Life After Loss

A Mother’s Love: Navigating Grief After Losing An Angel With Jessica Garland

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Jessica Garland | Mother’s Love

  Join us for a deeply moving episode as we explore the profound journey of Jessica Garland, whose life was forever changed by unimaginable tragedy. From the joys of motherhood to the depths of grief, Jessica bravely shares her story of love, loss, and resilience in the face of adversity. Jessica opens up about the loss of her daughter, Kendra. From the surprising discovery of Kendra’s pregnancy to her vibrant interests in basketball, dancing, and singing, Jessica paints a vivid picture of her beloved daughter’s life. However, tragedy strikes when Kendra is senselessly murdered at the age of 17 while working at the airport VIP lounge. Jessica courageously shares the harrowing details of the event and the profound impact it had on her and her family. Through her raw and heartfelt storytelling, Jessica navigates the complexities of grief, finding solace in unexpected sources of support while emphasizing the importance of self-care and cherishing every moment with loved ones. Despite her profound loss, Jessica finds comfort in her daughters’ achievements and offers invaluable advice on parenting, relationships, and finding gratitude amidst unimaginable pain. 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 Mother’s Love: Navigating Grief After Losing An Angel With Jessica Garland Our guest is Miss Jessica Garland, and she is going to share with us her journey and the loss of her daughter. There is a lot of conversation. There’s a lot of information to cover. Be prepared. Take notes. You will find yourself in this conversation, and you will be able to relate. Let’s get into the conversation now.     Our guest is Miss Jessica Garland. She is going to take us on a journey of her experience of grief. She is sharing the death of her daughter with us. I know from the conversations I’ve had with so many people that you also struggle with this type of grief. You are not alone. We are on this journey with you. If you are interested in sharing your journey, please email me at WidowhoodRealTalk@Gmail.com. If you have a particular topic you would like me to cover, please use that same email address. Let’s get into this conversation now. — Jessica, welcome to the show. Thank you for having me. Thank you for being here. Where are you currently in the world? I’m in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Are you from there originally? No, ma’am. I was raised in Connecticut. From Connecticut To Georgia That’s a bit of a way. How do we get from Connecticut to Georgia? This is a story. I had my daughter on April 12, 1990, and shortly after having her, I started getting these headaches that would not go away, that get worse and worse to the point that I wasn’t even able to lift my head off the pillow. That’s how bad the headaches were. I got rushed to the hospital because it had gotten so bad that my eyes had rolled back in my head. I was jaundiced from head to toe. They rushed me to the hospital. My father, who lived in Hartford, Connecticut, at the time, met me at the hospital to be able to help with the baby because she was a baby at the time. They told me that I had meningitis in my brain. They basically said to my father and to my mother, who came to the hospital, that if I lived, I would probably be a vegetable. Your daughter was born in April. When did this transpire, you said again? June of 1990. It was because I was in labor with her for 16 to 17 hours. They were thinking that we’re going to give you an epidural for the pain. I didn’t have any pain. “This is why we want you to get some rest so that when it comes time to push, you’ll have the energy to push.” I was like, “I’m young. I’m only twenty years old. I’m by myself.” Basically, the nurses, techs and staff were my birthing support team because I was by myself. I was technically coming out of being homeless, a week and a half shy of coming out of being homeless. I was in a shelter pregnant with her. The story is so complex. It’s weird. I didn’t find out. I found out that I was pregnant with her actually by accident. I was working at a company called Record World. I got offered a job in their advertising department in upstate New York, which was $100,000 a year. I was like, “I’m about to be making some money at a young age.” I’m a manager and district manager, so I was quickly moving up the chain. These are braids, but my hair was a little bit longer than what these braids are at the time. I washed my hair and conditioned it, and I’m getting ready for this interview. I put the curling iron in my hair, and it slid so fast out, and it popped back in my eye. What Black woman has not had an electrical burn in her eye? I’m telling you, I have. I can tell you when you said that, I remembered. It was right here, across my eye, across my eyebrow. I’m like, “There’s no amount of makeup that’s going to hide that because that burn is there.” You see a sister and go like, “I know how that happened.” We digress, but I couldn’t help the electrical burn. It happened so fast. Do you know how something jars you? My eye was so open. It burnt my eyelids. I was rushed to the hospital, and I was bodybuilding thing and working out very heavily. …

