Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Collaboration with a Purpose: Losing My Husband Changed Everything

with 27 comments

Folks, I’m one of ten bloggers talking about various forms of loss today in Collaboration with a Purpose.

Blogger Tajwarr Fatma (of came up with this idea (do visit her blog, OK?), and our joint purpose is to try to help others by letting them know they aren’t alone. We all have to deal with significant losses at some point, and the thought was that ten different bloggers might have ten different takes on the subject.


The theme is loss. How did you overcome it? How did you deal with it?

My topic is how I continue to deal with the catastrophic loss of my late husband Michael. He died in 2004, but without his influence on my life, and without the love he shared with me, I doubt I’d still be trying to make it as an author.


Michael was the most positive person I’ve ever been around, and he made me believe that I could do anything I put my mind to…I just had to keep after it, and keep trying, and not stop until the wall fell down, that’s all.

So, one day, I had the best and most supportive husband on the planet, someone who understood me and appreciated me and was into me, a wonderful and giving and caring man who also wrote and edited and was creative.

And the next, well, he had four massive heart attacks in one day over the course of ten hours. He couldn’t survive that, and he died.

His loss was devastating.

Even now, after so many years, I don’t have the words to express just how incalculable the loss of my husband actually was. Michael was my rock, my soul mate, and often my co-writer, and when he was with me, I felt whole. Loved. Understood. Appreciated for myself. And valued, not because I was a writer or a musician or anything, but because I was and am myself.

Michael even understood my health issues, and helped me work through them, so I could get more done with less wasted energy and effort.

When he died, all of that went away.

Or did it?

See, how I deal with Michael’s loss every day is to think about how much I love him.

Still. Always. Forever.

I love that man, and I feel his love for me, and it helps me go on.

No, he’s not here to make me dinners, or give me a backrub, or complain about politics (we both loved to do this), or come up with new stories, or edit anything I’ve got going, or help share the load with regards to paying work.

But his influence continues. I keep trying. I remember. I know how he felt about me. And it makes a difference.

In this life, I’ve met only a handful of people who truly have understood me, but none have understood me as well as Michael. He was my best friend, my everything…and all I can do to keep going is to tell myself that someday, in the positive afterlife (whatever shape or form that takes), I’ll see him again. And when I do, I want him to recognize me, and to know that I’m still the same person.

See, I can either celebrate his life, and do the best I can, or I can turn my face to the wall. I don’t see any benefit to turning my face to the wall, so I keep trying.

But yeah, some days, I do look at that wall, and say, “Hmm. Maybe today, I will stop trying.” Then I shake myself into sense, think, “Nah,” and go on and do what I was going to do anyway.

That’s what I learned from Michael. Accept that you feel lousy. Know why you feel terrible, even. But do what you were going to do anyway.

If it takes a little longer because of health issues or whatnot, so what? Keep going, keep trying, and do the best you can.

So, if you’re dealing with a significant loss like the loss of your husband, or a treasured friend, or someone you cared about deeply, try to be good to yourself. Realize there will be good days and bad days.

And most importantly, don’t listen to other people if they tell you that you’ve grieved long enough. It’s not up to them; it’s up to you what you do. If you need to grieve until you feel like you can take a step forward, you need to listen to yourself and do what you feel is right.

Just do your best. That’s all you can do.

But know that you aren’t alone. There are others on the same path as you, even if not at the same time, even if not in the exact same way.

As Buddha said (an apocryphal story, granted), there’s no one who’s not known loss. Every single person has known it, in one way or another.

May we use that knowledge to make us wiser, more compassionate, and more caring, eh?

Now, go take a look at the other bloggers’ takes on the same subject, will you?


Written by Barb Caffrey

April 19, 2017 at 10:00 am

27 Responses

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  1. This is a wonderful advice! Inspiring.

    Sadaf Siddiqi

    April 19, 2017 at 10:51 am

  2. […] 3. Barb Caffrey (Collaboration with a Purpose: Losing My Husband Changed Everything) […]

  3. Wow! Michael was a special man. This was such a touching post. Love like this is rare. Thank you for sharing a piece of Michael with us, Barb!

    Ipuna Black

    April 19, 2017 at 1:37 pm

  4. OMG!! Four heart attacks in ten hours?!! I can imagine how much of a blow that was to you. It must have been difficult to see him like that. I am so sorry for your loss.
    I must confess that this has gotten me quite emotional. I love that you are trying to progress in life despite it.
    Thank you for sharing this part of your life as part of our collaboration. This is a really encouraging piece.


    April 19, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    • Thanks, Jainey. I appreciate your comment.

