So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

There are moments in our lives that forever change us. Most of these moments are planned or at least expected; graduations, marriage, birth of a child – those moments are thrilling. There are also moments that take us completely by surprise. The most profoundly life altering moment of my life came as a complete surprise when I was 31.

 
At 31 I was a divorced, single mother with a 5 year old son, living in Denver. I had just gotten promoted to Corrosion Technician at a natural gas pipeline company. In my eyes my life was perfect. I had my son, a great job with a company vehicle, my own townhouse and great friends we’d met a church. I was happy and at peace. At least I thought I was. 
 
January 24, 1995 would prove me wrong. 
 
My new job required me to attend corrosion conferences. These are very stimulating events with seemingly endless slide shows of various forms of corrosion on various forms of metallic structures. (Insert yawn). Sitting in the row in front of me and slightly to the right was a very handsome man who was much more interesting to look at than the pitting corrosion slides that were being discussed. The only problem was he kept looking back and catching me looking at him.
 
It was this day that I first heard the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. At the end of the first session I very clearly heard God tell me, “This is the man you’ve been waiting for.”
 
Um, excuse me? I’m not waiting for any man. Been there, done that. I’m perfectly fine. Besides, he hasn’t even said hi or anything. At the end of the break as we were all retuning to our seats he said hi. Very funny!
 
Later that evening at a local Mexican restaurant where a group of us went to eat, this handsome man made sure he was sitting next to me. He was left handed and seated at my right. There was considerable elbow bumping. A tradition at this particular restaurant is buying their t-shirts off from the waiters. The woman at my left bought one of the t-shirts and asked me to smell it. That shirt was the catalyst that changed my life. That shirt smelled really good!
 
I asked said handsome man on my right to smell the shirt to see if he recognized the cologne on it. Little did I realize it but his sense of smell was beyond good. He already knew that the cologne on that shirt was the same cologne he was wearing and out came the worst pick-up line ever. “No, you smell my neck.”
 
I did. My world changed for ever in that moment. 5 1/2 weeks later Larry invited me to be his wife and I said yes. We had an almost perfect, very happily, but not quite ever after. The most wonderful 14 years of my life ended when Larry died in my arms on November 8, 2008 after exactly one year of fighting Glioblastoma Multiforme IV brain cancer.
 
I’ve dealt with many forms of grief in my life but nothing shook my soul like his death. I’ve been on my knees in this struggle. I’ve begged God to bring him back so I could try harder. I’ve yelled and screamed at God, angry that he would bring my wonderful husband to me only to take him from me so soon. I’ve begged God to give me cancer as well so that I could be with my Larry again. And I’ve survived. By the grace of God I have created a new normal. By the grace of God I can see a future. It’s been messy. It’s been hard. It’s been a journey I would not wish on anyone.
 
If you’re on it, I’m sorry. I’m also here to help.
Forever Changed - Living with the Loss of a Spouse   www.herviewfromhome.com
 

Shelley Brandon

My bio is rather complex and like most people's starts at birth, or maybe before. I was adopted as an infant by very special and very loving parents. Pretty normal and average childhood with two younger brothers. Married at 22, motherhood at 25, divorced single parent at 29. Blessed at 31 with a new chance at love and the family I'd always wanted. Eight months later two of my sons lost their mother to pneumonia. Our blended family was tossed by the waves of grief from the beginning. The waves became a tsunami when my wonderful husband died 14 years later. Grief has been my shadow for nearly 20 years now, but life is still good when you're standing in the light.

We Do Each Day, and the Days Become Our Life

In: Death of a Spouse, Grief
We Do Each Day, and the Days Become Our Life www.herviewfromhome.com

Living in DC means taking cabs. My husband, Shawn, and I took plenty of cabs for the 13 years we lived in DC together, and he always loved chatting with the drivers. I remember one time when we were going out he got into a long discussion with our driver who had fled Iran during the 1979 revolution. Our friends who were also in the cab were blown away with how much Shawn knew about the revolution. Our driver, who became Shawn’s newest best friend, was pretty impressed, too. But now I’m taking cabs alone, so I prefer using a car...

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Surviving the Weight of Grief—Because I Must

In: Death of a Spouse, Grief
Surviving the Weight of Grief—Because I Must www.herviewfromhome.com

It’s been a long time since I wore three-inch heels. They sit in my closet, beautifully shiny and begging me to go out. The thing is, I’m perpetually sad, and going out won’t change that. But I’m tired of being at home all the time. In any case, the heels finally won out a few days ago and I got myself downtown. I was going to a political event—something my husband Shawn and I would have done frequently if he were still alive. Most of the people there didn’t know me, and I found it interesting that I was able...

