This is the introductory piece to a new series from Tanya Fujiki-Hastings, a new contributor to Momfilter, who writes a blog called T Spoon of Sunshine

I’m a mom.  I’m single.  And I’m a widow.  Hi, I’m Tanya.  Nice to meet you.

The first death anniversary of my late husband Ryan is quickly approaching and I don’t quite know how I feel when it comes to the spectrum of emotions.  A huge part of me feels relieved — I actually survived “that first year”.  Another part of me feels sad — I had to survive “that first year”.  But the majority of me feels incredibly empowered, proud, and yeah, I’ll say it, happy.  Reflecting back on the day that I suddenly became everybody’s private property with their looks of pity and feelings of distress and sadness, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make sure that I not only took care of my child without skipping a beat, but that I also took care of myself.  As moms, we can pour every part of ourselves into our children and sometimes neglect ourselves.  That’s just something that happens organically and naturally when we become parents and have an entirely new life to care for.  We’ve all been there, right?  But the difference this time was that I no longer had a partner to balance me out on the days when I let myself fall by the wayside.  I suddenly had to pony up and be both parents.  So that’s what happened.

My daughter was a day shy of turning 6 months old when her dad was killed in a freak motorcycle accident.  It has now been a little over 10 months since and I am now in a place where I am normalizing.  In the last ten months, I have traveled extensively, read a lot, cried a lot, met people from every walk of life, shared experiences, uprooted myself and my daughter from what was “comfortable” and restarted our lives in a completely new environment with very few familiar faces.  Somehow, in the middle of all of this, I met someone and actually fell in love.

It didn’t come easy.  Always feeling like I was disappointing someone was something that definitely weighed heavily on me.  I didn’t feel like I was allowed to be happy yet.  It just felt like one false move and everyone would gasp.  People will always have an opinion on what timeline I need to be on.  I’ll be the first to admit that within this first year, I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I’d be where I am.  But you don’t choose when you fall in love.  You don’t choose how you fall in love.  It just happens.  The turn that my life took was one that was full of brightness, so I took it.  Wouldn’t I have been foolish to remain in a dark place rather than actually stand in the light and take it?

One of the last conversations I remember having with Ryan was centered around death.  Morbid?  Perhaps.  But isn’t it a conversation that all married couples have with one another?  We asked each other the hard question:  what would we do if something happened to one of us?  His response is the biggest reason I have no guilt for anything that has happened to me:  “I want you to keep moving on.  I want you to meet someone and fall in love again.  I never want you to be sad, especially if it’s over me.”  That answer was the most selfless, honest, and raw response that I could have ever asked for.  It came from his heart.

I’m continuing to keep on keeping on because that’s what life is about.  My daughter has gone from being an infant to a toddler in no time.  And I went from feeling helpless to becoming a stronger version of myself.  I can’t wait to share more of my experiences that have brought me where I am today and the experiences that will take me where I’m destined to go.

Hi, I’m Tanya.  Nice to meet you.


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Comments (7)


  1. what a brave and honest post. you sound like an amazing woman and mother. i cannot wait to hear more of your story! thank you so much for sharing. xo

  2. Posted by: T.

    Thanks, Joanna!

  3. Posted by: Joya

    Looking forward to reading more – beautifully said and honest.


  4. Posted by: LGW

    Beautiful article; thank you for sharing your strength and courage. You are a strong person and a wonderful example to your daughter and spirit of your husband,

  5. Posted by: amanda

    Tanya you are such a good writer! I love keeping up with you and baby A. Glad to see your doing well:)

  6. Posted by: Katie C

    Isn’t it funny how if this story were a made into a movie people would be all for the new romance, but when it comes to real life, so many people just bring on the judgement?! Anyone who truly cares for you should want nothing more than for you to be happy. I don’t even know you, but it makes my heart full to hear your story and know that you’ve been able to find your way out of a dark place and find such love and happiness again. It’s not difficult to get stuck in a place of sadness and grief, so you are truly an inspiration. I look forward to hearing more from you:)

  7. Posted by: June Leighton

    I am so sorry this year was forced upon you, and so sorry for what is an unimaginable loss. You write with such purpose, strength and also vulnerability. You and your daughter must have become … EVERYTHING to many people — sort of ground zero of everyone’s grief and curiosity.

    It sounds like you did everything right. Hell, right seems like an understatement. All parents are superheroes to their kids — but your daughter has one with far more powers than most. She is a lucky little girl.

    Try to celebrate the horrible anniversary of his death by living and loving your new life. It seems clear it would be exactly what he would want you to do. I hope the next year will be less of a battle and will continue to bring you joy!

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