Embracing New Beginnings After Loss: On Dating And Marrying A Widow With Fred Jackson And Lionel Grimes

WRT 30 | Dating A Widow

  Dating can be a beautiful beginning from a past relationship. But how do you move forward when you are dating a widow? How do you navigate through their past and help them start anew? In this episode, we dive into the poignant world of dating widows with two guests, Fred Jackson and Lionel Grimes. They open up about their journeys of love and companionship with widows, navigating through its joys and complexities. Fred and Lionel share the beautiful stories of how they met their future wives, the deep connection that blossomed, and the unique challenges of dating individuals who have lost their spouses. They talk about emotional triggers and memories tied to the past and how they approached these moments with unwavering support and empathy. With candid advice for potential partners, Fred and Lionel dive into fostering understanding, patience, and authenticity in relationships. As the conversation draws to a close, Lionel and Fred reflect on their experiences, offering inspiration to those embarking on a similar path and underscoring the remarkable potential for love and meaningful connection when dating widows. We have all loved and lost, and we can also be that new love that can spring in the face of someone’s darkness. Tune in to discover the power of acceptance, communication, and support in the realm of dating 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: — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   Embracing New Beginnings After Loss: On Dating And Marrying A Widow With Fred Jackson And Lionel Grimes It has been some time since we’ve had an onsite conversation. We are having our episode with Lionel Grimes who is the godfather of my children and my husband, Fred Jackson. I have gotten remarried and I wanted to bring Fred into this conversation. We’re going to have a discussion about dating a widow. Both of these gentlemen are lowkey. That’s why I wanted to interview them together. They’re some smooth fellows. You’ll hear some things that are encouraging to you if you are a widow thinking about dating, you are a gentleman thinking about dating a widow, or maybe a wife thinking about dating a widow. It is possible to love again. It is possible for someone to accept you right where you’re at in this journey of life. Let’s get into this conversation.     Lionel Grimes and Fred Jackson, welcome to the show. Thank you. Thanks for having me. Lionel Grimes and Fred Jackson are important to me because Lionel is my children’s godparents and Fred is my husband. I know you are like, “We didn’t talk about that yet,” so here we go. The conversation is about dating widows, and both of these gentlemen have experience with that. I’ll let you talk about your wife. Who is she? My wife is Kim Grimes. She was formally Kim Clayton then Kim Trewick because she was married before me. She had lost her husband in a military accident, so I’m her second husband. Kim is from Philadelphia. She moved here with her sister. We met at a military conference. It wasn’t one of those things where it was love at first sight. We met and there was a little time in between. If you want to get into that later, we can, but we’ll do that. Fred, tell us about your initial meeting with your wife. We met online and set up a date at my favorite coffee shop, Cafe Stella. I had her meet me there one Tuesday after she got off work. We had coffee and talked and went from there. Was it love at first sight for you? It was fondness at first sight. When she walked in, she was impressive. When you think about your dating experience, is your wife the first person you dated who was a widow for both of you? For me, yes. Fred? Yes. When you think about dating a widow, what are some things that you found that were different than dating experience outside of dating somebody who is a widow? With Kim, she was, I wouldn’t say more experienced, but it was the way she carried herself. It was different than anyone else that I had dated before. I am not saying that other women were immature, but it was something about her. She had been a wife. Exactly. How about you, Fred? The question is what challenges did you find different dating a widow than not? When I talk about that, I’m talking about emotional triggers and all those different things that you have dating a widow that you may have not dating somebody that doesn’t care about their ex anymore, and those types of things. This conversation has to be as organic as possible. I’m not sure if I had any challenges. My mind was easily adjustable because I was aware of the fact that you were a widow. The way you were and your personality, I didn’t think I had to tiptoe around stuff because we were talking. When we were talking, it seemed very organic. We talked and it was very relaxing. You talked about it openly, so it wasn’t like I had to worry about stepping on a landmine or anything like that by mentioning it inadvertently that it was going to upset you. You were processing it and you were speaking about it on your own. You bring up a good point, which is talking about it. When thinking about dating a widow, when you first hear those words, are there things like, “They have a dead spouse. How are we going to …

Embracing New Beginnings After Loss: On Dating And Marrying A Widow With Fred Jackson And Lionel Grimes Read More »

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 — 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. …

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

The Power Of Friendship: Navigating Grief And New Beginnings With Elizabeth Randles

