My love for you is what drives these weekly letters.

I have been writing to you for over 4 years now. And I have loved every moment of it.

Every Friday no matter what happens I have to write to you.

Today I have a big favor to ask.

If this weekly letter changed your life in any way, click reply and send me a letter in response.

In your letter I will ask you to include the following two answers:

  1. How are you different since you started receiving the Message in a Bottle?
  2. What are you grateful for?

At the bottom of your letter let me know if I can share your letter here on our Facebook page.

If it is a yes, do you want your name at the end of it, or do you want this to be anonymous?

You can also attach a picture of you.

And I will share it with our world.

Today you get to change my life and the lives of many people through your letter.

Why am I doing this?

I want the people who will read your letter to find hope and inspiration so they can start changing their lives.

And honestly, I want these letters also for me.

I want to see how the Message in a Bottle is changing your life.

Hit reply and start writing to me.

I will post as many letters as possible and I will respond to each and everyone of them.

Here’s to your letter.

With love,


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Christina Rasmussen is an author, speaker and social entrepreneur who believes that grief is an evolutionary experience required for launching a life of adventure and creative accomplishment.

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  • Dear Christina-
    I lost my one and only, husband of 26 years, high school sweetheart, and father of our three beautiful children on December 30th, 2013. This is the day that has forever changed me. My husband died of a massive heart attack at the age of 48. We had no warnings and did not know he was ill. He died in front of me as I begged him to stay. I have never experienced pain as I have felt these past 10 months. I found your book by accident as I was scrolling through the web one night desperately searching for help. Your book was my saving grace. At the time, I thought that what I was feeling was the way I would live the rest of my life. As far as I was concerned, my life was over. I read your book in some of my darkest days and was able to grasp some of the messages you were trying to get across. However, the one thing that I was able to recognize at that time was that I was in the “Waiting Room.” I thought that the dark “room” I was in is where I would spend the rest of my life. I had no one to tell me that there is life after loss. I had watched my mother grieve for my father silently and thought that was how you are supposed to grieve. Everyday is a battle for me, and some days are harder than others. A few weeks ago, I picked up your book for the second time and reread it. And OMG…. it was then I realized how far I have come, but I still have so much more to learn from you. I have never been a writer, but from the day I finished reading your book for the second time, I started blogging my journey. It is somewhat helping me heal, and I have been told that I am helping others in ways that I could have never imagined. I want to thank you for being the voice for all of us who feel lost. Although I am in no way healed, I know that I am further than I was months ago. Please continue being you. Please continue what you are doing. Please continue your weekly message in a bottle. It gives me something to look forward to every week. I would be honored if you should chose to use this letter for your Facebook page. Hugs!!! Daneen H. Lockhart

    • Kim Wright says:

      One year ago on Sept. 15, the world lost an amazing man – Brian, my husband & best friend of 29 years. It seems like it happened yesterday, although it feels like eternity, too! Although he had experienced a blood clot & a kidney tumor, the doctors reassured us that everything would be fine. Little did we know he would be taken to Heaven before surgery could be performed. Brian, a quiet, gentle, intelligent, hardworking man is missed each & every day by myself, his sons & his friends!

      On that horrible afternoon, my world was turned upside down. Life, as I knew it, would never be the same. Time continues, not stopping for any reason, not even for me. As hard as it was/is, I continue to plug along. Many “firsts” have happened since Brian passed – holidays, birthdays, vacations, anniversaries, sport events, bumps & bruises, and more – all of which have been extremely difficult; most have brought many tears of sadness. Throughout all of these “firsts”, I have (re)learned –
      • to breathe
      • take one step at a time
      • it’s okay to cry or to be angry
      • worry does more harm than good
      • there is amazing strength within
      • everyone needs a good stress reliever (aka Running)
      • create & cherish good times
      • FRIENDS (& family) are AWESOME!
      • To keep Believing! Have Faith as God is GOOD!
      As I adjust to my new “normal”, memories of our past & hope for the future keep me going, as well as the prayers & loving support of my two boys, my family & my friends!
      Kim Wright

      Okay to share!

