Otoole family pic

Writing a blog was never a part of my life’s plan.  But neither was becoming a widow at 49 and raising a thirteen-year old-sweetheart of a son all by myself.

Cry Laugh Heal is my way of sharing my personal experiences about what it feels like to transition through grief and cultivate inner strength.  I sometimes find inspiration in the way that others have coped with their grief experiences and I often share those amazing stories.  I hope others find Cry Laugh Heal to be a helpful resource, a place where they can discover they are not alone in their conflicting feelings and perhaps even find relief through laughter.

We all have events that mark the highs and lows of our unique lives and the lowest of the low happened for me on November 12, 2003.  That was the morning that I awoke to find that my husband, my funny and talented husband, had died in his sleep.

My husband had been ill for a little over two years, dealing with a number of health issues, including the onset of insulin-dependent diabetes.  His fighting spirit couldn’t match the complications of all of his symptoms and sadly, his tired body permanently shut down.

What came next was a blur of conflicting emotions and constant worries.  But the one invaluable resource that stands out for me during that time, the thing that truly kept me afloat was a support group for widowed persons.  I quickly discovered I had found a place where it was safe to be vulnerable; to open up and reveal my unfiltered emotions; where I could give myself up to the tsunami of pain I was trying to tamp down within myself.

I will never forget that support group.  We held each other’s hands, listened to each other’s intimate stories, offered tissues and tons of hugs.  That group gently guided me to the realization that on the other side of that wall of pain that I ran into every day was a different life.  Not the life I thought I was going to have; but a new life that could be shaped.  By me.

It was up to me to decide which way to go.  The positive or the negative.  Even today, I always decide to choose the positives of life.  I am truly thankful for the blessings I have in my life: my good health, my crazy family and my fantastic friends.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t ever feel sad or angry or lonely because I do.  Just like you.

And as I wrote about my changed life, I began to see that I was doing more than surviving and making it through 24 hours.  I saw that I was slowly but surely, with the kindness of others, rebuilding my life.  It’s not the life that I thought I would be leading, but it’s a life I feel good about.

In every post, I try to be as honest and as straightforward as possible.  I have found that calling something what it is helps us untangle and reveal complicated feelings, problems or situations for what they are.  Sometimes just acknowledging our story and telling it can be the first step of healing.

Thank you so much Resilient Readers for visiting Cry Laugh Heal and sharing your support.

I’m not sure where life is taking me but let’s travel together!