WRT 8 | Friendship

  For today’s episode, Tina Fornwald sits down with her dear friend, Elizabeth Randles. They were both in the military, worked at Tobyhanna Army Depot, deployed to Iraq, and are women of color in the workplace. Liz shares her experience with grief and how her life is in a stage of growth and new beginnings. Their discussion shows the extensive levels of support a friend will give in your time of need.  When you are in your most difficult moments of life, people often scatter, but for Tina, she learned her friends dig in deep and help carry the load. This episode is a testament to the power of friendship and the enduring connections that sustain us through all of life’s ups and downs. Join this candid conversation with Liz. — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   The Power Of Friendship: Navigating Grief And New Beginnings With Elizabeth Randles Friends Who Were There Thank you for joining us. We’re going to have a conversation with a friend of mine named Elizabeth, who was with me in Tobyhanna with my husband passed. We spent a lot of time together. Liz has gone through some personal losses that she’ll share and what she was able to leverage to have empathy for me and what I was going through. Let’s get into the conversation. Also, I am sorry for the person you have lost. The grief that you are carrying has driven you to be in this conversation. I hope you feel like you are part of my hood and know you are part of the community and you were not alone. Let’s see what this is about.     My guest in this episode under the series, “My Friends Who Were There,” is my girlfriend, Elizabeth. Hey, Liz. How are you? I am good. It has been a minute since we’ve seen each other. I am glad to get to see you and have some catch-up time. It’ll be a year. Who is Elizabeth? Tell us about yourself. Elizabeth is somebody that is constantly growing and evolving. I’m learning more about myself the further I get away from the military because I joined the military at seventeen. That’s all I knew all my life. When I retired, I had to learn who Liz is and that was a process because I didn’t even know what my favorite color was. I didn’t know how to dress for my body type because I always wore a uniform. I had to learn who she is. I’m still learning who she’s still coming to. To be 63, I’m still learning. How old are you? I’m 63 and still learning. You’re flawless at 63. How long were you in the military and in what branch? What did you do? I was in the military for 28 years. I was in the Army. I was a communication electronic repairer. I repaired radios, teletype, and things like that. What were the evolution of your career in the military, the rank you had, and the places you traveled? I made the highest enlisted rank that you can make which is an E-9 Sergeant Major. I’m the first female in my job or my MOS or Military Occupation Specialty to make an E-9. That’s an accomplishment. I’m in a book, the 100 Sergeants Major of Color. There’s a little asterisk next to my name because I’m the first female in MOS. I’ve been all over the world. I’ve been to Kuwait, Germany three times, Korea twice, Fort Campbell, Kentucky twice, Fort Dix, New Jersey, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and my last duty station, Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania. How about your family, friends, and other things going on outside the work list? I’m an empty nester now. I’m starting my life over as a single person. How old are your children? What are they doing? The oldest is married and he’s doing well. He’s back in school now. The youngest one is in school and going to Lock Haven University. Both of my boys are back in school. When you’re not working and you’re not raising children, what do you enjoy doing? I take myself to the movies, on dates, and out to dinner. I’ve been traveling a lot. I got back from San Diego. I’ve been out to Detroit. I’ve been doing things I love to do. What was the last movie you saw? I’ve seen Missing. The one with Nia Long. It was good. I took myself out to the movies. How did we meet? I was thinking about that. We met around 2008. You were coming in this little back stairwell and I was going down the little back stairwell to go to the bathroom. We bumped into each other and I was like, “You’re new here.” You said, “Yes, I am.” We gave our names and that was it at that time. Our friendship was a very slow processing friendship because it was just hi, bye, and stuff. We never communicated until a few years later. It was when we took that LMP course. Where was here? Tobyhanna where we worked at. We worked at the military base together. We took an LMP class together. We were deployed to Iraq or Kuwait around the same time too. You were in Kuwait when I was coming back. I had a week’s transition there. That was when we started to connect a little bit more past the hi’s and byes. It was a slow process. That was in 2010 or 2011. I met you in 2008. That’s about a three-year span that took off. What do you remember about our friendship and me being in Pennsylvania? The most I remember most is how people were confusing us you, Liz, and me, Tina. We were both like, “We don’t even look alike.” You’re four inches taller than I am and have a darker complexion. We both had locks, but your locks were different from …

The Power Of Friendship: Navigating Grief And New Beginnings With Elizabeth Randles Read More »

On Ground Zero: Why Your Support System Is Important During A Time Of Loss With Jesse Beckom III