  • Joette Taylor Flodin says:

    On June 14th, 2014. I lost the love of my life, my soulmate, my best friend, my forever after, till death do us part, of 30 years! Due to a freak accident in our home. He passed out, hit his head on the kitchen floor, and was transported to a local hospital where an It was determined he had a brain bleed. He became progressively worse, and begin to stroke. He was rushed into brain surgery. After over 4 hours of surgery, the Surgeon came to talk to us and told us ” it does not look good, if he does live, he will never walk again, etc. My heart broke! But, I didn’t care if he could, I begged her, please just let him live , I will take care of him! No matter how I have to have him, I will except it! Please don’t let him die. The next few hours he became progressively worse, stroked many , many more time, and went into an irreversible coma! The Drs told me, he is living on machines and machines only to keep him alive. I had to make a choice as to weather let him leave this life with his dignity , since He was a veteran and served in both the Army and National Guard and he was about dignity, or hold on to him , because I couldn’t say good bye. I could let this man who changed my life at such a young age to know happiness I had never known in my life ( I had an abusive father) . I was 19 when we me married, Frank was 30. We had 3 beautuliful children together, and 4 grandchildren , with another on the way next month. Unfortunately Frank won’t get to witness the birth of the 5th grandchild.

    After an additional day had passed and me begging! Please, Please Frank wake up, come back to me! It was not to be! He was now in pain, the swelling on the brain had got worse, and was now spreading to his brain stem. I then knew ” someone was about to suffer at that moment, but it was not going to be my husband” it would me, learning to live a life without him! So I made the decision to remove all machines, medicate him and let him go. 3 hours later , with myself and our children by his side. He went home!

    I am now , as I heal, trying to focus a life on helping others who are going thru this grief, I’m trying to find Joette again, and regain my strength , and who I am ! The woman , the strong, always helping others , woman who had the same dignity my husband had during the many years of serving his country. My husband loved my humor, my as he called it ” craziness” lol. I won’t do a disservice to him by not getting that all back again and honoring him , the wife he married because of all her uniqueness!

    I’m just beginning this journey. But, grief won’t prevail! Joette will! After all he was a Veteran and prevailed during service to his country! I can certainly prevail by doing service to him by living a life he would want for me.

  • Beverly Parker says:

    Dear Christina,

    On November 22nd of this year my husband, Rick, and I would have celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary. We have three wonderful children and 6 amazing grandchildren. I was 20 years old and Rick 25 when we began our journey together. I had lost my Daddy when I was 17 and my Mama and I had a tumultuous relationship. My life was not pleasant when we met. He was my knight in shining armor. He rode into my life on his big white horse and helped me put all of my pieces back together again. We had our ups and downs like any married couple, but loved each other dearly.

    In May of 2011 Rick was diagnosed with cancer under his tongue underwent surgery and radiation and was pronounced cancer free. In August of 2012, it came back. More surgery, chemo and radiation, again pronounced cancer free. November of 2013, the cancer returned.

    I never dreamed that 7 months later, after so many chemo treatments that I can’t count them, we would spend 10 days in the hospital, be transferred to hospice with plans to return home, spend one night in hospice and have his funeral 3 days later.

    We woke up early that Saturday morning. I fed him a little bit of grits and eggs for breakfast. He drank a little diet coke, his favorite. He had some tylenol for pain. I kissed him, told him how much I loved him and went to the couch to lie down for awhile. About 30 minutes later I noticed his breathing had changed. I ran to him, called the nurse. She ran in and asked me how long he had been breathing like that. I said only about four breaths. She ran out to get the doctor. My darling took 2 more breaths and was gone, just like that, gone. I was holding him in my arms and felt my heart being torn from my chest. This inhuman sounding wail was coming from me. The nurse was holding me but I could not feel her. I could not feel anything but intense pain and grief. I called my children who were on the way to be with us and told them their rock, their beloved Daddy was gone. My grief intensified watching my children grieve and suffer. I was so angry. So angry with God. He was supposed to heal Rick. This was not supposed to happen. I felt He abandoned me when I needed Him the most. I had believed with all of my heart that God was going to heal Rick and let him stay here with me.

