It was June 25, 2014 when I woke up in the morning and realized several things. I was a mom to 2 great kids, was 40 years old now. That day I turned the big 4-0 and I had just buried my husband 3 days before. A widow now with two small children, ages 3 and 8, I lost a huge a part of me with the passing of my husband, not really a great birthday.
I woke up that morning alone, sad, and full of self pity. It was hard. I wanted my family to know I was okay. I wanted to show them that 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 what 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 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, sayings, and feelings that 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 that I myself didn’t even understand.
So I set out to search for other young widow mothers and in this great city of Saint Louis, Missouri, there were no others, no groups, no young widows. 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 its like to loose a spouse and have small children. I felt isolated, misunderstood, and like a pity party to everyone looking in. No one understood my struggles, my own grief, my kids grief, and I felt like I had to somehow become superwoman.
So when I accidentally met a friend through Facebook, not a friend of a friend or anything, just pure fate, who was a young widowed mother with young children too. It was amazing to connect with someone I could vent to or she could vent to me and we didn’t pity each other, rather, we just understand. We connected on a different level than most of my closest friends, simply because of the commonality that we share. We talked about things like solo parenting, the kids grief and sadness, the difficult decisions that needed to be made. The feelings and emotions that go into every aspect of it as you are doing it alone. Finding her and seeing that she was widowed just a few years longer than me and she’s doing ok, it gave me hope, it gave my light in the darkness.
I lost my job in January of 2016 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 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, an entrepreneur, but I am also a woman who knows strength and all it got to get here. I want 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 kids journey, the grief and guilt that I have had to overcome, as well as inspiration and joy that I have gotten from other people and 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.