Dating

A Double Widower’s Journey Through Dating, Healing, And Parenting With Isaac Byrd Jr. Part 2

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Isaac Byrd Jr. | Double Widower

  In part two of our heartfelt conversation with Isaac Byrd Jr., a two-time widower navigating life at 42, we follow his journey of single parenting, dating, and connecting with a community online. Discover how Isaac turned to TikTok during the pandemic, not to go viral, but to find solace and companionship, hosting Taco Tuesday live sessions that created a lounge-like happy hour for his followers. He shares invaluable advice on embracing spontaneity on social media and the challenges of single parenting, emphasizing the importance of communication over discipline and the support from his extended family. Isaac also opens up about preparing his son for the realities of life as a Black child, the complexities of dating as a widower, and the powerful impact of keeping his late wife’s memory alive. Tune in for an inspiring and deeply personal look at resilience, community, and the nuanced art of parenting through grief. 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“ — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   A Double Widower’s Journey Through Dating, Healing, And Parenting With Isaac Byrd Jr. Part 2 Our conversation is with Mr. Isaac Byrd. If you didn’t catch the last episode, you want to go back because that is part one. This is part two. Our conversation with a two-time widower at the age of 42 is about raising his 3-year-old son, dating, and navigating life as a widower. Let’s get into the conversation.     As we ended the last discussion, Isaac was welcoming enough to come back and do part two. He was gracious enough to join us for part two because there’s so much to talk about. We barely got through that. Everybody wants to know about dating and parenting, but before we get into all of that, how did you get on TikTok? What drove that? TikTok Community Being lonely, being in the middle of a pandemic, having a child, and needing adults or some type of connection with the outside world. You can only watch so many movies and those kinds of things. I was like, “We’re not going outside right now. Let me see what this TikTok thing is about.” That helped me build a community, in a sense. TikTok has become a community. I was then like, “I got to interact with these videos.” I never intended to build like, “I’m going to have this huge platform. I’m going to try to go viral,” because I don’t care about any of that. Somebody commented on one of my videos and was like, “Imagine trying to go viral and trying so hard.” I commented back, “Viral is not a part of the goals that I have in life. The rest of you think that, but no.” TikTok became a community. It was a way to connect with people. I’ve connected with several people that I’ve done music with and other things like that. TikTok has been a level of therapy for me. As a matter of fact, I even talked to my therapist about it. It’s a level of therapy for me. It has been there. From that, on one Tuesday night, I was making tacos in my kitchen. I turned on some music. This was finally when I could go live back when they were really hard-pressed about you going live. You had to have at least 1,000 people or something like that. I finally went live and turned my camera on. My son was probably already in bed. I turned the camera on and I’m cooking and making tacos, and a couple of people have joined. That’s been the thing for two years, Taco Tuesday. Are you still making tacos every Tuesday? Are you buying them someplace? Have they evolved? I still make them sometimes. I do buy them, but because of my living or the way I was at my house back in Florida and in changing, my setup is completely different. The cooking part doesn’t happen anymore on Taco Tuesday. For some reason, on Tuesday, I’m trying to get something Mexican or make it. That’s my thing on Tuesdays. That’s how, over time, I developed a community on TikTok, and it’s been really good. I haven’t had any issues on TikTok or anything like that. It’s been pretty pleasant. This is how I met you. I wanted to expound on that. When they hear TikTok, it’s teenagers or it’s people gyrating on the screen, or it’s doing all this other stuff. You talk about going live. For someone who has no concept of that, can you maybe explain or elaborate on that? Yeah. Being live is basically, you’re inviting people into your home. You’re inviting them into your life. Some people make it very formal. Some people make it informal. I’m somewhat informal but formal in a sense because Taco Tuesday is a whole theme. The concept of when I go live for that is specifically, it’s like a happy hour lounge. First of all, it was for adults getting off work. Most of us are parents or whatever. We are not going out to a lounge or going anywhere to have a drink. You can grab your drink, get on here, laugh, have some good times, and talk with other people. Sometimes, I have questions. Sometimes, I have game night, which is fun. Those are brutal. There is a level of competitiveness on game night. My game nights are typically around some type of music theme. I’ll either have questions or I’ll do Name That Tune. What’s funny about that is they get mad at me sometimes because I pick songs and they’d be like, “Nobody knows what that song was on that album. I know. …