    Your book was recommended to me early in my grief process. I couldn’t get past the first page for a long time. I cried everytime I read it. Finally, I made it a little farther. To the waiting room. Which is where I am now. I know I can’t live in the past but can’t make sense of the future either. I still cry and mourn my loss almost everyday.

    Today has been a rough day for me – reliving the events of last November in my mind. On my lunch break I had prayed and told God that if He had a future for me I needed confirmation of it. I came back to work and opened facebook and saw the letters you were posting. So here I am. My answer to prayer. The Message in the Bottle and the letters written by other women who know how I feel. I believe there is hope and a future for me. I just have to find the strength inside of myself to fight for it. Here’s to my future.


    You have my permission to share on facebook.

  • Pam Gelman says:

    Unlike many of the posts I have read, my husband didn’t die suddenly. He was my other half, my heart and soul and the center of my life. But after 25 years he devastated me by beginning multiple affairs with very young women, he is 70.It was by a near death event of mine that I discovered the affairs. Ours was a second marriage, between us we have 6 children, 13 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. I just couldn’t walk away, knowing the pain to many others it would cause. It is now 7 years later, multiple counsellors and a separation, and his behavior is the same. Although there wasn’t a death, the pain of the lost love, marriage, respect and trust has been overwhelming and has me frozen in a very sad and negative place. I fortunately have my children and their families and some special friends who have given me unconditional support and love.
    I accidentally found a post by you on Facebook about 2 months ago and have been following your posts since. They have given me hope and things to move my focus to. I believe I am calmer and have less guilt than I had a few months ago. I have bought your book and am faithfully exploring it. I’m hoping that I will be able to find myself and the strength to permanently move out of his realm and to find a place of safety, peace and happiness for me.
    Thank you seems so little, but you have given me hope where I had none before.

    • Jeanne Mallett says:

      Dear Christina,
      I am forever grateful for finding you on Facebook at a time when I was distraught and so down on life. I lost a brother, a baby and my dad all within a span of about 12 months way back in 2000. I was going through my divorce when I found your page and my mom was going through depression and anxiety issues. I found myself and my inner strength through you and your book “Second Firsts.”
      I just took my mom back into the hospital last night for her third bout of depression. The strength that carries me through trials and tribulations now was not a part of me before you came into my life. I learned how to be strong when it seems like everything is falling apart. I learned how to look forward and not look back. I have a calmness that never leaves me, because I know that what I think brings about my experiences whether they be good or bad. I can honestly say that I am a Warrior that knows her strength and knows that my life is exactly what I make of it. No one else. I have a courageous spirit that carries me forward even when others would think that I should be falling apart. I am more powerful now then I ever have been in my life.
      I am grateful that we all have the power within to carry us through anything that life wants to try to throw in our way. We all are warriors even when we don’t think we are! That little spirit inside each of us is there just waiting for us to get out of the “Waiting Room.” I am so grateful to you, Christina, for showing us the power we have always had within. We just may have lost our way or been misled or been so engulfed in the pains of loss that we did not know how we could ever move forward. With you at the helm, leading the way, so many have found their strength within!
      Thank you for being that light that I needed when I found you!
      Jeanne Mallett

  • isabell m. says:

    I lost my husband of 18 years and 10 month and 11 days on 0ctober 15 2010. On September 03 2010 we found that he had kidney cancer, 4 days later he was in the hospital. Stage 4. He had about 3 month, he was gone in less then 7 weeks. I spend 24 hours a day at his side at the hospital. Feeling that I was abandoning my 17 year son. Those 1st few days I did not know what to tell my son, until he ask me ” His my dad going to dye?” I had to tell him the true. That brook my heart. At that point I new that our life’s were changing. I new we were going to have a long road in front of us. I was not ready for how I felt when the time arrived after he past away. I was so angry that 1st year, at him, at cancer, so angry at everything and everyone, his family … but I was angry at my self. Were did I go wrong, did I see the clues, why did he hid from me that he was sick. Remember that our life’s we’re not perfect. Our life’s had change does last few years. In 07 he had lost his job after 25 years working for the same company, he was out of work for 2 years, I work long hours to keep a roof over our heads. In 09 my son had back surgery, a 12 hour surgery, it was along year taking care of my son, work… what clues did I missed! two days before he past away, my son’s Dr. told that my son was doing good, everything was fine. He was 17 years old, went true a long years getting his health back, doing good in school, and know he was going to loss his dad. How much pain can a kid go true! We survive that first year. He graduated from high school, and was going to college. After that first year I did a lot of changes in my life. Those last few years were getting me ready for the changes in my life when time come. I left the past where it belong, in the past, and moved on day at the time in to my future. I still don’t know what that future is, but I know it’s a better one. I’m happy, I’m ok with everything that has happened, I’m moving on with my life, and so is my son. We still live in the same house, still work hard, long hours. I don’t know what my future is going to be, but I’m living a new life. Thanks Yes u do have my permission.

