Want to join the team?
March 01, 2016
BENEFITING: ONE FIT WIDOW
EVENT DATE: Aug 27, 2016
When I lost my husband Jason in a hiking accident I was 6 months pregnant with our first child. I had no idea how I would continue to live everyday without him, let alone raise our child without him. I remember thinking over and over about dying for the one you love and it sounded so easy. Staying behind is way harder.
I found One Fit Widow and began reading her posts soon after our daughter, Avery, was born. At first I couldn't understand how someone could love another man after losing their husband. I couldn't understand how living every day to the fullest had anything to do with honoring loved ones lost. My perception of grief was the sadder you were, the more you must have loved them. But I continued to read her posts anyway. Slowly it all began to sink in. I knew that resentment and anger couldn't be options. I knew that I had to raise Avery to never feel sorry for herself, to never use tragedy as an excuse to produce less than what she is capable of. I knew that I didn't want to be alone, I wanted to love again. But until I found One Fit Widow I had no idea how I would be able to live it.
The mission of One Fit Widow/Live The List (www.livethelistnonprofit.org) is to empower bereaved widows and widowers to live life fully after the loss of their spouse or partner so that they and importantly, their children, enjoy a better quality of life than would have otherwise been possible. Many bereaved widows and widowers do not have the tools, resources, knowledge or inspiration needed to support their grief journey, let alone to achieve a life well lived during that journey.
One Fit Widow has opened my eyes to the possibility of choosing happiness even when faced with tragedy. Grief isn't measured by sad days. You don't have to let the sad days consume you, you can choose happiness. Rather than spending the rest of my life crying for the life Jason didn't get to live with me I will spend it living his/my/our bucket list dreams. I don't have to spend the rest of my life alone to prove how much I loved and continue to love him. I can love someone else and still miss him. I can love again and whomever that may be will love me and Avery AND Jason for the happiness and perspective that we bring to their life. This brings me to the purpose of my fundraising.
Jason and I loved life and we loved living it together. From hiking in CO, to fishing in WV, riding horses on a dude ranch in Tucson and even white water rafting and rappelling down waterfalls in Costa Rica, we were always looking for the next adventure. We had big plans to hike a 14er together (14,000 ft mountain, there are 48 in Colorado) and we couldn't wait to raise our child to love traveling and outdoor adventures as much as we did. This summer I will travel to Denver to hike my first 14er. Every year going forward I will complete a bucket list item in Jason's honor whether it be to hike another 14er, to hike to Machu Picchu, to cage dive with Great White sharks off the coast of Africa...it will be something outrageous, it will push me physically beyond what I think I am capable of, it will inspire Avery and others living a life post loss to do the same.
I am fortunate enough to be able to do this for myself, but there are many widows/widowers who cannot. The money I raise will go to One Fit Widow/Live the List to help other widow/widowers who do not have the means to take this step. I also hope to show others that are struggling to find themselves again post loss that it is possible.
Choosing to live post loss is not the easy choice. It would be much easier for me to consume myself with missing Jason, grieving for the many happy years we were robbed of. I miss him every minute of every day but I choose to not waste my perspective on feeling sorry for myself. I allow my grief to make a home in my heart, I embrace it for the new way that I see the world because it will always be a part of me and so will Jason.
During the darkest moments of the past year I heard Jason telling me "Suck It Up Dear!" So that is what I will do. I am still here for a reason. I not only have a daughter to raise, but a strong woman to inspire. I would not only die for Avery, I will LIVE for her.