As a widowed person, I sometimes feel as if I’m been convicted of something.

Perhaps I did something wrong, and I just don’t remember.

Being widowed is sort of like having to plead your case,

take the Fifth,

plead insanity,

to a Jury of your “peers”,

over and over and over



For some reason,

when you become widowed,

people seem to think

that this gives them the right

to give any and all opinions

on your life.

How you should feel.

What you should do.

Shouldn’t do.

How you should grieve.

When you should date.

Or not date.

When you should “get rid of” his things.

Take off your wedding ring.

Move on.

Get over it.


“It’s been 3 months. Why aren’t you dating anyone?”


“It’s been 6 years, and you’re in LOVE after only knowing someone for a few months? That seems VERY FAST!”


You know what?

You don’t have a clue.


I’m angry.

I have every right to be.

I’m sick and tired of being judged.

Of feeling like people think I’ve lost my common sense,

and not my husband.

Of feeling like everyone is silently, or VERY LOUDLY, judging and picking apart

everything I do.

Or don’t do.

I’m tired of it.

I’m not on trial here.

I haven’t committed a crime.


I love two men.

One of them is still dead, forever.

It took me SIX YEARS to get here.

To be able to love again.

Love after loss is messy.




Eyes wide-open.

Incredibly beautiful.

Profound, even.

When you have lost everything –

Your partner, your world, your future, your present, your sense of life having meaning,


When it all disappears,

Before you have even woken up that morning,

You are changed,



HOW you are changed,

Is ultimately,

Up to you.



I have changed.

I am more emotional.

I am more sensitive to things.

I am more compassionate.

Less judgmental.

More patient.

More empathetic.

I love deeper.



My relationship with my late husband,

Was a slow build.

A deep friendship that turned into more,

Over time.

My new love

Is a volcano.

It erupted and sparked and turned me inside out,

and love didn’t just WALK in,

It sprinted.

It tumbled down a lava-filled mountain,

Screaming and cheering and carrying on.


It’s terrifying.

Every single day I wake up and think,

“What if he dies today?

What if we don’t even get our first Christmas together?

What if we don’t have our first New Years Eve?

What if I wake up one day, and it’s just gone,

All over again?”


Panic and terror and anxiety are a part of me now.

They just are.

That’s what happens when you wake up one morning,

And your husband is already dead.

That never leaves you.



So I can close off my heart to love,


Because I don’t want the panic.

And because,

I can’t go through that never-ending pain of losing them,



I can love profoundly,

With the knowledge

Seeped into my brain


That this may end tomorrow.

That tomorrow may not be a thing for us.


I have chosen Love.

I will live with the fear, so I can have the love.

I will love my dead husband,

As I love this beautiful new person.

I will collect all the love,

And hold it

Like a precious jewel,

Never letting go.

Just adding more,

And more,

And more.

And if you,

And your Jury of peers,

Most of whom have NOT been through this,

And who have NOT A CLUE what this life is,

Want to judge me

And convict me

For loving

And honoring

My dead husband



Loving and honoring my life,

And my new love,


And deeply,

And simultaneously,

If you want to convict me of that crime,

As you go back home and slide into bed

Next to your husband,

Who is very much alive,

Go For it.


When it comes to Love,

I plead Guilty.

Every single time.

Kelley Lynn is an author, actor, comedian, TED talk speaker, and widow.  She lives in Massachusetts, and is trying to change the world.


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  • Barbara Bower says:

    Thank you for writing all those true and beautiful words. Very inspiring for me as I start the next journey. Dating????

    Thank you

  • Carol J says:

    LOVE you, and your outlook, attitude, emotions, pain, joy, all of it, so much. I have personally chosen not to “seek out” that “second chapter,” as I’ve mentioned before, but watching you, reading your passionate and so very well written articles, posts, stories, has given me a different option to at least consider a little bit more seriously than I have before…that of perhaps companionship…I would now be open to that. I honestly don’t know if it will happen, and I don’t have any plans or intentions to seek it out. But I’ve opened the door a tad. Thank you Kelley, for your inspiration.

  • Carol J says:

    Ps:…when I say “…LOVE your…’pain’,…” I am referring to holding you close in my heart as you move through this part of your life, as well as when you embrace the joy that comes your way.

  • Alison J says:

    Kelley Lynn, I am impressed beyond words at your positive outlook on life after widowhood, your courage to take a chance on a future heartbreak in favor of feeling love in your heart once more for a new life partner, and most of all for your humor! I moved back to Massachusetts, the state o’ my birth, after my beloved husband, best friend, life partner and all around great dude passed away suddenly and totally unexpectedly on Feb .17, 2016. I should have stayed in Maine and toughed it out. I am happy to hear that you found love amidst the struggle that is grief. My blog saved my sanity in the first 9 months. I’ll look up your Ted Talk later on today. Keep smiling, you’re beautiful!

  • Julia J says:

    Remarkable story. Thank you for choosing to write it and for finding love again. For each of us that loses someone and thinks about maybe making a similar choice one day, you are an inspiration.

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