I am a woman who has been reborn in the afternoon of her life. The death of my husband of 42 years could have stopped me in my tracks. Instead, it not only took me on a journey into grief, it also took me on a journey into self-discovery. I didn’t have an answer, but I knew I had a “song.”

“A bird does not sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song!” Chinese Proverb

After my husband’s death, I felt alone, undefined and invisible. At that time I wrote in my personal journal, “I am from a generation of women whose definition of ourselves was shaped by having our consciousness raised. Although I have aged with courage and grace, our youth-oriented culture ignores women past 60 as too old; lacking value and indiscernible.” Oh how wrong I was! These words no longer ring true and I am anything but invisible.

“Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain!” Vivian Green.

My healing process began through the gift of time, wisdom learned and the determination to live on. I ventured outside my comfort zone, listening to a voice within me insisting “if not now, when?”

Death can be a great teacher. It woke me up from complacency to an understanding that all I have is the present moment. My past is over (though a part of what makes me who I am), my future is undefined and my today is what counts. It is truly all I have. Learning how to just Be has been a huge life lesson ~ a gift that keeps on giving.

It’s funny how you don’t think about the titles that are bestowed upon you during your life’s journey. Baby, child, young girl, woman, wife, mother, business titles – and then “widow.” Some titles you are happy to own, others are unasked for. The title that best describes me today is I Am! I Am vital, I Am alive, I Am love and I Am open to life’s possibilities!

Laurel Rund 2011

Laurel D. Rund

Laurel D. Rund

It began in 2009 when a life-changing event transformed me into the woman I am today. Never could I have imagined that the death of my husband of 42 years would take me on a journey through loss and grief to a redefined sense of self. Death, an unexpected teacher, was my transformative metamorphosis. The slow and painful healing process unfolded my creativity and, in what I can only describe as a “new normal,” Essence of Laurel was born. "Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens." Khalil Gibran My first book, “Emerging Voices” has a purpose ~ to serve as a journal and healing catalyst for anyone who has experienced a loss. The art and poetry within is a testimony as to what can happen when we acknowledge grief in all its forms. It allows for the discovery of a new perspective which will lead you on a journey of self-discovery and renewal. “Art from the Heart” has become my playground; a place where I can tap into my innermost creativity as an inspirational writer and artist. The surprise is that it came at a time when I thought that the next chapters in my life would be lonely; without purpose or passion. Instead I have been given the gift of a renewed sense of life, its possibilities and most importantly, an appreciation for living in the present moment. Our human experience, whether in a crisis or a life transition, continuously gives us the opportunity to learn and grow. We can choose to stay in a place of sorrow and regret, or embrace these life-altering experiences from which we can discover a new way of being. My hope is that my writing and ‘Art from the Heart’ touches and inspires you.

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