Losing the love of your life is indeed a heartbreaking experience, but what if you have to get through it all over again? Tina Fornwald sits down with Theresa McFadden who talks about the death of her two husbands. She looks back on how she married her first husband right out of high school, and how she openly married her second husband despite his illness. Theresa opens up about her bad experience with therapy and why widows should never stop living just because their significant others left this world. She also discusses how to avoid seven years of financial burden when your partner passes away and how she chose to let go of her husbands’ possessions to better manage her grief.
Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach.
I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.
Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide.
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Choosing To Live After The Death Of Two Husbands With Theresa McFadden
Our conversation is with Ms. Theresa McFadden. Her sister Laverne and I were friends. When my late husband passed, she connected me with her sister, Theresa. It was an instant match. The conversations we’ve had over the years have been transparent, and I knew that Theresa would be someone to be able to join the Widowhood and be sincere in the things that she shared about her second husband. I came to find out I did not even know that she had been a two-time widow. She held that back from me, but that’s something that she shares with you. She shares about her ability to keep living even after the passing of her second husband. Let’s get into this conversation now.
Let’s welcome Theresa McFadden to the conversation. How are you?
Who is Theresa McFadden?
Theresa McFadden is a mother, grandmother, daughter, all-around Lady of Travel, and an artist. Theresa is a retired widow enjoying her life.
There’s a lot right there. I’m not sure what to start with. I’m going to start with the Lady of Travel. What is the lady of travel? What does that mean?
In honor of my mother and I’m dealing with some grief issues, I started my own travel company. I named it after her. After retirement, I started to do it full-time. Now I am the lady of travel. I have a full pledge travel company with employees. We are doing great things with our people. We are traveling and showing people how important it is to see the world, and that it’s okay to travel alone.
I’m going to unpack a couple of things. How many employees and how long have you been doing the Lady of Travel, and what is it called?
I have three employees who are family, my daughter, my goddaughter, and myself. My daughter is our event planner. She handles all the events. She handles it from the beginning to the end, and she travels with groups. I have my goddaughter who handles all of our bookings, as well as myself, and putting everything in place. She’s not able to travel as much as my daughter. We work it out. I’ve been in business for many years.
Congratulations. What is the name of the travel business?
It is Ruby Red Travel. It was named after my mom. Her name was Ruby, and red is my favorite color. To me, it was perfect.
Educate me on the redness. What is your favorite shade of red?
My favorite shade of it is bright red. It’s not blinding red, but it’s noticeable.
Where does that color show up most in your life and the things you do?
When I was younger, it would always show up in my living room. Now that I’m a little more settled, normally, it’s not even in my house. Everyone knows it’s my favorite color because we had a lot. In my new home, we have a centerpiece in my dining room that’s made out of tentacles. It has red and orange in it. I’m going to look forward to decorating it.
You talked about being retired. Retired from what, if I may ask?
The Attorney General’s office for the State of New Jersey.
In what capacity?
I worked there as an Adjudicator for Immigration for the Board of Nursing. Before that, I worked for the Department of Immigration.
You’ve seen a lot of things change in society you being in that role.
Unfortunately, I can’t say for the good.
I’m going to save that for another show because that’s a whole conversation. We can probably pick that up next episode. There’s so much more to your journey before we get wrapped up in that. You said, “Be a retired widow.” Tell me a little bit about the love story before we get to the widow part.
The love story started many years ago. I was a widow at that time as well. We were both single parents. We considered ourselves to Brady Bunch. He had 3, and I had 3. We combined those 3 and made 6, and the rest was history. We raised our children together and almost were Inseparable as we did everything together. You normally don’t see one without the other unless we’re at work. The retired part comes in.
I forced my husband into retirement because he was, in my opinion, a workaholic, and the type of work he did was very dangerous. I was like, “I think you should retire. You have the age and the years. Go ahead and do it.” He made an agreement. I had already started a travel company. I was like, “I will teach you how to do travel. You retire then we’ll do it together. I’ll retire. We’ll do this travel thing full-time, both of us,” but God didn’t have it that way. That’s the plan.
I want to circle back to a few things. Did I hear you correctly saying that you are a two-time widow?
Do you mind talking about your first husband?
Not at all.
Tell us a little bit about him in that relationship.
My first husband and I met in grammar school. We were raised in the same neighborhood. We got married right out of high school. We stayed married for a while. He went into the military and came home, and unfortunately not the same person that left.
What is the time we’re looking at, like years, when he went to the military? What year that was?
1974. Once he returned back home, he was not the same person that left. He was not at war. I can’t explain what the change was, but I will say that he was a good person. It’s just that whatever happened while he was away, he couldn’t shake it when he got back home. He went into a state of depression. His life started to spiral out of control. It wasn’t working for either one of us. We stayed friends. We communicated with each other. We couldn’t live in the same household and be husband and wife, but we never got a divorce either. I was hopeful that one day it might turn around. He was a very young man when he passed away.
Do you mind talking about how he passed?
I do. Out of all that he went through on his last days, he did repent for a lot of things that he had done in his life. I know that he never stopped loving me and our daughter. He had some struggles and demons that he was fighting.
That is true. I am sorry. Thank you for sharing that. I can tell that was not an easy thing to discuss. I appreciate you being willing to talk about it. You can tell me your perspective and our society. Unfortunately, men often have to carry much and they don’t have a safe space to feel like they have an outlet to deal with the burdens of life. Not being in war doesn’t prevent someone in the military from having PTSD or different things. Back in 1974, there wasn’t a big conversation about that may have given space for him to feel comfortable and receive the help he needed.
Many times, I would talk to him and say, “Maybe if we go see a doctor, psychiatrist, or something,” but there’s such a stigma on therapy for us as a people. He refuses to accept that. He dealt with his struggles and there are many times that he conquered them. He was over it, would come out of it, and everything was going to be all right. It never happened.There is a stigma on therapy as if people should just ignore their struggles because everything will be all right in the future. Click To Tweet
Thank you. A couple of things that Theresa shared are the highs and lows like you’re on an emotional high, and then it goes back down. Sometimes when you’re in that high state, you may feel like, “This is not something I need to worry about. This is not something that I need to deal with,” but some things that are heavy on us last so much longer than those temporary highs and lows.
