Stephanie Vendrell


When Mike died, that terrible first day, I remember asking a dear friend, in my stuttering confusion and desperation, to let me know how long that feeling was going to last. You know the one. The shock and horror of finding that your beloved husband had unexpectedly died during the night. 


Yeah. That feeling.


That feeling when the ground beneath you is wobbly and the sky is crumbling around you. Everything is altered, like some horrible gone-wrong LSD trip, the world unfamiliar, your skin prickly, your tongue unable to form words properly.


My friend, to her credit, did some research and found some interesting information about grief and mourning from a few different cultures. Not ours, of course. Not Western Selfishness. We have no culture of grief. Only self. So when Mike died, I was navigating uncharted waters. No one had ever explained grief to me, what to expect when a loved one does, how to treat people who have lost loved ones, or even how to fend off the insensitive comments a grieving person might hear.

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Dead and Gone

My fingers know the letters. I can type as fast as most people can talk. But what to say…what to tell, this day in the middle of all the holiday madness.

I can’t write about this. I can’t write about that.

Too personal.


But my life is what it is.

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  • commented on She is... 2015-07-26 15:59:53 -0700
    Thank you Yvonne…and Tricia – I find it interesting that our work sometimes seems to mirror each others without planning, as if we are somehow on a similar thought stream. I look forward to reading it…and yes, we do it because we must. So thankful to be sharing it all though.

  • commented on Silver Linings Playbook 2015-07-21 18:20:45 -0700
    I try to focus on silver linings every day…it isn’t always easy, when we do spend so much time thinking about what we’ve lost…but like you I know I would be much more cynical and introverted if I didn’t look for the bright spots. It sounds like Shelby is a very bright spot indeed, you are fortunate that way. I am glad you and Sarah found each other. Maybe some day you will find a way to live closer, but until then, having a friend and someone to love – and who loves you – is about as good as it gets.

  • commented on Dying 2015-07-17 17:01:13 -0700
    Oh Kelley, how AWFUL. On top of everything to have health problems, the scare of it all and not having our guys here to support us just SUCKS. I’ve been going through things myself I’m not ready to write about yet. And I’ve had panic attacks too since Mike died…scariest crap in the world. It all makes me think about my own demise and like you am surprised how much I DO want to live now. Wish I could give you a big hug.

  • commented on Gone Dancing 2015-07-24 16:44:00 -0700
    Hi Joann, I am so sorry for your loss…I have found that writing and sharing about my loss has helped. The community of grief is indeed warm and supportive. I am glad you found Soaring Spirits and Widow’s Voice. It is a terrible time, but you are not alone. Blessings to you.

  • commented on Enough 2015-07-14 14:33:53 -0700
    Looking back at the time of our grief is as hard as looking forward to that future without them. How did we manage it…and how will we manage it? Beautiful and expressive Tricia, thank you, and hugs.

  • commented on The Distance Between Us 2015-07-12 15:00:52 -0700
    I have found quite a few triggers in my new relationship…abandonment issues to be sure, and that is even when he is living in the same house. And you hit it right on the nose that finding someone new doesn’t “fix” everything, and that it really is another chapter in our grief. It’s been hard to explain this to people. Thank you for sharing all this…and I do feel happy you and Mike found each other. At the end of the day there is something to be said for companionship and caring on this earth no matter where we are.

  • commented on The Sisterhood of the Travelling Widows 2015-07-12 00:25:04 -0700
    I LOVE that you have this group. I too have found such solace and support in my widowed friends. There is no way I would be where I am now without them. xoxo

  • commented on What I've Learned 2015-07-20 00:50:49 -0700
    Oh Jennifer I am so terribly sorry for your loss…those first few months are so, so difficult. I am glad you’ve found Widow’s Voice and Soaring Spirits, it’s a wonderful community. Hugs to you.

  • commented on Without Him In It 2015-07-06 16:06:22 -0700
    I too have had my eyes opened to all the grief around me, its many forms, the many reactions…no hierarchy to it, indeed…and yet as you say, something reassuring to share the experience. Your writing continues to touch me very deeply. Thank you Tricia, and hugs to you.

