Lessons of turning tragedy into triumph 

from a military widow

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My Journey

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Between Hawaii, Boise and now Vancouver this journey of mine has far surpassed that thousand mile mark, however I feel like I've just taken that single step. These past few weeks I've been really trying to focus on myself. What I need, what I want and what I can do to make myself happy. I've accepted I can't go back to life as it was so now I'm trying to figure out how to get life to where I want it now.


Between losing Brian, being pregnant, having a baby, moving between three states, buying a house, traveling and then the holidays - I feel like I haven't been outside in 8 months. Last week my mom came to visit and watched the kids so I could get out for a bit. I grabbed my jacket and drove to the Burnt Bridge Creek trailhead near my house. It was about 38 degrees outside and the creek hugging the cliffs of the ridgeline was halfway frozen, but the air was fresh and I had the woods to myself.


My lack of interest/understanding of new technology hadn’t prepared me for the fact that the headphones I keep in my purse wouldn’t work on my new phone so instead I just started walking, enjoying the sights and sounds only a thick grove of Evergreen trees can provide. I was maybe a mile into this hike when something inside of me clicked. A feeling that wasn’t physical, wasn’t emotional, wasn’t psychological.. just a feeling of peace and contentment came over me. I was living in the moment, by myself and for myself. I wasn’t worried about my kids, my future, the house, the dog, my job, errands needing to be taken care of, etc. I was truly just enjoying the moment for what it was and I can’t tell you how freeing that felt. I’ve been under an incredible amount of stress these past 8 months and in that moment it felt like none of it really mattered. Life moves on whether you’re ready for it or not, and in that moment in this tiny patch of forest in Vancouver, WA I realized I’m ready to move on with it.

Walking back to the car I started thinking about that feeling and decided I can either choose to live in the past and be sad and wish things were different, or I can accept that this is my new reality and I can make it what I want it to be, good or bad. I haven’t had that type of clarity about my situation up until this point and I’ve decided I want it to be good. This experience has forever changed me, there’s no getting out of that, but I don’t want to waste the rest of the life I have. It would be a disservice to Brian, to my kids but most importantly to myself.

I’m still scared, I’m still sad. I’m still heartbroken. I’m not sure those feelings will ever truly go away, but not letting them overpower me is the step I’m taking now. This weekend has been filled with so much love, laughter, friendship and just plain fun. I took the kids for a hike with some of my very best childhood friends who I’ve known since I was Isabel’s age. We watched our kids run, jump in puddles, throw sticks into the river and just enjoy being kids and it was empowering to see them so carefree. I came home last night feeling happy, the kids were happy and we’d had a great day outside. Today two of my very best girl friends came over and chased the kids around the house, singing, laughing, body slamming and dancing. We ran in the rain, went on a train ride and had car sing-alongs. Everyone was just living in the moment and enjoying each others company. Kids only care about having fun – and what kind of treats they can have. I want to be more like that.


I feel like I’m finding my way back to me. I miss me. I know I’m not the same person I was 8 months ago, but that doesn’t mean I can’t somehow figure out how to enjoy life and all of the good parts of it again. One single step at a time. xo






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