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Dating A Widower: Reclaiming Love After Loss With Abel Keogh

WRT 33 | Dating A Widower

  Losing your spouse can be devastating, but is it okay to date again? When is dating too soon? Is there a timeline we should follow? Join us in this episode as Abel Keogh, the author of Dating a Widower, shares his personal journey as a remarried widower, shedding light on the motivations and emotions behind widowers’ decisions to date again after losing their partners. Gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics of relationships with widows and widowers, and explore the challenges of transitioning into remarriage. Tune in for an illuminating conversation on the widower’s perspective on remarriage with Abel Keogh.   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   Dating A Widower: Reclaiming Love After Loss With Abel Keogh Our guest in this episode, Abel, is a widower, an author, a life coach, and a dating coach. He has some good information to share. I connected with him. I saw his information on YouTube and said, “The widowhood could appreciate having a conversation with Abel.” His books are listed on our website under Resources, and I think you’re going to enjoy this conversation. Let’s get into it now.     Our guest in this episode is Abel. He has a lot to share with us, and I’m going to let him introduce himself and we’ll get right into the discussion. Thanks, Tina. As Tina said, my name is Abel Keogh and I am a remarried widower. I was widowed many years ago. My late wife took her own life. Now, I work as a relationship coach primarily with widowers and the women who are dating them. I’ve written some books. I’ve written a couple of memoirs about my experience, one with my now wife, my living wife, and some other books on relationship guides with dating, especially with dating a widower. My specialty, you could say, is creating that chapter two after a loss. There was a lot in that short introduction there. I want to go back and unpack some of that if we can. I know you’re very open about the idea that your first wife took her own life. I am sorry for that. I’m sure everyone who’s part of this conversation is sorry you had to have that experience but glad for your willingness to be able to talk about that, to share, and to help other people. In that same vein, would you mind sharing a little bit about your marriage with your first wife and how it led up to that? I was married to my late wife a month shy of three years. There wasn’t any romantic interest until we both got to college, but we grew up together. I knew her from the time we were 7 or 8 years old on up. We dated for 3 or 4 years before we got married. We were married for almost three years when she took her own life. For the most part, our marriage was a good marriage, as good as marriage as can be. I didn’t have anything to compare it to, but things started to change when she got pregnant. Her mental health deteriorated. She ended up taking her own life when she was seven months pregnant. Around the circumstances of that, they were able to save the baby. I had to take the baby off life support nine days later, unfortunately. In some ways, it was even harder than losing a spouse, but I had to take the baby off life support. That kicked me out into the whole widowhood thing. As far as the marriage went, until those mental health issues hit, it was a good marriage and we were young. I was 26 when I was widowed. I was young, and that put me in an odd spot as well in the sense that I had friends who were not even married, and here’s a 26-year-old widower. I don’t think anyone knew how to handle me. My friends, family, and everybody were all obviously sad and sorry for my loss. There was support in that area, but I’m thinking about dating again or how to handle somebody who is 26 and widowed. No one quite knew what to do with me. It was the first time in my life that I truly felt alone. It was not that there wasn’t some support there, but the sense that there weren’t any other people in their twenties I could go talk to and say, “How did you get through the death of your spouse?” That doesn’t happen in your twenties. I felt alone and a lot of the issues that I was going through with grief, dating again, and trying to mix those emotions or trying to figure out how to handle all this stuff. I was truly alone. This was the early days of the internet. This was in 2001. I talked about all these resources that I have. Tina, you’re providing resources and there are other resources out there, but back then, there was nothing, especially for young people. There were no resources out there. Part of the reason I ended up doing what I was doing is that, more than anything, I wanted somebody to talk to and someone to explain. “Here are some ideas on how other people have handled it. This is how I got through it. Here are some things that you might want to think about.” In some ways, I guess they’re still not a lot of resources out there. I do a lot of relationship coaching, and I get …

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Beyond Loss: Transforming Grief And Embracing A Life Of Joy, Love, And New Beginnings With Brandy Bell-Trapp

