Okay, I still haven’t written a book. I haven’t even really managed to outline one. But I have 300 blog posts under my belt (and some other articles as well) so I think I can finally say that I’m a writer. Or something like that.
Anyway, today’s post is a highlight of those 300 blog posts – you can click on each link to send you to that specific story. These posts below are some of my favorites, though there are others that I love. I tried to pick a range of posts, so that each one tells a little bit of a different story.
Maybe you come to my blog because you are a new widow, and it helps to read about another person’s grief and daily struggles. If that’s you, I recommend some of my earlier posts from 2018, and some pieces from when I wrote about Shawn’s illness and death. You might want to start with “Costco and the Cemetery” (February 27, 2018) or “The Guitar Lesson Guy” (March 16, 2018), two of the first posts I ever wrote. The first one is about my grief as well as my children’s resilience and love of life at the cemetery. The second one is about watching a father and a daughter, and how it reminded me of Shawn and Claire; I wrote it in under 30 minutes, with tears streaming down my face. A few months after these early posts, I had a crazy day when I sold Shawn’s car and also visited a new baby in the hospital. That post, “Brave Through It” (May 25, 2018) was named after something my friend Becky’s son said about how I was coping with Shawn’s death. If you’d like to read about how I processed Shawn’s illness, two tough reads are “October 10th” (October 10, 2019) about when Shawn fell ill and “My Body Knew” (November 29, 2019) about when we learned he had cancer. Finally, “When He Was Still Mine” (January 9, 2018) is about the last day of Shawn’s life. I still cry every single time I read it.
Maybe you like reading about my untraditional family, especially my dad. I mean, I have dozens of blog posts about him, but really, I think these two are my favorite: “Grandpa Tom” (June 6, 2018) and “He Pushed the Button” (March 20, 2019) because they show pieces of what makes him such a wonderfully unique person. There are so many about my kids that it’s hard to pick, but I think the story of “Shawn’s Birthday, Part 2” (June 29, 2018) captures my children in those initial months after their father’s death, especially when the kids sang him “happy birthday” at the cemetery. It was the first of many times we visited as a whole family after the burial. The first anniversary of Shawn’s death was so challenging, and I wrote about going to the cemetery with my kids in “I Want Daddy to Come Back” (January 11, 2018). If you’d like to read a specific blog post about each of my children, I like “The Ensemble” (February 15, 2019) about Claire, “In the Middle” (October 16, 2019) about Austin and “Dad is Not a Zombie” (October 31, 2018) about Tommy.
Or maybe you like my tirades, the times when I just can’t take it anymore and feel the need to say something about the problems that I face and that the other widows and single moms face. If so, read about how much we need to respect single moms in “It’s Easy to Judge” (October 22, 2018) or why schools should cancel Mother’s/Father’s day and replace it with “Family Day” in “One of the Most Important Things a School Can Do” (May 10, 2019). If you’ve dealt with cancer in any way, I’m sure you’ll appreciate “Asparagus Cures Cancer” (May 20, 2019) because, of course, asparagus doesn’t cure cancer. And if you’re a widow or you know a widow, you may want to read one of my more popular blog posts about how to be a friend to a widow in “Do This, Because You Are Her Friend” (August 30, 2019) or some advice about how you might continue to move forward with the first step of dating in “Ask a Widow: Yes, It’s Okay to Want to Have Sex Again” (November 15, 2019).
Or maybe you just want something uplifting. That’s here too, of course. I’ve always loved “Rainbow Chicken” (April 12, 2019) which is about Tommy’s efforts to cheer me up when I was in the throws of grief. Or you may like this pair of posts about two weekends I had back-to-back: “Marjorie’s Graduation Speech” (June 10, 2019) and “Father’s Day, Year 2” (June 17, 2019) – I recommend reading them together.
And for those of you who want to read more about my love story with Shawn – the one that was totally normal and yet unlike anyone else’s – well, here are a few of my favorites. First, you may want to start with “My Eulogy of Shawn” (March 6, 2018) which tells you a little about our life together. But just in case that post makes you think Shawn was perfect, make sure to read “My Flawed Husband” (April 29, 2018). If you’d like to know a little more about how we were together, try “Across the Doctor’s Office” (January 16, 2019) which is about a letter I got from a reader who had once observed Shawn and I in a random doctor’s office. For a sad, but (I think) beautiful story about the day before Shawn died, read “Two Years Ago You Told Me This” (January 8, 2020).
Finally, my all-time favorite blog post is “You Look Hot, By the Way” (April 10, 2018) which I wrote in the throws of early grief but still remains true today. In the two years that have passed since his death, no man has come close to making me feel beautiful like Shawn did. I’m so glad I wrote this then. I love that it’s stood the test of time.
Image Credit: Stefanie Harrington Photography.