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Shipwrecked: A Widow’s Journey To Healing, Parenting, And Dating Again With Jeanette Koncikowski

WRT Jeanette Koncikowski | Widow’s Journey

  Guilt can sometimes show up in grief. For Jeanette Koncikowski, being a widow brought up many realizations about the challenges that are often overlooked as we grieve our partners. We tend to look back and feel guilty and ashamed, thinking we aren’t good enough. In this conversation, Jeanette joins Tina Fornwald to lay bare her experiences and realizations when she lost her husband. When did she start being comfortable in the process of making choices on her own? How did she begin untangling the layers of guilt and shame? What does the healing process look like for a widow? How does she handle parenting with grief? What is life after loss for Jeanette? Find out the answers to these questions and more as you follow this episode. Plus, hear about Jeanette’s book, Shipwrecked: A Memoir of Widowed Parenting and Life After Loss.   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 — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   Shipwrecked: A Widow’s Journey To Healing, Parenting, And Dating Again With Jeanette Koncikowski Jeanette, welcome to the show. Tina, thank you so much for having me. I am glad to have this conversation. You can tell people how I tracked you down on the internet and stalked you to be here because I have no shame about that. I am always intentionally looking for people who have a voice, people who have something to share that will encourage other people. I believe it was on Twitter where I stalked you and said, “This would be a good voice to bring to the widowhood.” Thank you for not thinking of some internet creeper or something like that. I’m happy to connect. We did connect on Twitter. It’s been a great resource. Grief Twitter is a real thing, and it’s been a huge resource in my healing. Thank you for saying that. Before we get into your story, just on that topic, as far as the internet, I know a lot of times people say, “I don’t want to be on the internet. I don’t want to be doing all these things.” Elaborate a little bit more on how the internet or social media has been a positive and helpful resource for you.     I was widowed in the fall of 2014. While there was a local widow support group, everyone was 30 or 40 years older than me, and our challenges weren’t the same. I was raising two young kids. While I did get support from that group, initially, the generational difference was hard to meet in the middle. It was hard because when you’re 60 or 70, your issues and needs as a widowed person are very different than a 35-year-old. I had to go to the internet because it was the only place I could find other young widowed parents. That’s how I started the @WidowedParentProject, was looking for a community that was going through similar struggles as widows and parents raising grieving children. Let’s talk about how you and your husband met or who you were before you even met him. What were some of your interests? Grief is part of our story, but it’s not all about who we are. I want to know who you are as a person. We were fifteen when we met. We had 21 years together. He was my high school sweetheart, so I don’t know what my adult self would’ve been like without him, but we grew up together. We were very young when we met. We were sophomores in high school. On the first day of sophomore year, we met. It was hard for me to know what my life was like before Mark. It was my childhood, we grew up together. In that sense, when I lost him, I didn’t know how to adult without him. That’s been part of my widow’s journey in learning how to be alone and how to make decisions alone. We met in high school, Spanish class, and we were together for many years. My late husband’s name is also Mark, which I thought was very interesting. You touch on something regarding when your Mark passed and adulating, decision making, also identity. Would you share how you came to realize about making choices on your own and how you became comfortable with that? What that process was like for you? Mark and I had 21 years together. As I said, we were married in 2012 and got married when we were 24. We had a very codependent relationship. I guess it wasn’t the healthiest relationship. When you get together that young, sometimes isn’t. We were separated the year before he died. We were separated for thirteen months, but our marriage was in the process of some deep healing. We were not divorcing, but we were living apart while going to marriage counseling. It was that year before his death that I learned how to live alone. I look back and I thank God that I had that year because if I had lost him the way I lost him, and I hadn’t learned how to sleep alone, how to take care of myself alone, and how to go out to eat alone, it would’ve been that much harder for me when he died. In some ways, that year, I told myself God was preparing me to learn how to be alone and I needed some staggered time to do that. It was some difficult circumstances under which he died. Part of that was that we were separated when he died, which is also something that informed who I am …

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