Happy Friday. Well I did it. I survived year number one as a widow. Was it easy? No. Was it rough? At times. Have I learned a lot about myself? Yes. Am I happy? Yes. Do I cry? Yes. Do I laugh? Of course. Do I miss Kyle? Everyday. Am I blessed? Yes. Do I wish I was living a different life? No. Overall, I’m grateful and blessed to be alive and thriving this crazy thing called life.
Guys widowhood is weird. The thing is, there’s no book on how to survive widowhood... I googled it. JK! There are thousand of books as well as people in this this world who have been through this. I’m not the only one. But, it’s so different for everyone. There’s no right way and no wrong way. You just have to do what’s best for you.
How did I do it? Honestly I look back on this last year and there are a few things that stands out the most my faith, my friends and family. The power of prayer. The power of letting go and letting God take charge. Trusting the plan even when I didn’t want to. It would’ve been so easy to get mad and bitter and head down a destructive path. However from the beginning of this year I told myself I would not do that. There were many days I would’ve rather of sat of the couch than face the world. However I was constantly getting nudges from above to keep going. There are countless times when I knew Kyle was right there to help me through the moment or day I was having. Until you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one it’s really hard to comprehend but trust me, if you watch for the the signs they are there.
My support system is and was AMAZING. They were there every step of the way. I could call them at anytime of the night to laugh or cry with them. My best friends spent nights with me and had “family” dinners at my house. I would get random text messages asking how I was from many of you. I had dates with some of you to keep me busy. And honestly, I couldn’t have done without you...
My immediate family has gone above and beyond. My mom is simply amazing and I don’t know what I would do without her. Everyday she checks in on me. She always knew when I was having one of those “bad” days and honestly she’s a lot of the reason I survived them. Kyle made her promise to take care of me and she’s truly gone above and beyond. Even if that means sending me 5 roses on my 4 year wedding anniversary! 😂 I owe a lot of credit to my Mom for making me who I am today and continuing to push me to better. My brother Kolten - he gets the short end of the stick because he lives closest to me so I call him for all my handy man needs. Thanks bud. My Dad and littlest brother are always helping out too. Couldn’t ask for a better support system. And it turns out my Grandma is an amazing cleaning lady- thanks Grams. ❤️
My friend Erin has also been a huge help. We share something nobody should have to share. Widowhood and an anniversary date of people we loved. Erin’s husband died the exact same day as Kyle one year prior. Want to know what’s crazy is Erin lives 3 miles from me. You know the saying God puts people in your life for a reason? There’s a reason we have connected with each other to help get us through those tough days. ❤️
I can’t forget about my new family - my INDY family. Who knew that I needed all of you as much as I did. Each and everyone of you have propelled me to keep going and carry on a legacy. So from the bottom of my heart. Thank you. You helped me to not only survive but truly kick ass.💕
Heaven - Anniversary
As the one year mark approached, I felt more anxiety than I had ever felt before. I’ve been told... wait til year two it’s harder. However those of you that know me, know that I don’t like to follow the rules or what people say. I was determined to get through year one with as much happiness and grace as possible. I think I did alright.
There are so many things that you experience that no one can really prepare you for. Emotions sometimes just come out of nowhere. Weddings - oofta are those hard. I had a lot to attend this summer. I was used to attending weddings alone because Kyle often didn’t feel well however attending as a widow is different. Weddings are such a happy time and while I was always happy for the new couple I couldn’t help but wish I still had that myself. Just one of those emotional moments.
One of the hardest things for me to get used to was going to bed alone. Couples - seriously treasure the time you have with your partner. Being able to hug, kiss and snuggle someone at night is hands down one of the things I miss the most. Night time was/is tough. I went from being the girl who needed 8 hours of sleep a day to getting 4-5 hours a night. I found peace in writing, reading and praying until I fell asleep. Some of my best INDY ideas came after midnight... maybe they were being sent from above?
On Kyle’s heaven anniversary I decided to take the day off and spend it with some of my favorites. We planned on shopping and doing things in honor of Kyle. I hadn’t put a lot of thought into it until a few days prior because I was more concerned with just getting through the day. Then I realized I needed to honor him somehow. I sent a mass text out the day before that to whoever wanted to could come over for pizza, limon sours and Chinese lanterns in honor of Kyle. For it being so last minute we had an awesome turn out.
The day was perfect and again my family went above and beyond. Started the day with my Peak Family at the gym - where they all wore their INDY tanks and gave me flowers. The weather was perfect so we were able to take my friend Ashley’s Jeep out - yes we went topless and doorless... super fun! Bloodies, shopping, limon sours and of course pull-tabs. A few of Kyle’s favorite things. We ended the day with Gary’s pizza (another fav and original Strand Family business), limon sours, ice cream cake and Chinese lanterns. Of course more flowers were delivered and hand written notes from friends and family hidden all over my house. I’m still finding them... found one in my suitcase on my travels this week. A nice surprise and pick me up, usually when I need it most!
I never thought I’d be here writing about this to all of you. Seriously I’m blessed and thankful for each and everyone of you. I couldn’t have done it without my faith and support system. Things happen in life that we sometimes don’t comprehend. Our life is filled with chapters but we get to make the choice how to get through those chapters. A year ago I lost a part of my heart but it will not define me. I’m surviving and will continue to thrive knowing part of my heart is in heaven and watching over me everyday. Love and miss you Kyle!
Love and hugs - Kayla ❤️
PS - If you haven’t read “Girl Wash Your Face”. Do it. The book spoke to me the entire time. A little sample of it in the picture.