Posted by: karenevoss | July 28, 2011

The Life After

“All that I’m after is a life full of laughter without you God knows what I’d do” –Life After You, Daughtry

Losing a spouse or just a loved one is one of the hardest things a person must cope with. It is even worse when the person dies as a result of tragedy. It is not how we deal with the person’s death that is the hardest part, but rather life after death.

Theoretically there are five stages of grief: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Grief has no timetable and neither does your life. While some people have a grasp on what is, others have a hard time coping especially when there are obstacles. Denial for me showed its’ face in disbelief, hoping the firemen could save my husband even though hearing the words, “it looks like he’s been there awhile”, registered what I already knew as truth. My husband of four short months was gone. As I think back to that day in December 2008, I realize my life did not end that day or in the days, weeks, months following, it would be a catalyst for future events.

I believe I skipped over the stage of bargaining. I knew I could not trade my life for Russ’. I remember watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie titled, “The Lord is My Shepherd” where Laura tried to bargain with God. She wanted God to take her and bring back her baby brother. As a child you do not know what can happen, but as an adult you cannot believe what happened. Laura did not get her prayers answered as I did not receive mine to heal Russ from Mental Illness which he suffered from for 20 years. “His torments you know all too well” is a quote from a poem written by a friend, Vivian Roe, titled “Boys Club: Party of Five” after receiving the news of Russ’ death. We did know them too well and they prevented Russ from telling me everything he was suffering from in those last days.

Until dealing a hand I could not completely grasp, I never knew how much friendship meant. I dealt with depression which was something I thought I would never have to deal with. Mix grief with a brand new job being eliminated laid out the depression symptoms which consisted of low motivation, emotions all over the place, and just wanting to sleep, but not being able to. I am lucky to have friends and family I could turn to in my time of need.

Anger. A stage which never truly left and it walks hand-in-hand with guilt. What could I be angry about? For a very long time I was angry at God for allowing Russ reception into Heaven way too soon and way too young. Our lives had just begun, spreading our wings and tasting the waters of a new marriage. Russ and I, practicing Catholics, having been robbed of spending our lives together and starting a family, is a reason anger occurred. I do not think I asked how this all happened, but I constantly asked Why. I lived with anger (it still shows up every now and again), guilt (worked this using multiple resources, the last and latest being Higher Brain Living) for over two years.

To define progression: the way we live our lives over the course of time. My progression since the dark days following Russ’ death is immense in all aspects. Health wise I lost most of the weight I gained, combatted sleep issues, and rose from the depths of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and depression. I now receive regular adjustments from my chiropractor which has allowed me to become more physically active. I introduced Young Living Essential Oils into my life as a more natural approach to taking care of myself and encourage others to do the same.

I became part of a greater movement, Higher Brain Living (HBL), where I am discovering my authentic self and clearing the obstacles in my life. Through HBL I have become guilt free which has allowed me to stop blaming myself and asking the unanswerable questions surrounding Russ’ death by suicide. I do wane every so often, but then stop myself since God only knows the answers to my questions and I do not plan on seeing him anytime soon.

During an Authentic Self~Kosmic Consciousness retreat, as a part of AWAKEN Higher Brain Living, I accepted Russ’ death and acceptance is the last stage of grief. I would do this on the beach, just “being” and reflecting. Not only did I accept his death, but I also forgave God for what transpired and I felt forgiven by God for the anger and hurt I had. I connected on a more spiritual level which had not been there since Russ passed away. I had an epiphany when my inkling to write became a dream.

My transformation has led to becoming an advocate for saving lives and not necessarily only with the physical self. Sharing my journey, verbally and written, has done many things so far. One, I inspire people to have the ability to believe there is life outside a bad situation. Two, I inform others how to honor themselves and how to help others who need it, but do not ask for it. Three, I motivate others to get moving, to push themselves to new limits, to help change lives and the world in which we live.



  1. Karen, you have such a wonderful way with words…they seem to flow and stream effortlessly across the page. I want to acknowledge you and the work that you have done and the commitment to yourself to transform…truly transform your life into something even more beautiful than you could have imagined. Allow the higher brain to lead along with the can’t go wrong!


    • Thank You Annie! I am thankful to have this gift and to be able to share it with everyone. It is tough at times to write about my journey as I think back but then I realize how much stronger I am and how far I have come. It’s one strong step for man, but one giant leap for me. To quote the song Your Moment “believing that anything’s possible”. I am transforming and using both the HB and my heart to inspire me, I have Russ to thank for that…his loss became my gain.

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