Tiffany Cruz, long-time parenting blogger, mom to two amazing kids, widowed at age 35, shares her story of triumph through heartbreak.
Being a parent isn’t for the faint of heart…but your heart wouldn’t want it any other way.
Sure, you’re over-scheduled, over-worked, and your entire life feels it’s just one mad dash to get everything done between the 8 a.m. drop off and rushing back to the school at 3 p.m. for pick up… not to mention the merry go round of after-school activities and obligations. But nothing fills you with as much joy as those smiling faces (even the dirty ones!)
And Mama, (or Dad, or grandma, or person-who-loves-and-raises-the-kid-so-is-just-as-important-as-any-other-title), you are crushing it, I promise.
You are doing the best you can and it really is good enough.
Deep down, you already know that, but still, sometimes you feel overwhelmed. And that’s okay. Parenting is hard. And when you’re a single parent (by choice, or like me, through unforeseen circumstances) it’s even harder to feel like there’s anyone out there who even understands what you’re going through.
Well, honey, I’m here to hold your hand. Nobody ever said this would be easy, but we’ll get through it and raise some downright amazing kids… together.
I may not have all the answers, but I get it. I really, really do. My life certainly didn’t end up the way I thought it would.
Hi, I’m Tiffany Cruz, long-time parenting blogger, Mama to two amazing kids, and recently, I became a widow at age 35.
In January of 2016, my life was turned upside down when my husband, Sean, passed away suddenly.
It started with what the doctor thought was a really bad sinus infection that just wouldn’t go away. After multiple trips to the doctor and a couple of ER visits, Sean was finally admitted when they realized his liver enzymes were very high.
Then, Sean’s liver scans showed shadows and we were told it could be cancer.
Welcome to one of the scariest moments of my life.
We all know that life is precious, that everyone dies, and that no day but today is guaranteed. But even knowing all of this, we can never fully prepare ourselves for the moment we learn it’s happening to someone we love.
The next 48 hours are a blur. After the biopsy, Sean started bleeding internally. He had three emergency surgeries to try and stop the bleeding and relieve the pressure on his organs but it was too late.
It wasn’t for another two weeks that we finally started to get answers about what had happened to Sean. As it turned out, he had a VERY RARE form of cancer and even if he had survived the biopsy, he wouldn’t have lived much longer.
In a way, knowing that he was spared extra months of treatment and suffering gives me peace. My husband didn’t have to undergo chemo, he is no longer in pain… This is my piece of light.
I’m also grateful that the kids had a chance to spend time with their daddy in the hospital a few days before he passed while he was on meds and feeling fairly well. A good memory for them. Another light.
These lights in the darkness are what I’m here to share with you. The moments where things seem right, where I once again feel like a good mom because my kids can still laugh, or even use my shoulder to cry. I want to take those sparks of hope and joy and use them to light your candle when things feel a little dark.
Some things I’ve learned:
The grieving process is so important, feel all your feelings, babe, because otherwise, they will consume you.
But, another lesson…
You cannot do it alone. It’s so easy to become cynical with friends who have their spouses. It’s painful. I. SO. GET. THAT. I’m going to share ideas on how not to withdraw from your group of friends even when it hurts (or society as a whole! No more hiding under those blankets. Let that light SHINE!)
I’ve also got plenty of ideas on how to keep busy (spoiler alert: If you’re a parent, you’re already busy!) and how to honor your spouse’s memory, for both your heart, and your children’s. Having an open line of communication with my kids (8 & 4) so they can talk with me about their loss and how they feel, has been vital for all of our healing (and it will be for you, too.)
I’m in a unique situation because I get what my kids are going through. When I was 11 years old, I saw my own mother become a widow at 36 after my dad suffered a heart attack. It’s a way I wouldn’t have wanted to be able to relate to my children or my mother. Here I am at 35, also a young widow. My mom was and is such an inspiration to me. I’m drawing a lot of my strength from her and I’m hoping I can provide that kind of comfort to some of you as you comfort your own children. At the very least, I hope this blog helps you to feel less alone.
Kids are amazing and even through the darkness, they can thrive. They are the light.
There is light after the darkness. There is healing after trauma. If I can go on loving and living, so can you.
Oh yeah, what about that part? LIVING?! I’m so glad you asked.
I may be grieving, but I’m still the mom who is all about giving my kids a voice. I listen to their interests and build experiences around that.
We’re talking about that slow parenting- no pushing sports or after school activities. I consider my babies (and our chickens!) free-range. I’m all about digging into quality time with board games, random adventures and just plain hanging out. I’m not about gender labels, I’m about gender equality and I’m proud to say that so far, my kids are smart, strong, and resilient.
We are doing a fabulous job.
Welcome to the Fabulous Mom Blog Family. I’m so glad you’re here. Stay awhile, stalk me on Instagram and follow on SnapChat @FabTiffany