The stigma that you spoke about whether it’s the African-American community or people that are very proud or feel like you’re weak, there’s nothing weak about identifying that you need help. If you’ve broken your leg and you’re walking with a crutch, we don’t say, “I don’t need a crutch.” We get the help that we need. There’s so much that goes on in this mind. I encourage people to seek out mental health and wellness to help them with the challenges of life. Those are very important things. Thank you for allowing that conversation. How old were you when your first husband left this world?
I was between 36 and 37.
At that point in time, what were your options or how did you deal with grief?
I have children and a very supportive family. I had to continue. I had to raise the children. I was still working for the Department of Immigration. I had kids to send to college. I personally don’t think I had time to grieve when I did take the time or whenever things would trigger because we have these triggers. I would think about it and I would think about him, but not too long after the process of my husband passing away, I lost my father. The year, after that I lost my grandmother, and then a year after that, I lost my mother. It was like a domino effect. I grieved for everybody. Six years down the road, it hit me that, “Look around. Everybody was gone.”
It sounds like you had to roll up your sleeves and keep grinding.
There are many things that we don’t know and are not prepared for. You do what you know to do and the best that you can do. When you make the best of a bad situation, sometimes you don’t realize it is a bad situation.There are so many things that you don’t know in life and are not prepared for. Do the best you can do in every situation. Click To Tweet
I can see that. 5 to 6 years down the road, you’re jumping into these young children that you have to care for. You’re jumping in at work. You’re jumping in and doing all the things that you need to do. Time can go by quickly and then you turn around and something can happen. You know these people passed but the cumulative process of it all. Do you feel like sometimes we put grief off because we’re afraid it would take us out if we gave ourselves to it too much in different people’s paths?
Absolutely. It took all of that. In 5 or 6 years, it is all of that. On my birthday, it hit me that, “Everyone was gone.” My mother did it for anyone she met. She asks you first thing, “How are you doing? What’s your birthday?” She had a calendar. She put your name on her calendar. She’s going to send you a birthday card. Normally, I wouldn’t work on my birthday because if you work for the federal government, it’s a holiday.
Normally, I wouldn’t work on that day. That particular morning, I got up and said I’m going to work. On my way to work, that’s when it hit me, “My mom didn’t call me. She always tries to sing Happy Birthday. She didn’t call.” I broke at that point at a traffic light. People were blowing at me. I had to pull my car over into a Rite Aid parking lot and I totally lost it. That was my trigger, the fact that she didn’t call me that morning and I had not received that birthday card. That was the trigger to release all of that.
You remember this very clearly. After that, what happened? How did you feel after coming to terms with all of that in the car?
It took a while. I had to call for help. I had to call for someone to come and meet me to drive my car back home. I wasn’t trusting myself to do any of that. I went to counseling, and it was not a good experience. Everyone’s experience in counseling is different. Mine was not good because I felt like there was some form of stigmatization that was being laid upon me. My job sent me for counseling. When I went to the counselor, she had me sitting outside for one hour past the time that I was supposed to.
Nobody has time for that when I’m already stressed out and on the edge. You are trying to push me to the edge.
Being a professional, I’m thinking, “Maybe she’s with someone. Maybe there is an emergency. There’s no need for me to be stressing about her being a little late.”
You could be the person in that room with someone who could be outside waiting for you.
That was my frame of mind at that point. When I was called into her office, I realized that this lady had walked by me several times while I was sitting there. I asked the receptionist several times like, “Is she here?” When I walked in, she said, “You seem to be angry.” I said, “I am. I think you will be angry too if you felt as those someone felt as though your time wasn’t important. I’ve seen you walk past me several times, but I didn’t know who you were. I’m assuming that you knew I was. I am angry because I feel like you’re wasting my time.” She immediately said that I needed medication. That didn’t work well with me at all because you don’t know me. She said I have anger problems and anger management issues. I’m like, “Maybe I don’t need therapy.”
Therapy is like a hairdresser. Just because one hairdresser didn’t cut right doesn’t mean that we may not get another hairdresser. You do need to jive, connect, or have that chemistry with the therapist or the counselor that you’re going to see because you’re about to fill your whole soul. I could also see everything it took probably to muster yourself to be there don’t want to be bothered anymore. You ruin this whole thing for me.
It tore my soul apart because this was about my parents. She said, “You’re telling me that you were raised in a two-parent household? Were you ever abused? Is that why you’re angry?” I could not believe she even said that.
She wasn’t thinking, “This Black woman could have been raised in a wholesome household.” I’m here for the sole purpose of whatever compounded grief has done and where I’m at. I’m looking for some tools to manage that.
I said to her, “What I told you is what it is.” I had a two-parent household. My mother took care of me. My father works every day. No, my father did not abuse me. I’m not angry because my parents died because I know that, with this life, we must leave it like we came into it. I’m very much aware of what it’s all about. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt any less.
Oftentimes, people try to separate those two into the idea that you are not understanding the reality of death or you’re upset that they do coexist and that they do resonate with each other. You don’t spend years in your lifetime with someone. You have a funeral and you pluck through life and act like it doesn’t impact you.
The only thing that I could remember sharing with everyone after that whole experience was I woke up one day and I felt like I was off it because I felt like everyone that I loved who loved me unconditionally was gone. I felt left alone even though I had children, close friends, and other family members. It still felt like amongst the whole crowd of people, I was still by myself.
Unfortunately, that is something that’s very common with people as we deal with grief. It is amazing how billions of people in the world, everything is going on, but when those that are closest to us are no longer in this world, we can feel alone in the midst of a gazillion people, “I do not feel like anyone can understand what I’m going to articulate when I say how I feel.”
That makes us hold it in because of how that’s going to be received, which is why doing this show is helpful. As I’m having these conversations like with you, there will be someone that will listen to this and they’ll pluck out nuggets for themselves whether they are grieving or they are the friend or family member of somebody grieving and going, “I didn’t know it was like that.” Unfortunately, until you’ve traveled that journey, there’s no theoretical practice on how that works until you hear it from someone and resonate with it.
I say this often, “The best thing you can ask is, ‘What can I do for you? How are you doing?’ Until you walk the path, don’t tell me you know how I feel because you don’t.”
From experiencing that at 36, how do we get to even think about opening our hearts to another marriage to somebody? What was your road to that?
I felt like I met my soulmate. We were so different, but we had so much in common.
You gelled. The chemistry was there. Your interests could be different, but you together fit well.
