She helped me to Become a Better Person, A Widowers Story

Written by J. Lewis III. (John L. Clark III)

From the minute we met in 1990, sparks flew, and I knew she was the woman of my dreams. As fate would have it, our fathers played high school football together in the 60s, and we only found out that our fathers knew each other in 1990 when we met in college. We were both from NJ but met over 300 miles away in Hampton, VA. We had a beautiful six-year relationship that manifested into an 18-year marriage and spawned two of the most precious girls you could ever meet.  My world changed tremendously when she started getting sick on Easter day 2016. 

She was diagnosed with an unknown illness that the doctors finalized as complications related to Pneumonia. I felt like I had lost my right arm for the first two years of her death. Family gatherings, trips, and events will never be the same. After I sobered up because I went there, I began researching healing avenues and eventually became a grief recovery consultant. I am a speaker and podcaster and have written a book that I am still editing. I would never have pursued these ventures without going through the tragedy of my beautiful wife’s loss. 

The pain of the grief drove me to seek external and internal healing. I realized my wife would not want me to feel the way I felt over her loss because she loved me and did not want to cause me pain. I had to understand the circle of life and realize that we are not here forever and cannot predict our last day. She was only 44 when she died. Her untimely death made me understand that we should take every day of life as a precious gift. It is challenging, knowing she is not here physically, but her spirit gives me solace and incentive to carry forward. 

I had to learn so many new things, and many my love mastered. Cooking was one, and I have gone from a man who could not boil water in 2016 to a man who knows his way around a kitchen and has become an excellent cook. I even set up a Pinterest site called “Cook Away Your Grief” to display my meals. Becoming a single father to two teenage girls and their sole provider also had its challenges. I learned to reconstitute myself in both arenas. 

Learning new skills through grief

My relationship with my daughters has always been strong, and in my wife’s absence, my fears of losing that bond with them drove me to develop a parenting style more beneficial to our new demographic. I no longer see her death as my curse. I am now using her loss as a vehicle to move to a better version of myself. My grief had me battling everything for years. 

I ultimately realized that the pain of her loss would never leave me, but the gift she gave me through her loss is guiding me to that better version of myself that I seek daily. She was one of a kind, and I can never replace her, but I can take all the lessons she imparted and create a better life for my daughters and me. 

I am a certified grief consultant with The Grief Recovery Institute. I have started my own business as a result of grief, called From Your Grief to Your Gift. I specialize in motivational speaking and am writing a book called “Cook Away Your Grief.”  

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