WRT 32 | Grief Transformation

  From grief to growth, widowhood taught our guest that even in the darkest moments, love’s light finds its way. In this powerful episode, Brandy Bell-Trapp opens up about the unexpected loss of her beloved husband during the COVID-19 pandemic and the profound grief transformation it had on her life. She shares how she found solace through social media, particularly TikTok, and the unexpected community she built with fellow widows. Through laughter and tears, she shares the support, positivity, and understanding that this community brought into her life. Brandy also explores the complexities of dating after widowhood. She delves into the concept of “Widow Fire” – the overwhelming physical and emotional longing for companionship, revealing the challenges and newfound perspectives on love and connection. Tune in to discover how Brandy’s outlook on life shifted over time, allowing her to honor her husband’s memory while embracing new experiences and possibilities. Join us in finding strength, joy, and a renewed sense of purpose through the most challenging of times.   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   Beyond Loss: Transforming Grief And Embracing A Life Of Joy, Love, And New Beginnings With Brandy Bell-Trapp The conversation in this episode is with Brandy. I connected with her on TikTok, and the girl is real. Our conversation is about the passing of her husband, Tim, how he passed, and her journey forward, him being the lighthouse of their family. This is a conversation that will inspire you, educate you, and give you hope. Let’s get into the conversation.     Our guest is Brandy. We’re going to be nice because she’s a little nervous and welcome her to widowhood. Welcome, Brandy. Thanks for having me on here. Even though the Lord knows we didn’t want to be a part of it, at least we’re connecting with people who understand. That is a big thing. That is why I’m guessing you’re doing your TikTok, sharing and making it vocal between your faith and the death of your husband. You are transparent, the music and the rawness. I don’t want to fast-forward into all of that. I want to say thank you. As widowhood knows, I am reaching out to people who want to share. Sometimes people don’t want to share. It’s value-added because it creates a community to talk about this because none of us had a clue how wretched this was. You’re sitting up there sending your vows, “Until death, do us part.” We skipped over that. We don’t think what that looks like. That whole death do us part is like, “What? I didn’t agree to it at this time.” I figured I was going to be old, like a notebook old. We’re lying in the same bed together old. What is this? Tell us about your husband. How do you guys get together? When my husband and I met, I was in high school. I was working for McDonald’s. I got a management position. They transferred me to a Walmart store where they had a McDonald’s inside. I was one of the closing managers. I worked there a lot. That ended up being his second shift job. It was funny because I remember this older woman was like, “You need to ask him out.” I’m like, “I’m not his type. You’re crazy.” I always had a complex because I’ve always been a fluffy girl. He was thin as a rail. Thanks to Sesame Street. It gave me a complex and a half because they did the numbers and Count Dracula went through and did all the counting. For the number ten, they used a real thin man and a short chubby woman. I’m done with you already. First of all, my first job was at McDonald’s. I am relating to all of that. She’s like, “I think he likes you.” I said, “I think you’re crazy.” I had been up there for several months working. He kept coming in. He’s the last person to come in on his break. He would always come in and ask us and see if we had any more pies. I started putting in some extra pies because I knew he’d be coming. How do you get to a man’s heart? His stomach. That’s how you get to it. I ended up transferring back to my home store in my town. I decided to switch jobs to nursing. Back in that day, they had layaway. I put all my nursing scrubs and everything in layaway. If I didn’t have bad luck, I have no luck. I ran an order out, slid across the drive, sprained both my ankles, messed up my knees, and ended up in a wheelchair for a month because of the nonsense. What was it? I hit a hole in the drive-thru and slid right underneath the car. Were you coming by to try to see him and be cute? It was someone completely different. What ended up happening was my mother taking me up to Walmart to get my scrubs. She had to check out puzzles. He worked in the toy section. I didn’t realize that. Here he is, the toy stockman. My mother is trying to check out puzzles. All of a sudden, this man comes over. It was him, sickening sweet. He was like, “I’ve got brand-new ones that came in. Hold on, let me get the ladder. Let me help you out.” He’s over there. I’m like, “I can’t deal with this.” I rolled around the corner in my wheelchair. My wheelchair was taken off. He starts …

