When my husband passed away unexpectedly in his sleep one night in February of 2009, my life was turned up-side-down in an instant. Chaos ensued for the next few weeks like never before.

When I came out of the fog and looked around, it felt like I was so alone. I was a widow at 39 years old. I didn’t know anyone who was a widow at my age. It was mind-numbing looking toward the future without my husband.

Over the next few months, and now years, I rebuilt a life with my two young children that fit us. We learned how to entertain without Daddy, to laugh and cry with each other in a deep way. And we began to heal.

Through the process of healing, my extended family was essential. My mother lived with us for five weeks. My father watched my kids for me when I had to work. And my brother and his family moved to our town to be with us.

As I look back now, more than three years later, I know that the time after my husband died was a critical turning point in how I view life. It was a wake-up call to be more open with others, to enjoy every moment, and to appreciate all that I have. And, I learned that while the beautiful people in my life were a support that was essential, that I also needed space.

I needed space to breathe, to process emotions, and to let whatever was happening in my life settle into my body.

Before my husband passed away, I was a go go go getter. I worked, and took care of the kids. I was always doing something. I had not been bored in decades. Now I’ve learned to cherish a little boredom.

In space, I have found myself. I have found love, of myself, I have found peace, in chaos. And, I have found my husband. For those of you who have lost someone, I will say this. I believe that our loved ones are still a spirit. And I believe that we are also spirits that have a body. And when I find space in my life my husband is there. He is present. I have even heard his laughter and words in my head as if he was standing in front of me.

Space has created a whole new life for me. It has created a softness and gentleness that didn’t exist. Make the time to create your quiet space. Breathe and allow whatever you are feeling and what is happening to just happen. Allow the universe to hold you gently in its arms. Feel, even when it is hard. It will get easier. I promise.

Jennifer Hawkins is the author of “The Gift Giver – A True Story” A memoir about the year after her husband passed away and the conversations she had with him during that time. She is also the founder of “Letthelightinjen.com” a website that offers audio and ebook courses that teach people how to communicate with their lost loved one’s.

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Jennifer Hawkins

Jennifer’s diverse background includes swimming for the University of California at Santa Barbara, competing in the Olympic Trials in 1988, owning a residential real estate company for fifteen years and authoring five books. She has spoken in front of audiences up to 700 people, traveled to over forty different locations, and is raising two boys who are five and seven years old. She currently lives in Texas and is an active real estate investor, mom and author working on her sixth book.

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