First of all, I personally was not trying to get seriously involved with anyone. He was persistent to the point where he was joking at my mom’s house for dinner. My mom liked him so she invited them to dinner, and then my dad was hanging out with each other from time to time. My dad called me up and said, “Why don’t you meet me so and so?” When I meet him there, I’m like, “This is a setup.” We gelled, and it was good. I wouldn’t change not one day of it, the good, bad, and ugliest.
You can’t be married to be with somebody if you don’t have all that.
I would not change one minute of it, not one. Before he slipped into a coma, the last thing he said to me was, “I know I’m sick. I’m not afraid to die. I just don’t want to leave you.” I was like, “You’re not going anyway.” He made me promise him something. I’m not going to say the way he said it because somebody might see this.What he did say to me is this, “We worship with a lot of people. We fellowship with a lot of women who are widowers. I don’t want you to be like that. I don’t want you to be miserable. I want you to realize that God is calling me. He didn’t call you yet. Continue to live. I want you to promise me that.” I was like, “I promise, but you’re not going anywhere.” “We’ve been through this journey. You’re going to be all right. We’re going to go home. You’re going to be okay.” That’s not the way it was meant to be.
A couple of timelines. You were 36 when your first husband passed. How old were you when you met your second husband?
When I met him, I was 39.
How long did you guys date before you got married?
Two and a half years.
That was a chase. He was on the grind. How long into the chase that you finally give in like, “I’m going to date. We’ll see what this is like.”
It was about 5 or 6 months. I’m like, “It can’t hurt if I give it a try.” My mother made it convenient because she’s like, “I watch the kids for you.”
Not just to get married, but you find love in a way that you didn’t even know existed. You made yourself open to the possibility that, “It’s possible for someone to love and cherish me, and for me to enjoy my life with them.” Even though your second husband told you that, it seemed as if you knew that already from the experience with your first husband that you didn’t allow yourself to wither away in their absence. With your second husband, a different type of grief, a different loss, I cannot say I know what that feels like because that is unique to you and your spouse in that relationship and all the dynamics of it.
Although he was ill, spiritually, I was prepared because, realistically, I knew the chances of him surviving what he was dealing with was probably 10%. We pray for miracles, but we also pray for strength. I truly believe that God gave me both. He gave me the miracle because he allowed me to get him to a doctor who knew what was going on with him. For years, we were going from a specialist, this doctor, that doctor, and they referred him to someone else.
He was taking all these different types of medication. He wasn’t getting any better. I had a doctor who said to me, “I need you to do one thing. Try to get an appointment. It’s not local. You’re going to have to go to New York City, but it may be worth taking him over there,” and I did. I got it as God would have it. I called the same day and got an appointment the same day. I was shocked because they told me it would be 1 week or 2. They called me back and said, “If you can bring this afternoon.”
That is divine.
I’m like, “Of course.” I said to him, “We’re going to New York to the hospital over there.” He was a little reluctant, “I got to go there. That’s where we going.” I don’t call him my stepson because my mom told me, “Children are not steps. You step on stairways. You don’t step on people. These are your children and they are his children.” She was adamant about it. I don’t call my husband’s children my stepchildren. They are children.
I called the oldest son and I said, “We’re going to take your dad to New York.” He says, “Let’s go.” That’s what we did. They tested him. They did everything they needed to do. It was unbelievable. All I said was, “If I had known this year ago, would this change? Would his life that last year would have been different? What about it would have been different?” The doctor there was amazing. She knew exactly what to do and how to do it. She told us, “No more this medication.” He was overdosing on medication. Medication was destroying his body more so than it was helping him because he had many different medications that were interacting against each other.
That’s something to think about when you’re on a lot and you’re dealing with that. Make sure that they do not conflict with how it’s impacting your liver or other different things. Your bodily functions have to process all that medication and the repercussions. It’s good. She was able to identify that.
She was because I had an extensive notebook. For every doctor’s appointment that he went to, I may have taken notes of the type of medication and what the doctor said. That old-school shorthand came in handy.
Sick can’t take care of itself. It is very good to have an advocate with you, hearing different things and being proactive. That’s good you were able to be that type of person or that wife and be there.
If you have someone, there’s nothing more important than for you to have their back to stand in the gap for whatever’s going to, especially when you know that there will be misses, and most men don’t like doctors. For most men, you have to drag them like a little kid. I’m not saying all, but most.There is nothing more important than having someone to be there for you, have your back, and stand in the gap. Click To Tweet
There’s a trend out there.
Most of what I’ve encountered, that has always been the situation. I used to take time off of work. I would schedule his doctor’s appointments around my afternoon lunch or something like that. I was like, “You get there. I’ll meet you there.” They knew not to start anything until I showed up.
That’s what love looks like. It always looks like a box of chocolate. It looks like if you have to take your car to the dealership at 6:00 AM, I’m going to get up and make sure that I take you there. You’re not catching the city transportation back. It sounds like when you make somebody know they are important, anything else I have on my schedule, I will shut it down. It doesn’t matter. You are my priority. I made a vow to you. This is how I show up in this love and this relationship.
That’s what keeps me going even nowadays because I remind myself that I took that out. I remind myself that I said, “In sickness and in health.” I did take the good with the bad and then I was there until the end. That is what makes me feel as though 1) What did was the right thing to do and 2) I have no regrets about how I served my husband. They say, “Obey.” People get uptight about certain things, but I served my husband.
I can relate to that. When we are both serving each other, that’s what marriage becomes. It’s not about what I can get from this person and what they can get from me. We’ve decided to intertwine our lives together, to serve one another. What else am I here for? There’s something beautiful when you sacrifice in the ups and the downs, the highs, lows, good and bad. When you roll over know that person is there for you no matter what, you can’t beat that.
I’ll tell people when they start to talk to me about my husband or our relationship, “I remember when I tore my shoulders and I couldn’t even put my clothes on, do you know who dressed and fed me every day because I couldn’t use my right hand?” That’s how we did things with each other. When the last child left home, we made a vow that we were not going to be sitting home cooking every day and eating and everything. We would eat out three times. We went to different restaurants and did different things because there was no need for either one of us to rush home. We are just, “We’ll meet after work.” It was almost like we were dating all over again. We’ll meet after work and we have something to eat.
Isn’t it easier to go to the restaurant when it’s just the two of you, then the whole crew like, “I always wanted to get that dish. I have something to take home. I can eat it the next day.” You have space to do that because when you have all those mouths to feed, it is like, “No, we go eat at home. We are going to get an appetizer or maybe a dessert.” You don’t even know what the inside of a restaurant looks like when you have small children a lot of times.
