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As I sit here on vacation or rather a "mental health break" I chose to take, I am reflecting on "all the things." I am in the small southern town of Columbia, Tennessee where life is a little slower than the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles where I live. As I walk through the parks adorned with cherry blossoms, browse through quaint boutiques, drop in the neighborhood bar to hear local talent, eat the best southern cookin' I've ever had, laugh and cry with a dear friend, drive through miles of country roads with towering trees that seem to guide the way...I reflect. I reflect on who I was and who I have become. When I suddenly became a widow and single mother, I hated my new "widow" title. It felt like a word that rendered me powerless and helpless. And, sure there were many moments that felt powerless, helpless and hopeless as I was left to deal with all the things. In fact, I was on the edge of the Duck River here in Tennessee standing in a spot that was completed flooded and storm torn from just a week before. Looking at the mangled trees and the school fence plowed down by the raging water...I reflected. Much of my life the last few years have been dealing with the devastating aftermath of the storm that hit my life. With two teenage kids, no job, managing grief, depression and gripping fear, just getting through the day was an accomplishment. Getting out of bed was my first goal. As I grew in courage, step by step I was able to do and become more. So many people rushed on to the scene just like the Red Cross does after a major natural disaster. For this I am extremely grateful. I have gained strength, independence and hope from my faith as I learned to live again. From widowhood to becoming a woman on the front lines, I am a warrior. It is natural to feel compassion and empathy for those that have lost a loved one. Yet, at times the way people expressed their sympathy made me feel like I was a sorry and lost victim. The sorry part is over! It's time to get it. I have used this tragic experience to grow stronger, encourage others and show there is life...abundant life and joy after death. The Bible says there is time a to mourn and a time to rejoice. Both are necessary and part of the process. Today the warrior that has risen in me can accept the term "widow." I earned it. Although I didn't choose it, I choose to be a warrior and to face the battle everyday with perseverance. We bring honor to our loved ones who have passed by doing good and carrying on. I have become a Life Coach, Mental Health Advocate, Grief Educator, Speaker, Encourager, Hope Dealer and most recently college student. Most importantly, I am a mother to two amazing kids who are warriors too!

Whatever you are mourning whether it's loss of a loved one, a pet, a job, a relationship, a dream or a forever you were counting on, allow yourself to grieve and heal. Your pain can turn into passion and purpose. Remember you don't have to do it alone and there are many growth steps in between. From widow to warrior, I am living proof`!

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This is 🔥🔥🔥

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