WRT 4 | Support System

  Losing someone you love can feel isolating. Having people surround you with love and support can mean the world as you cope with grief. For Tina Fornwald, much can be said about the great people in her life that helped her find healing. In this episode, she interviews a key person who has stood by her: her brother, Jesse Beckom III. Together, they discuss how Jesse supported Tina in those first two weeks after the death of her late husband, Mark W. Fornwald. They also discuss Jesse’s encounter with death at an early age from living on the south side of Chicago. Sharing their own griefs, they then talk about the death of their own father, Mr. Jesse Beckom Jr., and how they saw their mother, Addie Beckom, become a widow. Full of candor and transparency, Tina and Jesse’s conversation gives you a true sense of how valuable the people are in your life as you go through these crippling and tough times. — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   On Ground Zero: Why Your Support System Is Important During A Time Of Loss With Jesse Beckom III My guest is my brother Jesse Beckom III. We are going to have a very candid conversation. That ragged exterior lets you know that everyone is impacted somewhere or another by losing a loved one. My brother’s candor and transparency will give you a true sense of what people in my hood look like and how committed we are. Thanks, and here we go. Jumping right into it.     As I spoke in our last edition, we are now here in Texas, visiting my brother Jesse, who has been an integral part of my journey in this process. Jesse, if you could share a little bit about yourself? First of all, Widowhood subscribers, welcome and thanks for following my sister through her journey. I love the support. Again, I’m Tina’s oldest brother. Only brother and youngest sibling. I’m the oldest brother again, so that’s a fact. You can ask my mom if she has any other older sons and she will say no. She has only one son. I’m the oldest, so there you go. I’m living out in Texas now. Tina’s come down to visit me, and I joined the company. I went to school at Iowa State University where I played football as well to get my graduate degree and undergrad in Community Regional Planning there. From there, I completed the USA Bobsled National Team for over a decade there. When I competed, I was the Chairman of the Athlete Advisory Committee also. Now I work at Atlassian as a Program Manager Team Lead. I stepped away completely from the Olympic movement. I’m one of the members of the Ethics Committee for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. I’ve served in that manner. I’m trying to still be involved and help guide the process. At Atlassian, I also work as the Chairman of the Employee Resource Group, which is called Black Atlassian’s Group. I’m still trying to stay active and do more than my “day job” at Atlassian. I didn’t know about this with the board on Atlassian. What are you doing in that? We’re just getting started. We’re trying to make sure that people feel welcome at Atlassian. The founders there want to make sure that they have a social impact, in general, on the world and also at Atlassian. Also, make you feel like people of every shape, color, race, gender, and things like that are welcome. I’m the Global Chair for the Employer Resource Group, and I have people across MIA, USA as well as AsiaPac as well that we try to develop programs for people of the African diaspora. There are several different groups for women, LGBTQ, military veterans, and people of the age of descent. I’m the Chairman of Black Atlassian. One thing I have totally been impressed with about your company is when you share the different things that they do for their employees. There’s a lot of work involved, but they seem to have that personal touch that they’re concerned about the people. That’s pretty cool. In this conversation, even though it’s about the widowhood part, there is a part of death in general. Unfortunately, the way the world that we’re in set up my husband’s death is not your first interaction as far as someone that you’ve known within closeness to you dying. There have been other people. Can you share some of those experiences even from your youth or things that you can recall? Sometimes it sounds a little bit cliché. For instance, growing up on the South side of Chicago, unfortunately, things happen. Some of the things you see on the news are true. Some of the things are exaggerated tremendously. When I think about deaths that have happened like experiencing death in graduate school with some people where 7th or 8th grade have been murdered by gang violence, that’s my first introduction to that. Growing up, we had an obituary in our high school yearbook for graduates. In your high school yearbook, there was an obituary section. Yes. A couple of people had been killed for various reasons and stuff like that. It becomes one of those things that’s, unfortunately, a way of life. Life and death come in, even in college. At Iowa State University, several of our players pass away through heart attacks or different reasons. Even my teammates, we talked about that and it was tragic. A lot of our running backs and quarterback, my uncles, and also my father passed away. All those things that happen, you find a way to deal with them and push on. You take those lessons from those people or different situations. For once I would say that some people who passed away in a negative way and you learn from that. When you say learn in the negative impact, what …

On Ground Zero: Why Your Support System Is Important During A Time Of Loss With Jesse Beckom III Read More »