We started to enjoy that time. We’re like, “Everybody’s gone. No kids at home. It’s just the two of us. There’s no need.”
It is a little bit more the pursuing on again.
We got a chance to enjoy that moment when it was just the two of us.
How long were you married?
We were married for 26 years together. We were together for 34 years.
That is a lot of everyday 24 hours and just loving someone.
We had some battles.
You have to love somebody through battles to show up the next day. He was blind and peaceful and you were floating on clouds, “Sometimes I love you easier. Sometimes I love you harder, but I still love you.”
We had our problems but we worked through them. We learned to pray with one another and for one another. We also learned our boundaries when it was time to walk away and let somebody breathe for a minute, and maybe we’ll be able to work this out. There were a lot of things there that made it a full circle.There will always be problems with your husband or wife, but you work through them. You learn how to pray with one another, set up boundaries, and know the right time to walk away. Click To Tweet
How was the death of your second husband different for you than your first?
I didn’t get the opportunity to spend that time with my first husband like I do with my second husband. I didn’t get a chance to nurture him and help him with his illness because we were both young. The truth of the matter is, “You are going to do what you want to do and I’m going to do what I need to do. There’s no need for me to impose on you at this point.”
If you need me, you can reach out to me, but I still have a household and kids to take care of. I cannot and will not chase behind you trying to figure out if you taking care of yourself because you made choices and I have to make choices as well. That was how our relationship was. When he passed away, we were very good friends. After being as they call frenemies, in the last three years of his life became very good friends. We bumped into each other accidentally. It was crazy. He worked right around the corner from where I worked. I had not seen him. One day, I’m coming out of my office and I’m looking at this guy walking down the street myself. I said, “I think that’s my husband.”
He had this distinct walking. I’m like, “That I can’t be because the last time I saw him, he was looking like that.” It kept eating at me. I called his name and he turned around. I was like, “It is you.” From that point on, we developed a friendship that we had totally lost contact with each other when it came down to that. In the last three years of his life, we were friends. We were able to try to mend some of the stuff that happened. Even with his friends, he would say, “This is my wife.” They were like, “Get out of here.”
They would ask me and I’m like, “I am his wife. We never got a divorce.” With my second husband, we were able to go through the journey together. When I realized that he was ill and when he was trying to hide his sickness and different things from me, I could see the difference in him. I took on the role of that parent kind of thing. I was like, “I’m taking you to the doctor. I’m making doctor’s appointments. I’m doing all these things because I know that if I leave it up to you, you’re not going to do it.”
I went through that Journey with him. I made sure that when I realized how sick he was, we were going on vacation. We’re not going to put this off. I’m going to let you experience some things that you’ve been saying that you were going to do but didn’t do. That is what we did. One month and a half before he passed away, we came back from a cruise. I was like, “That’s what we’re going to do. We’re doing this.” If he had any final memories of anything when he could no longer speak, I’m sure that they were pleasant memories. We had a nice time. He enjoyed himself. We took a lot of pictures. We did the professional pictures so that we would have those in case he was not able to travel anymore.
Had grief looked different for you?
I was busy. I had many things to do that I didn’t have to do with my first husband. I have six grown children with grandchildren who are trying to understand what happened here. I had people who didn’t understand what we had already planned for. There were no preparations needed to be done. I didn’t have to deal with funeral homes, picking out caskets, and any of that type of thing because we already did that.
When my mom passed away, I said to him at that point, “We need to get ready for whatever happens.” That’s what we started to do at that point. When he did pass, fortunate for us, we have a friend who owns the funeral home. I picked up the phone and I called her. She says, “I need you to go to this place and pick him up.” She came to my house and got his clothes and everything. I had him sit in the closet. I wasn’t even home. I was like, “Everything you said he needs is there.”
That made it a lot easier for me, but I tried to make sure that my husband, as they said, was going home something that would not be forgotten by anyone. My husband was in love with music. He loved all types of music, but gospel music was his thing. He would do a two-step shuffle. When he would get happy, it was nonstop. He was doing this two-step shuffle. The church would go, “Here it comes.”
He loves gospel music. All of the different groups that he would go and listen to, the local gospel groups and different things, I had them all at his viewing. We had a complete gospel concert the night before the service. Family was coming in from all over. As a matter of fact, there was a lady, but I didn’t get a chance to meet her. She thought it was a revival going on in the church. She came in. She heard the music and saw all the cars outside. She thought it was a revival. She had no idea. That was the way that I think he would have wanted it to be. We pulled that one off.
I had a lot going on. It took me one minute. He passed away in September. We buried him on October 1. December was a little difficult as we were getting ready for the holiday. It hits me because we would go through this whole production for Christmas. I was like, “I guess I got to do all this by myself. I’ll have nobody to fuss with about the lights not being right and then I got to do this myself.” That was the beginning of my grieving because my only concern was helping the kids get through and helping the grandkids understand because they were dealing with this in a totally different way. Almost seven years later, I still have a grandson who was having such a hard time.
What year did your husband pass?
It was 2016.
You seem to always be caring about how other people are doing and putting yourself on the back burner.
That is who I am. I don’t know any other way because I feel like if I can make sure that everybody else is okay, then I’m okay. If I have to worry about when you’re okay, then that means that I’m not okay because I’m going to be concerned about you. I’m going to worry about you. When I can get past that part of not worrying about you, then I know that I’m going to be all right. As long as I see that you are troubled or dealing with a situation and a different way, I need to be there. I need to try to walk you through it.
I need to try to support you through this because I know that it’s something that you weren’t familiar with. My husband loved all those children, every single one. He was the babysitter. There would be times I would come home, and he’s like, “We’ll watch them.” I said, “No, you watch them. You are doing it. Not me.” I would hold him to that, “You’re watching them, not me.” He had this love for his grandchildren. They had a love for him that you couldn’t touch.
After the first Christmas and the grief started sneaking up on you, I know you said it was difficult, but what does that look like with some granular explanation like not being able to get out of bed? Can you talk about what did that look like for you?
I didn’t realize what it was. When I didn’t clean out his nightstand, when I wouldn’t sleep on one side of the bed, I could get up and pull up the covers on my side and the bed was made. I was dusting off the books in the Bible because he had stacks of Bibles all different types of Bibles that he was referencing. I just clean them off and put them back as if he’s going to get up and read them. His clothes stayed in the closet for almost two and a half years. Some of them stayed in there longer than that. Some of them stayed until February when I moved
What was the process like of removing his items?
