Dearest Heart,

This season reminds me of endings, but also of a December long ago that was a beginning. After one of the most challenging periods of Gary’s cancer and time at an alternative clinic, he returned looking much healthier. With both of us rested, we could breathe, share a beautiful Christmas, and re-embrace each other and our marriage. We were more in love than ever. It was also the beginning of the end. Sometimes, it’s best not to know.

If the me that’s now thirteen Christmases without Gary could whisper in your ear, I would share some insights to give you peace and ease the pain that was right around the corner waiting to knock you to your knees. The first thing I would say is trust your intuition. Every choice you made was the best one you could and led you to a new life of purpose in spite of feeling, for many years, like you didn’t want to go on.

Next, be prepared. You will be judged. People will think they know the story of your marriage. They’ll base their knowingness on fragments of their poorly reconstructed memories and untruths of one of the richest tales of love ever lived. You will rise above, feeling no need to defend because you know that’s a waste of energy and you know the truth of his heart and yours. You will discover your true friends. Welcome the opportunity to let go of relationships that no longer serve you.

You will go places and do things you never imagined possible as you sat weeping from your soul on the floor with the urn of his ashes keeping watch in those early years. You will shatter limitations you’d unknowingly created and learn you absolutely CAN take care of you. What will drive you forward; the thread you desperately sought to stay connected to this world, is that part you drew on to care for Gary, which is your desire to help others.

Finally, just know that you’ll build a family of your choosing, one of like-minded souls bound not by blood but by shared values that see you for who you truly will become. You will give birth, not to a child but to an incredible vision that will change the lives of many. You will need less and have more. You will risk more, then let go of the thought that anything can be at risk. You will be free and discover that YOU are home in every way.

I say these things not to dam the tears, for they are cleansing, nor to dull the edges of the pain too much for that’s part of being loved so dearly but to embrace your heart and be that pinprick of light in the darkness that inspires you to keep searching for the dawn of what is next unfolding for you.

It is a beautiful dawn, Tambre. Stay your course. I await your arrival.



Tambre Leighn

Tambre Leighn is a published author, speaker, and outspoken patient/caregiver advocate. Her background as a professional athlete and her personal experience caregiving for her late husband along with her struggles with grief-related depression after being widowed inspired Tambre to become a coach. After years of coaching individual clients, she now provides consulting and training to healthcare organizations to improve the patient and caregiver experience. In her down time, she enjoys dancing Argentine Tango and writing.

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