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Life After A Great Loss: How A Widower Built A Life For Himself With Carey Christian

WRT 15 | Life After Loss

  When you meet the right person, you begin to look forward to a lifetime with them. Unfortunately, life has its way of reminding us of our impermanence by taking the person we love the most. No one can prepare you for that loss. Here to open up about his life after the passing of his wife is Carey Christian. In this candid conversation with Tina Fornwald, he tells us about his life, his beautiful wife Michelle, and her death. From their great moments (meeting and loving each other and finding their love for traveling) to their heartbreaks (receiving Michelle’s diagnosis and later on, taking her last breath), Carey bares it all. He then tells us about where he is now and the life he is developing for himself. Tune in to this episode and let Carey’s story give you hope, healing, and encouragement to live life after a great 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   Life After A Great Loss: How A Widower Built A Life For Himself With Carey Christian Hey, Carey. How are you? I’m good. Yourself? I’m doing well. No complaints. That’s good. Where are you in the world?     Is that physically or in my mind, or both? You can answer both or whichever you want. Physically, I’m living in Cartagena, Colombia. I’ve been living here for a few years. Where am I at mentally is a good question. I don’t know if I can answer that. Maybe as we talk, the answer to that will come out. Maybe we’ll both discover the answer. That’s fair enough. How did you get to Colombia? Even before Chelle passed, I told her that I wanted to move to the Caribbean because I don’t like cold weather. She doesn’t like cold weather and we both love the Caribbean. After she passed, I started physically looking for property in the Caribbean. My first choice was Tulum right in the common Mexico area. I went there in 2019 and looked at properties. I saw some beautiful properties with great prices, but Mexico has laws that, to me, were a little complicated for foreigners to purchase property in those areas that they call restricted areas. Those were near the border on the beach. I visited here. I came here on a cruise ship for one day and said, “That’s nice.” I came back in March 2020, the weekend before everybody stopped traveling for COVID, with some friends. I’m like, “That’s nice. I like that.” It was magical for many reasons. It was so magical that I immediately booked a return flight for when Colombia originally planned to open its borders for traveling again. It was June 2020, then they pushed it back to July, August, and September. In September 2020, they finally opened up. I came back in for two weeks in September 2020. The clubs and the bars were closed. All the party stuff was closed, and I still loved it. It was still magical. I went back to North Carolina. I had already put my house on the market. I sold my house in November 2020, my property, and one of my cars. I put the rest of my things in storage, gave some away, and moved back here. I came back here for six weeks in December 2020. The 6 weeks turned into 2 years and 2 months. I was working for the school system. We were working online like most schools. In February 2021, they said, “We’re bringing the students back into the building.” I had maybe 2 and a half or 3 weeks left in the purchasing process for my apartment. I told my principal, “I need two more weeks. I don’t have any vacation, but I got two weeks of sick days. Let’s work this thing out.” He said, “Okay.” This was what was aggravating to me about the whole thing. This was not an email. This wasn’t a text message. It was a phone call. We were talking. After a week, he sent me a message, “You haven’t been here in a week. You put in five sick days. What’s going on?” I said, “We talked about this.” He said, “You got to come back or resign.” I said, “Thank you for your time.” That’s not a decision. That’s a no-brainer for me. You checked them out. I had already invested the money. I had to be here to do things physically to complete the process. I was like, “You’re trying to tell me to choose between that and working for a school system where there are 200 to 300 vacancies?” Nobody is beating down the doors to get in there. Let’s circle back. Chelle, you mentioned her name. Let’s talk about who she is to you. Michelle Renee Christian was my everything. If during COVID she had still been alive and COVID lasted for 10 years, there was quarantine, people couldn’t go out, and I was in the house with her for 10 years, I would’ve been happy. How did you meet? We met at a birthday party. She knew the wife who the birthday party was for. I knew the husband who was throwing the birthday party. That’s where we met. This is going to be funny. I was there with my friend. The party was dry, so we left and came back in an hour. She and her cousins were there. I saw her and I’m like, “That woman is gorgeous. I might say something to her tonight before I leave.” She shot me down. …

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