I called the boys. I’m talking about the sons. I was like, “What do you want? You need to come and tell me what you want so that I can make sure that you get what it is that you want from your dad.” That was how I started the process. My husband was a small statue guy. I met a guy at church one day. He was a new member. I’m looking at this guy. I said to him, “What size do you wear?” He told me. He got a chance to meet my husband before my husband passed away when he was visiting the church before he joined. He was relocating to North Carolina. I spoke to the lady at the church and said, “I think I’m going to invite him to come and go through my husband’s stuff.”
You want to see him show up in church in it.
That was my thought. I said, “You don’t think he would be offended?” She said, “I don’t think so at all.” I mentioned it to him and I said, “You’re moving to North Carolina. My husband has a lot of different clothes.” He says, “I know. He has been a sharp dresser. I always admire him.” I said, “Great.” I gave him my address. He came over with one of the ladies from the church.
You have to have that third person to keep it legit.
I told him, “You going to have to come back because you need to bring a suitcase.” He picked out a lot of stuff. I said, “Where do you put it?” He said, “Never mind.” I went to my basement and got him a suitcase. He could wear my husband’s hats, suits, and everything. I could not believe it. It couldn’t have been any more perfect. The Sunday before he left to go to North Carolina, I came into the church and I was standing in the doorway. I have seen this suit. I was like, “My God.” I almost turned around.
“You are supposed to be in the Carolina. I’m not trying to see that here, not in the church we went to. My brain can’t take this.”
I almost turned around. I went to my seat, and at the service, I said, “That suit fits you perfectly.” Everybody in the church was thinking the same way I was thinking. They were like, “He’s got on a suit.” I was like, “Okay.” The grief part of it was that I normally sat in a second row of the church because my husband was a deacon and I was the chairperson of the deaconess. I always sat right behind him. I couldn’t sit there any longer.
It is that secondary loss, those things we lose because we lost them.
I didn’t lose the position.
It is the location, those small things that we lose in their absence.
It was too much for me to sit there. I tried hard. I would get up and walk away. I go all the way to the back of the church. I was like, “I can’t do this.” I found myself crying more in church than I was at home because he spent so much of his time in the church. When he retired from work, that’s what he spent all the time. He was doing something. He was cleaning and fixing something. If I didn’t know any better, I think he was breaking stuff to fix it.
That’s where he bounces his peace. I knew that if I called him anytime after 9:00 AM, he would be in the church by himself. He is cleaning and doing something. That’s where his peace was. I found it hard to continue to worship because it was becoming overwhelming. I stayed away from the church for a little bit and I went back. I started working my way midway. I was like, “Maybe midway, I can do it,” and I was like, “This is not working for me.”
It is like that because of the connection. I want to ask you. When the gentleman left with the clothes, and you were there because the lady came with them, what happened? How did that go for you when he left with the clothing that day?
Unbelievably, it went well. I felt good. I had a concern that my husband’s son was going to say, “You didn’t ask me if I wanted that.” He was going to circle back and say, “I think I want so and so,” and I already gave it away. That became an issue as I thought it would. I was like, “I gave you the opportunity to get whatever you wanted when you were here. I made sure that before anything, you had the opportunity to do that. I needed to get that done.”
There were things up until February 2023 that I had not touched. I had no idea of the different things that my husband had in the house in the garage and different things I didn’t even bother to even touch with. Up until February 2023, his nightstand was still the same. I gave away a lot of Bibles and different things and books that he had because I was like, “I can’t take it with me.” The memories that I have of him will always be there. I don’t need the book for me to know that his spirit is always there. I’m like, “I’m not going to hold on to that for my own sanity.”Give away the things that remind you of a loved one who passed away. Their memories will still remain with you. Click To Tweet
It is that sanity, that idea of, “I have to live in the life that I have now. Not that I don’t miss them or I don’t love them, but that is not the life that I no longer have, and that’s the reality of it.”
I made a promise to my mother. She would say to me all the time, “If I passed away, don’t put me in that graveyard and don’t come back. Many people don’t come back. The graves aren’t clean and this and that. I would never do that.” I would go and clean. Everybody was great because everybody was there together. On some days I will make it a whole day. I go on Saturday morning and when I look around on Saturday afternoon. I have walked through the cemetery. I didn’t clean this one or that one.
When my husband passed away, he was fifteen steps from my mother. I was going to have my name put on the stone right when I had his soulmate. The guy says, “Please don’t do that.” I was like, “This is where I’m going to, eventually.” He thought I was going to do it to save money. He says, “The cost is the same. We’re going to have to remove it.” I said, “No. It wasn’t about the money.” It was funny the way he was like this, “Please don’t do this.” That was like, “Why are engraving that? You can go ahead and put money.”
I’m going to pause right there and talk about what you said about getting ready. Knowing what you know now, what are some things you wish you would have known that you didn’t know as far as getting ready and what that looks like?
First of all, when you are married to someone who has children outside of your marriage or previous year’s marriage, there’s much red tape. There’s so much that you have to do according to whatever state you live in or the county. I’m sure different states and counties are different but in the state of New Jersey, this is so much. There are bonds that have to be purchased. This is so much even if a person has a will. All it takes is for one person to contest the will it can go on and on.
When my friends talk to me now, I say, “You need to go over all your documents and go over them thoroughly. Make sure everything is notarized and witnessed because if you don’t, you are looking at a journey that is not nice. It’s not good.” I went to the probate office and the State of New Jersey. I took everything that they said that I needed to bring. As I was sitting here going through the process, I broke down and started crying because now I’ve got everything in an envelope.
I thought this was going to be very easy for me that deal with. It was a year later when I decided to deal with it, and now I realize that I’m not mentally ready to deal with this. In the interim of all of that, of course, you hire an attorney. I was very clear, “I’m not hiring you because I can’t do it. I’m hiring you because mentally it’s challenging for me. I don’t want to do it.” It was just recently that I was able to probate my husband’s will.
Emotional roller coaster and the financial burden of seven years of legal fees.
It is $15,000 and counting. It’s not easy. It is $15,000 with one attorney. It has nothing to do with the other two attorneys that I’ve had. That didn’t do the job. There’s so much that you have to do. You have to do your homework. It’s best to do the homework before then I have to do it because during the time that you’re dealing with the grief, you’re not mentally ready. Unfortunately, people take advantage of a situation.