  • Caitlin Hynes says:

    Dear Christine,
    I just wanted to say thank you first and foremost. I lost my husband and love of my life on March 12,2014. It was completely unexpected. Accidental overdose. I never thought I’d be able to even begin to rebuild life without him until I found your Facebook and website. I’m starting to work through my grief and realize that there is life after my loss. We have an amazing 4 year old son who is a Spitting image of his father! Everyday I gave new challenges on the road to rebuilding my life but seeing your amazing words of comfort everyday truly inspire me. Thank you so much! I don’t know if I could ever truly express how much you mean to me! Love you!

    Love, Caitlin Hynes

    Ps. You can share my letter anywhere u want if you want to. Thanks.

  • Michelle Anderson says:

    Sixteen months ago, my husband of 19 years passed unexpectedly after a dissected aorta left him in various states of lucidity for 45 days before finally succumbing to sepsis. A piece of me died that day, too. I didn’t know how I was going to go on from that tragic day and continue living when everything I had dreamed of for my future no longer looked the same. Our girls, then 17 & 18, would never have their father walk them down the aisle, I would never watch our grandchildren someday run to his arms in a fit of delight, we would never retire together and ride motorcycles cross country with the wind in our hair and the cares of this world left behind. I was utterly devastated. I wish that I had found your community of the grieving in those early days. For me, grief was always something visited on the older generation. So when it visited me, with all its nasty inclinations and bitter tears as a 39 year old mother, I was ill-equipped to face it. I survived those early days of grief, but just barely. What I’ve learned since finding your community is that grief and death are the ultimate equalizers. It will find you regardless of your age, socio-economic status, race or religious creed. I’ve found through your daily messages that there is no proper way to grieve. That what feels right to me is perfectly acceptable and no one can make me feel inferior for that. I have found that I am much stronger than I thought. I am starting to rebuild what grief tried to steal from me. With the help of my local tribe – my family, friends and church community – I am living again. I still have sad days, but they’re far out-numbered by the happy days.

    Thank you for that.

    Michelle Anderson

    (You can share my story on facebook. I wish I could add a recent picture of my beautiful girls & me, but I’m not sure how to do that).

    • Theresa Antill says:

      In 1996 my daughter of 21 years was killed in a motor vehicle accident. She left behind a 2 and a half year old daughter who has no memories of her except what I and my other daughter and 2 sons and my family have told her. My granddaughter grew up with my husband and I as my daughter was not married. My anger was all about how unfair it was for her to have missed out on watching her baby grow into a beautiful young lady and feel I passed these feelings on to my granddaughter instead of helping her grow up without the same anger. I also feel that due to my not moving forward and learning to re-enter life I got stuck in this rut and although I thought I had “MOVED ON” after receiving only your second “30 Days of firsts” e-mail, and reading all your facebook posts, it hit me flush between the eyes that I actually haven’t been living but surviving. Going through the motions of getting through each day for 18 years. I am now 57 years and suddenly realise I have been so totally self absorbed in my grief that my children have suffered and now my granddaughter who is 20 years and I have had such an awful fall out and she has told me when she moved out that I will never see her again. This loss is like going through the same pain as when her Mum died but I know this is her journey and need to let go.

