Anyone who has lost someone close knows that dread that comes along with holidays. In fact, I remember prior to Jeremy's death how grateful I was to have never lost someone so significant to me to put a damper on my holidays, I always had so much to be thankful for. Oh, how much can change in a year.

I didn't get to write about Thanksgiving this year. It was Carter's first Thanksgiving, the first in our new home, the first year hosting, my first time attempting to cook a turkey....and the first without my brother.  As I was preparing the night before, frantically cleaning the house and baking cookies, butter tarts, and apple pie in Jer's honor, I felt his presence. I felt how proud he was of me for keeping it together (and for making his favorite Canadian food). The day of though, I noticed that the absence I felt stronger was my brother's. Perhaps because it was my parents and other brother who came for Thanksgiving that made the hole feel so deep. And perhaps it's because I deal with Jer's death every day and have become used to the fact that he's not around. But just like the reality of Jer's death took awhile to really settle in, I just can't believe I'll never see my brother smile again or play with my kids. I'll never hear "I love you sis" or hear his sweet voice call me on my birthday like he did every year. I'll never eat his famous chili again or play cards with him or ride roller coasters with him every Memorial weekend at King's Island. I really miss my brother.

The next day, I mustered up the energy and desire to decorate the house for Christmas. I used to jump up and down for the day when I could decorate the house with my little family. Even though it usually consisted of Jeremy tinkering with his itunes playlist to choose just the right Christmas music, which took him literally hours, while I hung up everything til he was done and ready to hold up a child to put the star on the tree - it was one of my favorite times. I think the only real pull for me to do it this year was because I have a new, beautiful house to decorate and two kids begging me to put 'toys' on the tree...it's hard to not get into the spirit for them. And truthfully, it felt good. I remember last year only putting the tree up for the kids and having Sarah help me so I didn't come unglued. I almost did. And it was completely meaningless for me, I was drowning in sorrow. This year, as I carefully unwrapped all the individual glass ornaments, I replayed our life together told through those pieces.
Jer's moose ornament.
The reindeer one he picked out when I worked at Pottery Barn.
Our first Christmas ornaments.
The fabric red heart with our picture inside.
The cluster of ornaments we got as a wedding gift from a friend my mom worked with, including a little bride and groom and a mailbox that is hand-painted with "The Kings" on the side.
And all the priceless ornaments the children have made.

I used to be picky about the tree, not wanting it to look 'tacky' with multi-colored lights and ornaments that were falling apart but I feel so differently now. I opened our new Christmas tree that was given to us by the radio station last year, complete with built-in LED colored lights, and it made the kids soooo happy! This tree represents our family: it tells our story of messiness, color, and memories. It's priceless. My whole life is up on the tree this year.

I felt like the old me for awhile as I got so excited to get a few new decorations for the house. I even created my own centerpiece with all the vases I've gotten over the last year:

The warm presence of Christmas is back in our lives. I'm trying not think about the fact that my brothers birthday is this weekend or the fact that there will now be two giant holes at Christmas time this year and how hard that is going to be. I'm trying to focus on something bigger. Something hopeful. I read this today in my daily emails this morning:

"One thing about being in grief is that your sorrow is certain, and your loss is so real you literally taste it to the depth of your being. You have to have a certainty that is bigger than the certainty of your sorrow."
I have to. I just have to.

Baby, I hope you feel how desperately you are missed and the void that can never be replaced. There is just no sense to be made of your death. All I can do is carry on with the certainty of something bigger and knowing that someday, when I see you again, everything will fall back into place. You are my compass. I will stand for our children, who are growing like weeds and still talk about you every. single. day. I won't have it any other way. We love you so deeply, you are forever woven in our hearts and souls. Please wrap us in your love and protection as this holiday season approaches for us and the feeling of your absence will magnify. And please, give my brother a giant hug from me and tell him how much I miss him.

I miss you too, baby. Deeper than I know how to express.
I love you forever and always.


Can I say this?


I carry your bible around in my purse. I love to open it and look at the old newspaper clipping of your grandfather and his 13 siblings that you used as a bookmark, or the piece of scrap paper that had a worship set scribbled on it - there is something about your handwriting that pulls at my heart.

Last Sunday, I found this. 2 Timothy 4:6-8 boxed and highlighted, with a note you wrote beside it. My heart always skips a beat when I see your handwriting, so I stopped immediately. Then I realized this is the very verse we used for your funeral, for the programs, and I believe the verse you used to write with your autograph at singing gigs. I sat and stared at it through tears, reading it over and over and over. 

I think you could have lived a very long life and still never quite felt like you fulfilled this verse. Maybe that's the point and any real Christian knows that we're always striving. And maybe I've had times where I doubted this in you (and myself) when you were here. But babe......oh, babe....what an amazing thing grace is. Look at what's become of your life and your legacy! Look at the lives that have been forever changed, forever benefited from your story and your love. You CAN say this and sometimes the image of you in Heaven makes me smile so big for you, cause I know you've found your peace. It's always a painful smile, though, as I selfishly wish you were still here. I'm humbled to watch how God has allowed grace to use an imperfect man to create beauty and life. Neither of us could have ever believed it the magnitude of it, but I am so proud of you. 

