My world turned upside down the day my husband Collin, received his leukemia diagnosis at 39. I became obsessed with keeping him alive. Every fiber of my being fixated on survival – his, mine, ours. What treatments existed? What lifestyle changes could we make? The relentless pursuit of answers consumed my days and nights. I was determined to make sure he beat this monster into oblivion and ensure it never returned. This desperate fight for his life became my sole purpose.

Then, the unthinkable happened. He died. 

And a seismic shift occurred. The intense fixation on survival gave way to a new obsession—death. Questions about his death, my mortality, and the future of our four children became incessant. What if something happened to me? How would our children navigate life without both parents? Would our son Ian’s brain tumor return, and would we face yet another devastating loss? How could I possibly survive that? 

It didn’t help that 2 weeks after my husband’s death, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, only to be followed two months later by my sister, also breast cancer.

I couldn’t escape the glaring reality of my mortality and the mortality of those that I love.

These logical yet haunting thoughts spiraled in my mind on repeat. I was ensnared in a cycle of worry, mourning, and pleading with a higher power to undo the irreversible. I tried. Oh, how I tried. But, no amount of bargaining would bring my husband back.

Lost in the storm of grief, I missed a crucial truth. I needed to focus on living.

Defeated, the agonizing realization dawned; I had control over how I moved forward. I could choose to seek grief support, to be the present and loving mother my children needed. The power, I realized, was still within me. 

Anxiety thrives in the what-ifs of the past and future. Having endured so much loss, I was convinced something terrible was waiting for me just around the corner. I clung to the belief that more heartbreak was inevitable. But a shift came when I began to focus on the present moment. A simple mantra – “I am safe, right now” – became my anchor. In the present, I could find peace. In the present, I could rebuild. 

This journey from obsession to acceptance wasn’t easy. It was a process of acknowledging the pain, seeking support, and choosing to live. 

Even amidst devastation, I discovered pockets of hope, even joy. The journey of grief is a marathon, not a sprint. Healing from loss is a process, not a destination. There will be good days and bad days. Be kind to yourself throughout this journey. 

By sharing my story and these insights, I hope to offer solace and support to others navigating the complexities of grief. You are not alone.