      Yes, it was very difficult. There was no warning of this at all. Michael had passed a cardiac stress test not eight months prior.

      Barb Caffrey

      April 19, 2017 at 9:58 pm

      • Keep fighting like you already are!! You rock!!


        April 20, 2017 at 7:51 am

      • Thanks so much! (And goodness knows, I’ll keep trying.) Bless you, and have a great day.

        Barb Caffrey

        April 20, 2017 at 12:52 pm

  5. Thank you for sharing your story. I lost the person who was my everything in 2001. Like you, I’m continuing to deal with it. You said, “See, I can either celebrate his life, and do the best I can, or I can turn my face to the wall. I don’t see any benefit to turning my face to the wall, so I keep trying.” I don’t see the benefit of turning my face to the wall either. Except there are days when I forget that. But then I start over the next day.

    Altea Addison

    April 19, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    • Altea, I’m sorry that you lost your special someone in 2001. It is hard to go on. It really is.

      The best we can do is try to be good to ourselves, and remember that the love we had doesn’t die — it’s just waiting, I think.

      Barb Caffrey

      April 19, 2017 at 10:00 pm

      • I think you’re right, Barb!

        Altea Addison

        April 19, 2017 at 11:21 pm

  6. Barb, your loss is great but what inspires me the most about you is how you celebrate Michael’s life and are the embodiment of his love. You go on and that’s such a testament to your inner strength. I know if that happened to me, I’d be a big ‘ol mess and couldn’t even get out of bed.

    But you’re right, we’ve all suffered loss. Losing my dad was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through and there’s not a day goes by that I don’t miss him. I feel his love surround me and it gives me strength.

    MRS N

    N. N. Light

    April 19, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    • I’m glad you still feel your father’s love surrounding you, Mrs. N. I think that’s important. All we can do is keep going and remember the people who were important to us…I do think the love continues.

      And I’m glad that me continuing on inspires you. Some days, I hurt a great deal, and other days, it’s not as bad because I seem to feel Michael’s love more on those days. It’s the days where I can’t write, can’t create at all, that I have the worst time with it.

      Barb Caffrey

      April 19, 2017 at 10:02 pm

  7. […] Barb Caffrey Ipuna Black  […]

  8. […] Barb Caffrey @ Brab Caffrey’s Blog: Collaboration with a Purpose: Losing My Husband Changed Everything […]

  9. I’m sorry for your loss, Barb, and it’s really inspiring how you handle it; I can’t quite imagine how I’d be in your situation. Your husband sounds like an incredible guy. Thanks for sharing this and here’s a hug. ❤️


    April 20, 2017 at 5:37 am

    • Thank you, Nicolle. Yes, he was a wonderful man.

      The best I can do is keep going, and remember him, and take my memories into the future and keep doing what I know I must do…that’s what makes the most sense to me, anyway.

      *hugs* back.

      Barb Caffrey

      April 20, 2017 at 12:58 pm

  10. Your husband must be smiling from heaven now. Now I know why couples call their partners better halves. His memories and words of inspiration still keep you going forward even after so many years, this is proof of how wonderful a person he was. Like we all know, the age that we live in is the age where realtions have the least significance and in this age you were really blessed to have such a person in your life. Thank you so much ma’am for sharing your golden memories!

    Jothish Joseph

    April 20, 2017 at 6:23 am

    • Thank you so much, Jothish. 🙂 I appreciate your comment greatly.

      I know Michael made an enormous difference in my life. I am glad he and I found each other and had some time together, and while I don’t plan to rush into eternity (what’s the point of that? Besides, he’d be angry with me if I did.), I do look forward to seeing him (or at least experiencing him again in some fashion) there.

      Barb Caffrey

      April 20, 2017 at 12:55 pm

  11. This post is touching, from beginning to the end and I’m glad you’ve read my post, all I could say to you on here are already there. You’re a soldier Barb, kudos to you for this amazing post and your willingness to help others on how to make lemonade out of life bitter lemons. I feel great to participate in the collaboration with you all. Thanks for your courage to share your real life experience; I wish you joy, happiness, peace and protection. Stay blessed Barb.

    Ajibola Sunday

    April 20, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    • Thanks, Ajibola. 🙂 I appreciate everything you said.

      Barb Caffrey

      April 21, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      • You’re most welcome Barb 😉👍

        Ajibola Sunday

        April 21, 2017 at 5:51 pm

  12. […] 9. Barb Caffrey’s Post FOR MORE UPDATES AND UPCOMING EVENTS, FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK BY CLICKING ON THE LINK Official page of Lifeaswehaveneverknownit  […]

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