I was one of those people that got taken advantage of. They took advantage of my group. They took advantage of the fact that I didn’t know that I felt like I didn’t have to know because I was dealing with the legal system. I’m dealing with people who this is what they get paid to do. Why do I have to know all of the ins and outs of your job? I came to you what you asked me to bring to you and that should be enough once I give you the check.
I want to talk about it for a moment. You have been a professional. You are an astute and knowledgeable woman, but the weight of that grief and that fog will take you outside of yourself. You’re functioning and moving, but everything in your head is a fall. It’s like you’re far from what you know yourself to your thoughts to be crisp, your ability to make decisions and be aware. It’s like you’re hovering or how would you describe that mental state that you’re in whatever it is, maybe 6 months or 1 year everybody’s different but in a precious of life that impact.
I looked at it as being here, but not being here. Going through the motions of everyday life, you’re here. I see you. We’re talking. We’re having a conversation, but if you ask me, two hours later did we have a conversation? What was the conversation about? I may be not able to tell you at all because not only are we dealing with degrees, but we’re dealing with everyday life. Some people forget that you have to continue to live. I can’t take on your burdens even though I may have taken them on your burdens in the past. I can’t take on your burdens at this point. Because you’re used to doing it, you like it. I was sitting and listening. If you say, “What do you think about this? What do you think about that?” I’ll tell you, “I don’t know. Let me think about it.” That’s because I like checking out on you.
“What did you say? I think you got what it takes to handle that yourself.”
I’m that person who wakes up at 4:35 clock in the morning and remembers the conversation. I didn’t remember it two hours after the conversation but in the middle of the night, it came to me and I was like, “Let me make a note that I need to call that person back and tell them this.” At that moment, you check out. You go through the motions. My husband died in October and they expected me to come back to work. I attempted it around the end of October. I went to my office. I looked, “I’m not ready for this.” I turned around and said, “I put in for another leave of absence.” She said, “You just got back.” I’m like, “I’m not ready.” I knew I wasn’t ready. I left. In December, I was supposed to go back to work. December 8th I put in my retirement papers. I said, “I can’t do it.”
How old were you there?
I was 62.
You were ready anyway.
That was the plan. Our plan was that I would work until I turn 62 and I would go ahead and retire and we would do the travel agency together.
Now that’s executing your plan and not our plan.
That was the plan anyway, and I was like, “I’m not doing this. I can’t do this.”
Things have a different sense of importance or lackluster when you lose someone that close. It’s like, “This may be all I have and this is not what I’m going to spend it doing.” We look at things differently when you’ve lost someone like that.
When I went back to my office, I went to my director and said to him, “Before you hear from anyone else, I’m sure they haven’t told you yet, but effective February 1, I’m officially retired.” He looked at me and said, “Really?” I said, “Really.” He says, “Thank you for telling me.” I said, “You’re welcome. I felt like we had that type of working relationship that I should give you the heads up that this is what I’m going to do to prepare you. You don’t get sides which side attractor somebody you get hit up a request ahead with, ‘Now what am I going to do?’ because I was a one-person department. If you need me to train somebody or whatever, now is the time to tell me this because on February 1st I’m gone.”
You are thinking of other people.
I was like, “There is so much time I have to take before I can retire. January 1st, I’m gone. I won’t be back. I’ll come back and get my things and sign the last paperwork that I need, but I have to go.” Many people at work would say stuff like, “What are you going to do with yourself? What are you going to do? Why are you retiring?” I said, “Live.” Simple as that live.
I can’t take anything other than that. I’m going to live the dream. I’m going to follow the plan. The plan was you turn 62 and you need to retire. I turned 62 in August, but because my husband was sick, and I knew that I needed that medical insurance to cover his illness, doctors, and all of that stuff, I stayed on to the job to make sure that he had the best that he needed to have. He would not be lying on his sick bed worrying about how I was going to pay the bills. That was not going to happen. I stayed as an active employee until there was no need for me to do that anymore.
What does living look like for Theresa?
Theresa has turned into a whole different chapter of her life. I moved out of a city that I had been in all my life. I was born and raised in the same city. February, I made the decision to sell the house. The house was the house that my husband bought before me as a wedding gift. I decided that it was signed. It was time to let go. The house was bringing a lot of grief and despair. I was like, “It’s time.”
Was it despair in memories or legal ramifications?
All of the above. It was bringing attention and stress between the family and the children. It’s a lot of stuff. Everybody was dealing with the agreement differently. I’m going to sum that up. They would deal with the grief of losing their loved one but because I was still living, I was the victim. I’ll be that. I went on a seven-day cruise on December 16, 2020. I went alone. While I was on my cruise, I slept for three days in my cabin room service. I came out every once in a blue moon. I sat in my cabin and prayed. I communed with the Lord. I had to get some clarity on what I needed to do. I did not want to end 2022 and go into 2023 with all that turmoil in my life. I needed it to come to an end.
That’s what I did. For three days, I was like, “God, I’m listening. I’m here. I need you to tell me what to do because I don’t know what to do.” Sometimes we have to surrender. As much as I like helping everybody and thinking that I can do all of that and I know that’s one of my downfalls, but I do know that sometimes I have to stop, stand still, and know that there’s a higher power. That’s what I did. It came to me it’s clear as that. I got rid of the house. Sell the house. As many times as I tried to, “That’s not the way,” that was the answer.
I called my attorney up and said, “I’m going to sell the house because the house was what was holding up the probate and everything. Let’s sell the house because it’s got too much trouble going on. If it hadn’t been peaceful, it would have been no problem. It was disturbing my peace.” I called the realtor and they said,” Are you sure?” I said, “Absolutely.” My house is sold in seven days. I’m unheard of as most people tell me. It was under contract within seven days.
The market was popping.
Under contract, but the house closed.
How does that feel?
I don’t feel.
It’s surreal. It’s got to be so much in everything and nothing.
I don’t feel, at least not yet.
You have the conversation with us.
The house was supposed to close in February. I moved out of the house as soon as it was under contract. I found somewhere to move to within two weeks. I packed up over sixteen years of my life.
That was an emotional roller coaster in a short period of time. You don’t even catch up from that yet.
I’m still living out of boxes, at the end of the day, God made it very clear. That’s what I needed to do. I was not going to turn back.
