My name is Kaitlin and I am originally from the mangrove forests of venice, florida. Thanks to my dad’s unique terms of endearment, I have been called “coo” my entire life. In fact, I don’t even associate my formal name with my identity.

So… where do I begin? My spouse and childhood sweetheart, Jacob, died September 4 2017. I found him dead in our shared home. He was only 27. I became a 25 year old widow to the man I was with since middle school.

Life has dealt me quite the hand. I lost my will to live so many times I stopped keeping count. In anguish I found moments so dark I needed magnets in order to shock my brain out of suicidality. I live with non combat PTSD and as you might imagine, I went through a couple years of real self destruction. However, it is important to note I never judge the way I handled (and handle) my grief. Nor should you.

My friends and family distanced themselves, as it is so common for people like me. Despite what you think, some friends and family will leave you when you need them mostSo, what did I do? With therapy, medication, and a lot of help from a widow organization soaring spirits, I was able to find new family. Two widows my age with a similar story to mine. Montréal and Nepal became my two homes where I could be with my new post-Jacob support system. My entire identity changed. I had to somehow face the world as a completely different human. I became more sensitive, more empathetic – but grief gave me the ability to live without fear – often leading to chaos- which leads to pretty damn good stories. Often at my own expense (but what is better than that- right?) I was no longer the most important person to anyone in the world.” That truth is not an easy one to digest. So, after two years in bed and isolation, I had to face the world.

This is not a story of my “journey” My grief is not a journey – journey is a shitty band from the 80s. There is no happy ending – but rather, human experience.

You will see this blog has almost a two year gap, this was a period I returned to graduate school to finish my degree that I started when Jacob died… I wanted to give dignity to our life – we had moved across the country and he was so proud of me, I knew I had to finish this for him. This was also my first year back in the real world, as a supposed “functioning human being”. And it led to entertaining as hell stories – shit-show circumstances – and an authentic account of grief. The good and the bad.

P.S. – my pen name is Frances Bloom and you can purchase my book of poetry here.