  • commented on New Life, Old Life 2015-07-03 20:28:30 -0700
    SO frigging true. I wish I didn’t get this either…but I do, so very much. Thank you Kelley.

  • commented on The Wave 2015-07-06 16:02:51 -0700
    Hi Helen, I get that feeling very much. Waking up into the nightmare. I am so sorry for your loss too. It just sucks.

  • commented on And the Plan is... 2015-07-01 15:04:52 -0700
    Alison, I am sure I speak for many, many readers out there who all, like me, look forward to your posts to follow your journey, which is not just the metaphorical winding road of grief but the real tar and concrete highways. In a way perhaps many of us wish we could be out there on the road like that, experiencing, learning, grieving… and moving. Through the painful sorrow and madness of grief, to be like a leaf blowing in the wind with, as you said, a real purpose, fueled by that love…something very poetic and soulful about it – and as Kelley said – epic. Thank you for sharing it.

  • commented on Love's Remnants 2015-07-01 14:55:06 -0700
    Thank you for sharing these painfully practical details of sorting through death. I’ve had several clearing/moving days myself, it seems to have been a process that continues to change for me. For awhile I could not bear to have so much of his things around me, but lately I’ve dug some of them out of storage…not sure why, for some reason it seems comforting now, rather than soul-shattering. But it is a very big, emotionally draining job. And the regret? I get that too…Mike was perhaps more like Stan, and me like you…I was always serious and stressed, and he was so joyful and enlightened next to me, but now, I’ve put on that mantle, even as it doesn’t always fit, and attempted to find that light-hearted way he had about him. Anyway it is a wonderful tribute to carry with us, our beautiful loves who taught us so much.

  • commented on Bringing New Love Home 2015-07-01 14:47:47 -0700
    Oh Sarah how blessed you are that Drew’s family has as open hearts as you, and Mike. I am warmed to my core reading this. If the rest of the world could express love like this what a beautiful and peaceful place it would be. I am so incredibly happy for you both.

  • commented on My Other Soul Mate 2015-06-27 17:23:00 -0700
    You are indeed fortunate to have her, Rebecca. All the lovely people and trips and activities we find surrounding that empty void I see somehow as flowers growing around a deep dark hole, hoping one day that hole will be hard to see from the lush foliage…

  • commented on Anchor 2015-06-27 17:18:49 -0700
    This sucks Kelley I am so sorry…Mike’s insurance kicked me off last year too and the plan the state gave me has such an enormous deductible – well suffice to say it’s not making it easy to see a doctor for regular things since I end up having to pay for it all myself. Plus Mike was a healer in his own right, I relied on him for so much…not having him around when things go wrong like that is terrifying. I have some health things I’ve been going through too. Gathering the courage to write about it myself. Thank you for cracking the door open, and I will be thinking of you. xoxo

  • commented on Unintended Solitude 2015-06-27 16:09:51 -0700
    Thank you Rebecca. Right it really is like torture some days; hard to draw myself away from it at times. And our personal space issues – as with so many things – do shift after our losses for so many reasons. Thank you for commenting.

  • commented on Can I Really Do This 2015-06-20 23:41:19 -0700
    Wow – how fabulous. I think you can do this, and you are. How wonderful for all the help and support to get there and experience it. Enjoy with a full heart.

  • commented on Everywhere 2015-06-20 23:38:57 -0700
    I sat here for quite some time thinking, after reading this post Kelley. This entire grief experience has transformed me…I’ve learned so much, grown so much, felt so deeply…reading what you and the others of us write each day has been such an enormous source of support and relatability. At first I saw Mike everywhere, and it hurt so much…then he slowly disappeared, I couldn’t find him anywhere, and that hurt too…now I do see him around me, feel him around me – it doesn’t hurt the same way anymore, as I’ve started to build this after-life…and I do talk to him, when I’m alone…it will never be the same as having him here with me but the sense of his nearness has changed over time. Thanks for nailing it so succinctly.

  • commented on The Musician: Part III 2015-06-21 16:17:49 -0700
    Thank you Rebecca. I guess we all really do have our stories. I’m glad I shared it too. Life is sure a strange thing.

Writer, widow, lover of life. Join me on my journey of personal transformation. Blogger for hire. #RodanAndFields consultant - clinical anti-aging skin care.
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