You cause yourself more harm than good when you have clear insight. Still in the house, what else does living look like for Theresa?
I’m in a new location, a totally new area. I’m learning the area. I’m loving the Southern part of Jersey and the more of a suburban-type lifestyle. I do have someone in my life.
You are about love.
Let’s be clear. I do have someone in my life.
We’re not going to pass that. How do you have this ability to keep loving and being open to the possibility? Some people are like, “That happens. I’m never going to do it again. I’m a widow forever. What was me?” That’s fine. They never even want to think about it, especially after you feel like that was your soulmate to be able to love again. How do you have space for that in your heart? How do you do that?
I can’t imagine how I could not because I truly believe it we go through a process and after going through the process, we are not meant to be by ourselves. We are not meant to live alone and you can go through the process and say, “This is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.” Who are you to make that decision? You can make the decision about what shoes or dress you want to wear. God makes the decision about your life.
I must feel a little bit of tea right here. When you are not first connected because of your sister, you are not thinking about a relationship. You were thinking, “No.”
That’s how I truly felt. I was like, “I can’t do this no more. This hurts. It’s too painful. It hurts too much.”
What was the shift? What was the thing that said, “I think I can, maybe?”
The thing is that you know how as my husband was very persistent, it is something about someone who’s being persistent in your life and about doing things and I was like, “It’s okay. Let’s go out.”
Do you have another stalker?
Not a stalker. Do you know what happened? What turned the whole situation around was COVID because I met this gentleman right before COVID.
You called me. We were talking about something and I was like, “I think I heard something,” that you’re trying to slip by me real quick in the conversation like, “I don’t think so.”
I’m still going through the process. He would text or call me and he’s like, “How are you doing? I know it must be difficult. You lost your husband. Now you are locked in the house.” Some days, I would answer. Some days, I would. Most of the time, I didn’t. I was like, “He’s got a point.” We started to communicate during COVID. After that, I had to come about it myself and say, “This is not going to work for you.” Once things started to lift up a little bit, we started dating, going out to eat in different things such as that and the story continued.
That is beautiful that life keeps living if we allow it to.
I could have kept the door closed as I had in my head and my heart that it would be always closed. There are certain things that happen that make you wonder why you are doing it that way. When someone shows that type of attention even though they know your situation and they still were like, “Let me check in on her and see how she’s doing. We’re 70 or 80 miles away from each other, but let me check in and see how she’s doing,” that meant a lot to me. There was a lot of driving and back and forth. After COVID lifted up, we did that. It was good. It turned out to be very good.
I am excited. That you have opened your heart to love to present itself and receive it. You are living your life. It is amazing for your husband to give you the gift to say, “God called me, not you, and I want you to live.” There’s something every spouse may not have that they may guess, wonder, or hope that their late spouse won’t be upset or the world won’t get mad because I’ve decided to keep living. I feel like the world gives widowers the opportunity to keep living but us widows don’t always get the check off by friends, family, and society that I’m still alive and I need to live. If you have any challenges with family or friends with the idea you continue to live, how did you navigate that?
I had some ladies of the church, the same ones that I think my husband might have been referring to.
Whoever hypothetically those people are.
“I know you’re not all ready.” “I am.”
“What’s wrong with it?” I’m sure you can’t see because I rather tell you what I’m doing and be comfortable with what I’m doing versus sneaking around corners, the same thing that I’m doing but undercover. I’m not going to do that because first of all, I’m a grown woman. I’m responsible for myself. I don’t have to answer to anyone. When you’ve been through what I’ve been through, I think I deserve that. My grandmother used to say things like, “I earned everything that I got and everything that I say, I’m grown enough to say.” I didn’t quite understand where she was going with that but I do now.
“You mess with that. I am not messing with that.”
“I don’t owe you an explanation of why I chose to do something. If I give you an explanation, it’s because I want you to have it, but not because I owe it to you because it’s none of your business.” I’m glad you interview me because I don’t mind you asking but there are people that ask questions not because they have any concerns at all. It’s something for them to be nitpicking and talking about.
“You know who I am over time.”
I don’t have time for that. I don’t have patience for that because whether you know it or not, just because I’m smiling on the outside doesn’t mean that I’m not hurting on the inside or that I’m not still breathing on the inside. Just because I’ve chosen to move on does not mean that I have excused or dismissed anything that has happened in my past.
That is valuable because you are moving forward with your life doesn’t mean that the price of loving your 1st or 2nd husband still doesn’t resonate. It still does impact you. It will forever impact you but it doesn’t prevent you from moving forward and living your life. You have chosen not to stay stuck in that situation and everybody has their own grief journey, but for you, the idea of continuing living has been phenomenal.
As you were speaking and you talked about vacation, some people hear the word vacation are cruising. It seems like something to do to get away from work. When I hear you talk about vacation and travel, I hear so much more about what that looks like, the memories, the life, and seeing the world that God has made. What does it look like for you when you say vacation and for you to travel that the average person isn’t getting?
What it looks like for me at this time in my life is that there are many things that I didn’t get an opportunity to do as a younger woman. I promised myself that if God gave me the time and the resources to do these things then I’m going to do them. If it’s not meant for me to do it, he wouldn’t provide for me to do it. Because I loved dealing with people so much, I feel like that was the extra bonus because now I have to travel company. I travel with people my business says, “I’ll travel with you because I don’t want you to have to deal with anything that may go wrong during your vacation because this is your vacation.”
What it is for me is a working vacation. That’s what makes it different. That’s what makes a vacation for me. I show someone else how to experience it from a different level. I’m not putting you on a plane and putting you on a boat and saying, “I booked this for you. Now you go on.” I’m not doing that. With every client that I’ve had and I’ve had some of them ever since I started this business, everyone I have the itinerary from the beginning to the end, they know how to reach me. I knew how to reach them. I followed the attractive flights and made sure that they were checked into their hotel, even if I was not traveling with them because that’s what sets me apart from everybody else.
You are creating a travel experience, not just making travel plans for people.
It’s because I love good customer service. I’m talking to you today, but tomorrow I’m talking to Shirley, and Shirley doesn’t know what Tina told me. Therefore, we got to start over again. I don’t like that. I like to be able to give people that peace of mind, “I told Theresa and take care of this. I told her this was my desire or my need. She took care of it.” I don’t have to worry about it anymore. That’s what I want people to experience. That’s what makes it good to me. It makes me happy when I know people can experience that.