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In: Death of a Spouse, Grief, Motherhood
I'm Parenting Alone, But I Can't Be Both Mom and Dad To My Kids www.herviewfromhome.com

I have heard a lot from single moms and dads, widowed or otherwise, that now they “have to be the mom AND the dad.” While practically, I totally get that, I find I can’t burden myself further with that thought; feeling like I need to be the dad for my children, now that theirs is dead. It’s too exhausting to try to put pressure on myself to do the impossible because I will never, ever be able to take the place of their dad or take the place of a father figure that may be there in the future. Ever....

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It’s OK To Pray For Your Future Husband As You Mourn the One In Heaven

In: Death of a Spouse, Faith, Grief
It’s OK To Pray For Your Future Husband As You Mourn the One In Heaven www.herviewfromhome.com

“Don’t worry, you’ll find another dad for your kids, you’re young,” an older widow told me a week after my 34-year-old husband died. Those words didn’t even register because I didn’t want another dad for my kids, I just wanted the original one not to be dead. “Please God, find another husband for Nicole,” the church’s counselor prayed with me the first time I met him when I was desperate for someone, anyone, to listen to my pain as a I grappled with the confusion and heartache of death and my new role as a widow. The prayer fell on deaf...

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To the Single Mom Who Feels Forgotten At Church

In: Death of a Spouse, Faith, Grief
To the Single Mom Who Feels Forgotten At Church www.herviewfromhome.com

“There’s no place for me,” I pointed out to the church staff member who was manning the small group sign-up table. I had walked down the long table of groups, desperate to find a place for a 28-year-old newly widowed mother of a newborn and twin toddlers. “Well, we have a widowed group over here,” he pointed to the 50+ table. I didn’t fit in. “And we have the couples with young children over here,” he added. But I didn’t fit in. “And we have the singles groups over here,” he held up the table. I didn’t fit in. I...

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I’m His Widow, But I’m So Much More Than That

In: Death of a Spouse, Grief, Relationships
I'm His Widow, But I'm So Much More Than That www.herviewfromhome.com

Apparently, it’s National Widow’s Day. May 3. There’s a day for everything now, to sandwich widows between National Eat a Doughnut Day and Dress Your Dog up as a Cartoon Character Day (that has to be a day somewhere, right?) makes it rather trite, don’t you think? Who even knows it’s National Widow’s Day unless a meme told you anyway—unless you’re a widow (or widower, is there a widower day too or is it all lumped into one day I wonder?), and any widow knows she doesn’t need a day to remember she’s a widow. She remembers every. Single. Day. I don’t need one...

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After Their Dad Died, Kids Repurpose His Old T-shirts In the Sweetest Way

In: Death of a Parent, Death of a Spouse, Grief
After Their Dad Died, Kids Repurpose His Old T-shirts In the Sweetest Way www.herviewfromhome.com

My son hasn’t said much or talked much since his father’s death a couple of months ago. The counselor said he’s at the age where he will be closed off. He may be angry or cranky at times, likely for no reason. He is old enough to understand this heartbreak, but doesn’t know quite how to process it. He’s also a pre-teen, which means these would all be normal characteristics that I’d be getting used to anyway. But I don’t like when he doesn’t laugh. I don’t like when he doesn’t smile. I don’t like that he doesn’t talk or ask...

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Grief Gave Me the Courage To Start Saying No

In: Death of a Spouse, Grief
Grief Gave Me the Courage To Start Saying No www.herviewfromhome.com

I have a hard time saying no. I say yes to things because I think I should. I say yes because saying no gives me anxiety. I say yes to avoid conflict or because everyone else is saying it. Why is such a simple word so ridiculously intimidating? Maybe because we’re afraid of how we’ll be perceived. We don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings. We think we are superheroes and we can do it all. We’re too focused on pleasing others. There are many reasons we say yes when we really would be better off saying no. But right...

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How To Help Your Children if Your Spouse Dies

In: Death of a Parent, Death of a Spouse, Grief
How To Help Your Children if Your Spouse Dies

When one parent dies, the child left behind is almost not helpable at first. How do I know a child whose parent dies is almost not helpable? Because it happened to me when I was a child. I lived it. It sounds ominous to be labeled not helpable, but I promise it’s not. I know what can help. I was the classic stubborn, self-conscious teen who thought she could do it all herself. This seems contradictory to be self-conscious but still think you can do it all yourself, but it applied to me mostly when it came to my mom....

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I Married a Man With Terminal Cancer—And We Lived a Beautiful Love Story

In: Cancer, Death of a Spouse, Relationships
I Married a Man With Terminal Cancer—And We Lived a Beautiful Love Story www.herviewfromhome.com

They say you can’t help falling in love with someone, like we really don’t have a choice, which may be true. But the real love story happens after the falling, when our feet hit the ground and we are presented with the choice to stay or run after realizing the love story contains our messes, our brokenness, our faults and mistakes, our desires and passions, our pain and deepest regrets, our darkest secrets and greatest triumphs. If you asked me if I would change my choice after hitting the ground with my husband Phil, I would always tell you, “No.”...

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