Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Thank You

To The Liz Logelin Foundation:

          My Name is Kristin Davis and I am 29 years old.  I am a mother, teacher, runner, traveler, reader and as of October 10, 2010, I am a widow.  For months following the sudden death of my husband, Ryan I identified myself as only a widow.  I had not only lost my husband on that tragic day, but also my self – my humor, my hope, my smile, my dreams, my life.  Through the heavy haze of grief, I could only see a future of sadness.  Not even the fact that I was expecting our first baby could penetrate the loneliness and despair I was feeling.  Life as I knew it was over.  I was going through the motions of life in a complete daze.  I watched my body swell with life, a life that Ryan and I had created together and still, all I could think about was the loss my unborn daughter experienced, a loss she wasn’t yet aware of, but a loss that would affect her for her entire life.  She would never meet her father, never hold his hand, never feel his kisses, hear his voice, experience his humor or ride on his shoulders.  Her life, I feared, would never feel complete, would always have this loss shadowing her true happiness.  Months later however, her birth set into action a small change.
          When I looked into my daughter’s eyes for the first time, I saw my husband.  Her birth proved that he existed, he was here and he mattered.  She looked at me and it was as if we shared a secret language.  Her eyes said, “I know Mom, I love him too”.  For the first time in months, I began to feel my life coming back.  I now had a purpose again, I was a mother.  I began to see my future take shape.  I would take care of this child, give her everything she needed and show her the world.  I would be a mother and I would be a widow and this seemed enough.  To my surprise, life continued to change after a chance meeting with another widow, a widower in fact who was also a parent!
          I met Matt Logelin at a book signing that I almost didn’t attend.  My daughter, Marley was having a hard day, screaming, crying, fussing and as often happened, my emotions were reflecting hers.  I remembered thinking this life of mine was too difficult and questioning how I’d ever manage on my own.  Thankfully I pulled myself up, drove to the signing and met Matt.  Here was this man who lost his wife just as suddenly and tragically as I had lost my husband.  His person was gone and he was surviving, thriving in fact as a bestselling author and from what I could tell, a fantastic father.  I told him my story and he shared his resources with me including information on The Liz Logelin Foundation and Camp Widow.  I think he could see the pain in my eyes and feel my loss as only someone who has experienced such tragedy can.  This is when life really started to change.
          Thanks to the Liz Logelin Foundation I was able to attend the 2011 Camp Widow Conference in San Diego, California.  It was there that I began to feel parts of myself return.  I met other widows and widowers who defined themselves in many ways.  I met artists, parents, doctors, athletes and comedians.  These people had lost just like I had, but were still moving forward and still living.  From that moment on I began to see myself for who I truly was – a mother, teacher, runner, traveler, reader and yes, a widow.  I will always be a widow.  I will always carry the pain and grief that accompanies a loss such as mine, but thanks to Matt, the Foundation and all of the wonderful people I met at Camp Widow, I now realize that I am so much more.  Thank you for helping me find myself again.  I will forever be grateful for the good that you do and the good that you brought to my life, a life that is now defined by more than just widowhood.