to me. My only way to reach out to lots of people all at once, and say how horrible this all was. I didn’t have a widowed community back then. I didn’t know what the hell that even was. I was 39 years old, and my world was gone.

Sometime around early 2012, my Facebook posts became a blog (ripthelifeiknew.com). People started saying I should write a book about the brutal realities of grief, the dark humors of it, and about my story in the aftermath. So at some point that year, I started writing and slowly shaping my book. I wanted to give him a legacy. I wanted to help people who are going through this. I wanted to share all the things that I learned the hard way while grieving – all the things nobody told me.

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  • commented on Its My Anniversary, and My Husband Is Dead 2016-10-30 07:06:41 -0700
    Thank you everyone. Judy – working didnt help at all. I was a mess the whole time and haad to havve my assistant cover my first class cuz I couldnt pull it together. Don – thank you, so glad it resonated with you, and so sorry any of us have to know what this feels like.

  • commented on Apples to Oranges 2016-10-30 05:29:51 -0700
    Oh wow I really liked this, especially that last line, about liking who you are with both of them. Since thats the key, right? Finding someone that makes us want to be the best of who we are, and who makes us feel better than we feel without them around. I think its impossible not to compare, but I love how you worded it, that youre really comparing how YOU are with both of them. And how cool that you and Sarah now have history together. I love that, and I love all the many ways that you add to each others lives. Keep writing, Mike. I really like reading your pieces.

  • commented on It's Back Again, But You're Not Here .... 2016-10-24 18:20:06 -0700
    Thank you to every one of you that replied. Im so thankful to you all. Really.

  • commented on I'm Sorry 2016-10-24 18:18:46 -0700
    Hey Michele, what are you sorry about? lol

  • commented on Celebrating the Tiny Victories 2016-10-24 18:17:59 -0700
    Yay!!! And you also took me to the airport!!! So thats another place you know how to get to now …. woo hoo!!!!

  • commented on Mending Furniture & Hearts 2016-10-16 09:14:30 -0700
    This is how I always pictured love after loss being too. Actually, this is how I NEED it to be. I simply wont do it any other way. ANYONE who wants me to forget about Don or push him into the background, or not love him anymore – doesnt understand at all, and wont last in a relationship with me. It has to all connect – like Michele says, its about blending what was, with what IS, with what will be. I think you and Mike do that really beautifully, and I really admire your relationship and all the ways you take care of each other, and all the ways you acknowledge and honor Drew and Megan as forever parts of your lives.

  • commented on Stepping out of the Vacuum 2016-10-03 07:11:21 -0700
    This is why EVERY SINGLE TIME I go back to camp widow, I get something new out of it. Meet new people, hear a message I really needed to hear, understand something from a new perspective, or get instantly reminded once again , from allthe terrrified new faces walking in crying and saying “I cant do this” – just how absolutely vital it IS that community likethis exists. ANd its my community , my FAMILY, that covers for me when I cant write my blog lol. Thank you Sarah!

  • commented on Reconnecting to Magic 2016-10-03 07:04:15 -0700
    I love this. What a beautiful tradition.

  • commented on It's the 3 Dots at the end... 2016-09-21 14:08:30 -0700
    so beautiful, and so very true. xoxo

  • commented on 15 Years Later 2016-09-13 17:08:16 -0700
    Amen.

  • commented on The Springtime of my Heart 2016-09-11 12:20:01 -0700
    So beautiful. congrats on officially moving in!

  • commented on A Path Built on Love 2016-09-11 12:14:38 -0700
    THank you everyone!!! Im equal parts excited, scared, and really sad to be leaving NYC. Its very hard and emotional, and yet I feel like its time. Thanks for the words of support. It helps knowing Im not completely insane for leaving my job of 16 years for something unknown …….

  • commented on Peanut Butter and Homework 2016-09-07 18:06:08 -0700
    So touching, as always. I love reading your blogs.

  • commented on The Things Inside 2016-08-23 10:38:36 -0700
    Thank YOU for saying that, Morgan. What makes you say that? Im curious.

  • commented on Trust Your Gut 2016-08-23 08:38:22 -0700
    Susan, thank you. I am going to visit my parents in small town Massachusetts next month , to talk some things over with them, make some decisions, and it is the perfect place to think and reflect. So, yes, I will be doing that soon. Thank you!!!!

  • commented on Uniquely Familiar Story 2016-08-06 07:48:38 -0700
    Welcome Kaiti. Your story is so beautiful. Im the Friday writer here. :)

  • commented on Your Death Is a Pain In the Ass 2016-08-06 07:43:30 -0700
    Carol, you are a beautiful person for that offer , and for your generosity. Thank you so much for caring. Judy, yes, the constant reject letters are awful. And yes, they DO discriminate on age, its so hard to find work. They make me feel like Im an 80 year old instead of 44, so many of these places want college kids or just out of college aged people. It just sucks. And yes, I have been living on Ramen noodles and cheerios and a few other cheap things. Ugh. I wish things were different. Im just tired of all the struggling. Sending love to you and hoping your dad is okay xo

  • commented on Gone Fishin' 2016-08-04 15:00:44 -0700
    Love this. This is why its so vital to have a passion in life for something … something that sets you free and sits in your soul …. something that helps you escape everything, except for who you truly are in those quiet moments of time …… for me its singing, music, writing …….. that quiet place …..

  • commented on One Way Rider 2016-07-31 17:59:52 -0700
    Sniff sniff. Im not crying. Shut up.

  • commented on That Other Life 2016-07-29 12:11:37 -0700
    I think we are ALL in the process of creating that quilt, Carol. Thats the point. I dont think the longing ever ends, nor should it. All we can do is live this life and merge the other one into it wherever possible. 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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