It was June 25, 2014, my birthday. I opened my eyes and three thoughts assaulted my brain. I was a mom to 2 great kids, I was 40 years old, and my husband was dead. Just three days before my birthday I had buried my husband. I was now a widow with two small children, ages three and five, not a great birthday.
That morning was hard. I was alone, sad, and full of self-pity. A huge chunk of myself went into the ground with my husband. I wanted my family to know I was okay. I wanted to show them I was strong. I didn’t want to feel like a burden to my family. They offered to listen and help, but they just didn’t understand the storm I was weathering.
I thought to myself “am I the only one out there? I mean I can’t be the only somewhat young mom who has lost their husband.”
Was I the only mom with small children with a perfect life and perfect family? We had our baby boy and a precious baby girl. My husband was handsome and kind, yet strong. He was my rock, my everything. Could I be the only one who lost it all? I always thought we would grow old together. Enjoy our grandkids together. But that didn’t happen for us.
I needed to truly connect with others who would understand some of the same choices, struggles, and feelings I was going through and have gone through. I needed people in my life that truly relate to my story. They would understand something that I would say I myself didn’t even fully understand.
So, I set out to search for other young widow mothers and I found nothing. In a city as big as Saint Louis I found no support groups, no church groups, just nothing. And I felt so alone again.
My husband and I moved here for my job. Here I was by myself with two small children in a strange city, no friends nearby, no family nearby. I lacked the community of others who truly understand what it’s like to lose a spouse and have small children. I felt isolated, misunderstood, and like a pity party to everyone looking on. No one understood my struggles, my own grief, my kid’s grief. I felt like I had to somehow become superwoman.
When I accidentally met a friend through Facebook, who was also a young widowed mother with young children I felt fate had intervened. It was amazing to connect with someone I could vent to, or she could vent to me. There was no pity, no looks of “oh she’s the one who lost her husband”, we just understood each other on a level I couldn’t reach with my closest friends and family
We talked about things like solo parenting, the kid’s grief and sadness, the difficult decisions that needed to be made. The feelings and emotions that go into every aspect of doing it alone. Finding her and seeing she was widowed just a few years longer than me and she’s doing ok, gave me hope, it gave me light in the darkness.
In January of 2016, I lost my job and I created a business of myself online, but my true passion is to bring community and tips to others who have or are going through this as well. The emotional confusion, the isolation, the solo parenting, I knew with every fiber of my being that I need to start this blog and the community. I knew that it was time for me to tell my story and help others tell theirs. I knew that it was time to help others work through their grief and ask those tough questions as a solo parent. None of us are perfect, but we can sure help each other get through tough times.
My name is Tanya and I am a widow, a mom to a 9 and 6-year-old, and an entrepreneur. I am also a woman who knows strength and all it takes to get here. I want to help other women find and accept their own strength within. I ask you… So, what next?
What you can expect to find?
I want to take you through my personal journey, my journey through parenting conversations, my kid’s journey, the grief and guilt that I have had to overcome. I want to share with you the inspiration and joy that I have gotten from other people and found within myself. There is still joy through these tragic times and I am here to help others see that. There’s so much more to being a widow, there is so much more to you.
My mission with So What Next is to help other women like me find their inner strength, to truly believe they are enough, and to embrace life and celebrate the joy found in it. As the grief never goes away, it changes over time, just like we do as humans. My mission is to give back to others, provide resources, tips, and hope. With each hurdle that we face next, the community will provide the support you need to grow with your grief as well.
So I ask you, what next?
Join our Facebook community!
By the way, did you know that we have a fabulous Facebook community where we share stories, inspiration, and talk about some of the difficult situations that we face as young widows? You are cordially invited to join our community! We want to get to know you and your story.