      Please do not post on facebook

  • Stephanie Mattio says:

    Dearest Christine,

    On April 12, 2013 my husband of 20 years attempted to commit suicide. He was on life support for 2 days and died on April 14, 2013. At the time our daughters were 15 and 17. It was 4 weeks before our oldest daughter was graduating from high school. The worst sound I have ever heard and will never forget is that of the sounds and cries of my girls when the doctors took us into a room when we got to the hospital to tell us that he would not make it. They miss him every day, and I know we will have to go though mane special days and events that he is supposed to be here for. That breaks my heart.

    I found you, and 1 Fit Widow, NOT by accident but by Gods plan. You are a gift, a lifeline, a speaker of great truths, an inspiration. I remember crying to my Dad, my hero, shortly after my husbands death telling him that I don’t want to be sad every day of my life. Shortly after that I found you on Facebook. Your words spoke to my soul, deep in my soul.

    I felt what a call “a double loss”; he died but it was a choice, like a divorce. I changed.
    My favorite thing you say is, “dare I say changed for the better”.
    Yes, my heart and soul were broken and in great pain. But I knew I did not want that to define the rest of my life, and most importantly, the lives of my beautiful girls!
    Your book, which was given to me by a dear friend, your Message in a Bottle, and your daily posts helped give life to my heart and soul again!

    I knew I didn’t want to be stuck in the “waiting room’ but I did not understand what it was. Through your pain, loss , growth and love for life, you have defined the “waiting room” for us. I find myself rereading and highlighting almost every word in Second Firsts and saving your Message in a Bottle. Your words are so much more than words, they are an amazing most wonderful gift, and for that I am deeply grateful. I am open to finding and living my “Second Firsts”, lots of them, a lifetime of them!
    I am trying to teach and show my amaxing, strong, beautiful daughters the same thing. Thank you Christina for not being afraid to talk and share your story and beautiful words!

    I am, forever grateful,
    Stephanie Heine Mattio

    P.s. I am emailing a picture of me and my girls

  • Mary Bradley says:

    Hi Christina

    I remember reading your Don’t Jump on the Anniversary Train awhile ago and thinking “I hope I can remember this”.
    Tonight I remembered. This evening – right about this time – exactly 2 years ago – my wife ML and I received the news that toppled our world. Ten weeks later, my world was toppled again when she passed away. You know when you get off of a ride that you absolutely hated and you say to yourself “never again”? And then you find that you’ve been put on the ride again? Only this time by yourself. That.
    I needed to talk to ML tonight about something totally unrelated and in the midst of that realized what today was. I began to cry. ML told me “Mary – you don’t have to go back there. There’s no reason to feel that pain again”. I then I remembered your Anniversary Train. I felt a heavy wet blanket being lifted from my body – that’s what it felt like. And that’s how I’m different since I began receiving the Message in a Bottle. I don’t need to visit that pain …. ever again. And that’s ok.
    There’s too much joy to be felt – there’s also so much pain – but we have a choice. I choose joy!
    I’m thankful for ML talking to me when I need her – and even when I think I don’t. I’m thankful she led me to a wonderful woman. I’m thankful for being able to feel joy in so many little things. Because it’s always about the little things.
    Thank you for talking to us. You’re so real. Your frustration, anger, joy, humor – you share it all. And you’re the voice that I heard just before I realized I still had so much life.
    Mary Bradley
    PS – I’d love to send you a picture but I’m unable to do it here on your website.

  • Jenni says:

    Four years ago, on 17 December 2010, I lost my love. Ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. Collapsed at work, made it to hospital. Four operations, five days and I had to make decision to turn off life support. We went to school together, only met again in 2002 at friends 50th birthday party. I knew that this was “it”…what I had been searching for all my life, through two other failed marriages and numerous other relationships. Finally, I had found him. We married and had eight wonderful years together…then he left. No parents, no children (before him i never met anyone I trusted enough to have kids with, and then it was too late). We were simply soul mates. Since he died I have returned “home”… Sold up and moved to another country…got a dog…trying to find myself a reason for still being here. No interest in finding anyone else. How could anyone ever compare to what we had found. Just so, so lonely. Miss him still every day. I am obviously stuck in the “waiting room”….but trying hard to open that door. Don’t know why I am writing all this…just helps to tell someone, anyone. My friends are all bored hearing all this stuff. Just keep smiling “I am fine”….but I’m not. Thanks for listening. X

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