I had some people that travel. All they could say was, “Thank you so much.” When they arrived at the resort, I was already there. I’m with the day ahead, “You make sure that we have our paperwork. Those people who are not familiar with or who, “I don’t want to do stuff online,’ I printed out their stuff and mailed it to them so they have their paperwork in their hand. It was smooth sailing. That’s what makes me happy. If I did it for someone else and I took care of people for many years, the workforce, and my professional life, why can’t I do it for myself? My desire is to make everybody else happy.
That is who you are. Do you work with people only in New Jersey?
All over the world? We’re getting ready to go to Portugal. I’ve had people from California, Arizona, and everywhere. There was no limit when I went independent with my business, I did all the research. I had already worked for someone else in the travel industry so I knew exactly what was lacking and what was not and I know also what I needed to do. I know where I wanted to make mine a cut above the rest.
If someone wanted to connect with you for your services, how would they contact you?
They can go to my website, which is RubyRedTravel.com. They can email me at Info@RubyRedTravel.com. Everything is Ruby Red Travel. We’re on Facebook and Instagram. I have an event coordinator. She’s on LinkedIn and her name is LaTressa Lane, who is my junior. If you go to RubyRedTravel.com, our Ruby Red Travel, LLC, you can connect with us. We have an office that is open six days a week.
A few more questions. You have been wonderful to talk with. I’ve enjoyed this conversation. A few more things. What gives you hope?
Waking up every day. It may not look like it but I have challenges. I have I still arthritis stage 4. There were days that I woke up when it was hard for me to even move my body. That’s the beginning. This is my legacy so I have to fight and stand for something. This is it. That’s what that looks like for me.
If you were to give younger Theresa advice, what era of your life, would it be and what advice would you give her?
In the spring of my life in my early 30s. The advice that I would give myself at that time is to not spend so much time worrying about what other people think but moving on knowing that I was doing the right thing. Not so much trying to worry about who was going to like what I did or didn’t do because, at that phase of my life, I was dealing with what some people would call a failed marriage.
I raised children by myself and worked hard. I’m trying to be a people pleaser because, at that point in your life, the kids got to look a certain way. You have to look a certain way because this is what is expected of you. You’re not supposed to have a bad day. That’s the advice I would give myself not to worry about what others think as long as you’re doing the best that you can.Do not worry about what others think as long as you are doing the best you can do. Click To Tweet
Any closing comments or whatever you would like to say to wrap up this discussion or advice you want to give?
I would like to know if this conversation has been helpful to someone. There are millions of women and men out there who are dealing with the death of their loved ones, but there is still life. We still are living. We don’t allow anyone to tell us how long to grieve because people are very quick to tell us, “Are you still going through that?” “Yes.” Don’t be afraid to say, “I am. I don’t know how much longer it’s going to be, but when God says it’s over, it’s over.”
If it’s any concern of yours or if it’s bothering you that I’m still going through, it’s okay. You don’t have to check for me because I’m going to go through it until I get through it. That’s it. Those are things that I had to go through. I had to hear people say to me, which was crazy stuff like, “You’re still crying?” that type of thing. Evidently, you never lost anyone. Maybe you never loved anyone. Who knows? Who’s to say? I don’t know. What I do know is that the tears are going to still flow, and I’m not ashamed that I’m crying. I was at the traffic light and started crying. It happens. They say that’s cleansing, and if it is, I’m pretty clean.I say, “Don’t let life pass you by. Live it. Laugh when nobody knows what you laughing about because it’s good for you. It will help you. People think you’re crazy, but that’s all right. Break out and start laughing. It’s okay because you got to go through something. If you’ve never been through anything, hold on. It’s coming.” There are many people who are like, “They’ve never been to anything. You’re not living. Something’s going on.” It’s common. I feel for you that you have never been through anything as of yet, but it’s definitely coming. When it comes, I’m going to pray for you.
I’ve had my share, but I do know more is coming. The ground has been settled for me. I already know that this is not over. As much as I would like to say to everybody who’s reading, “The house closed today, and it’s over,” it’s not because that was the first part. We got to get to the next part. This thing seems to be happening in levels. I’m going to hold on and see what the next one is. I don’t know what’s going on. I can say, “To death do us part. I loved you eternally.” There was nothing I would get for my journey. Nothing at all. What I would give through the journey that I had with my husband is nothing.
There’s nothing that I can’t even imagine anything that I could compare it with because there was much learned. There was a lot of maturing that took place. We went into it as not kids, but we were young adults and we came out of it as seniors in our lives. We always said, “We have four seasons.” We met in the spring of our lives. We’ve been through the fall. Now, we’re in the winter. As much as I hate cold weather, I’m going straight through this. I’m going to make this season in my life the best that I can have it to be for me.
I recommend that to everybody. Look at your life as seasons. When we were kids, that was our summer. We had carefree lives, but we ended up in the winter. That’s that fourth season. Love it. Make the best of it and have no regrets about whatever choices you make. Everything is not going to be good. Every day is not going to be full of laughing sunshine, but tomorrow is coming if we’re blessed enough to see it. When it comes, we do different than what we did the day before. That’s all. That’s the way that ends. I hope I answered all your questions.
The nuggets that you drop, thank you for giving the Widowhood your time, heart, and care.
You’re welcome. Thank you for having me. I’ll be looking forward to joining the Widowhood and some of the other shows, checking it out, and chiming in every now and then.
You’ve been a little busy. Thank you.
I am glad for Theresa to be able to open up and share. She was able to talk about her life, the challenges of having a blended family, and what that looks like after the passing of her spouse and her ability to live. What she did not tell you is she is about to be 70 years old on her next birthday. She is out here doing a thing on a thing. I want you to be encouraged. I am sorry for the person that you lost. They cost you to be here in this conversation, but I’m glad that you found us.
I am glad that you’re allowing us to be part of your hood. I invite you to take nuggets from this conversation as you make your own journey. I invite you to reach out to us at Widowhood-RealTalkWithTina.org. Submit to share your journey. Submit a question that we can talk about on the show. Thank you for being here with us. Talk to you soon.
About Theresa McFadden
I am a mother of 3 adult children, grandmother of 6, and a widow for six and half years, retired from the Attorney General’s office for the State of NJ. I am the owner of Ruby Red Travel LLC in NJ. Mother of 3 bonus children, 12 bonus grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.