I guess it gives me hope. So many times in the last year, I've beaten myself up about how horribly I was handling everything, how much I was still hurting, the horrible thoughts and desires that would run through my head. But I recognize that God can use brokenness, doubt, even darkness to shine light. As long as I keep my eyes ahead, I have seen the true testament of what can become of life served for God. I'm trying, baby. I really am. 

Just know that I love you more than I can ever tell you and I miss you every single day. I don't know what to write here anymore sometimes, but my heart has gone through a roller coaster. But every single day, I'm thankful I got you - even for such a short time. I would never trade it. You did good, baby. You fought the good fight. You finished the race. I can't wait to meet you at the finish line.

I love you always.



I can honestly say that I've never known anyone outside of fame that has been honored and remembered as much as Jeremy. My husband. The man I got to stand beside for 8 short years. I knew he was a great man, but I could have never understood the depths of the work he did and continues to do for God's kingdom. His life is still blessing.

Last night, The Jeremy King Memorial Dinner took place. A formal dinner comprised of limited seating, a catered meal, silent auctions, and touching entertainment by One Time Blind, the evening was absolutely amazing. The decorations were unbelievable and just right to honor Jeremy, all the way down to the fishing pole exhibits and fresh cut wood centerpieces with burlap flowers. Some of Jer's closest friends stood up to share stories about him, and made us laugh and cry. To top off the evening, Rochester College (where Jer was employed and also where Jer and I met and attended school) presented each of our children with scholarships should they choose to attend there. I was completely speechless. Just when I think no more could possibly be done, I am floored to see God's love pouring in for our family.

I think the one year mark left me at a very strange place. The dust has settled. People have gone back to life. A part of me started to feel very lonely in my grief - and left me dealing with this pain face to face on a daily basis all alone. People don't come around as often - and that's ok, but like almost anything, if you think about something often enough for long enough, you start to go crazy. I felt like I was going crazy, quite literally....maybe I made Jer up, maybe it was a dream, maybe it's been longer than a year, maybe it's really only been a week, the list goes on. But then an event like this takes place and reminds me that I am not alone. Jeremy is remembered by so many, loved by so many, grieved by so many. He is not forgotten, nor is the legacy he's left on this earth.

It was a wonderful evening. It was a heartbreaking evening. It was a devastating evening. It was a hopeful evening. The hardest part for me was hearing individually each of Jer's closest friends attest to the way that Jer loved me and our babies, and the way that he talked about us...I knew it in theory, but there's something about hearing it from someone else that completely ripped my heart out but filled my soul at the same time. I truly did not deserve that guy.

It's so humbling to stand in the place where my husband has left. I feel his love and protection in the way that he's surrounded me with the most incredible people on the planet, he's allowed this writing outlet for people to walk this journey with me, and has continued to shine through the beautiful faces of our children. I know there is so much going on in the world, so many people in need of prayer, time, and money....and to know that people will still use that time to bless my family just moves me to tears. I can only pray to leave half the legacy that my husband has left.

Baby, I'm so proud of you. I'm proud of the man that you became, I'm proud of the people you chose to surround yourself with, I'm proud of the community you've created and participated in. I'm mostly proud to be yours. 

I miss you every single day and that will never change. Sometimes it's still suffocating - like yesterday while I was cleaning and found your sweater in the coat closet...it smelled like you and tears hit me so fast I could barely stand up straight. I haven't smelled that smell in awhile, and it instantly brought me back, then brought me to my knees. Sometimes, though, missing you doesn't always sting anymore. Thankfully, I can think about you and smile. I can tell funny stories about you and laugh. I can remember you with pride in my heart instead of jealousy (most of the time). 

I will carry you with me everywhere I go. I can't get over what an incredible man I married.
I love you always and forever babe.


one year

I remember thinking often, Where will I be at the one year mark? What will I say? What will I write?

One year has finally past since Jeremy died, and truthfully, I still don't know the answer. I really thought the anniversary would just be another day, not more or less painful than any other day since I live this grief thing daily. But as the weeks approached the date, all I wanted to do was get it over with. I thought 'If I can just get this dreadful day over with, then maybe I can breathe again.'

I remember where I was at 6 months - I was suffocating. For weeks up to that mark, I felt this anxiety so deep and heavy my heart wouldn't settle down. And then the day came, and the sky didn't fall and I was still alive - and utterly shocked. I came to recognize that the anticipation was worse than the actual day. So I figured the same would be true for this week. Only, I've been ok lately. As much as I hate to say that, everything has been ok. My kids are happy and healthy, my friends are amazing, and I've made it to a place where I can think about Jeremy without constantly breaking down into tears. As strange as it sounds, I hated feeling alright....grief is familiar, and people looking in connect my grief with my love for Jer...if I am ok, I must be 'moving on' right? But that's not it at all...I've just finally come to accept the fact that this is my reality and I can either live it and make myself miserable or live it in a way that honors my husband and what I know he would want for me and our children.

But then November 9th came and knocked me to the ground. I woke up feeling like someone was standing on my chest, had horrible back pain and dread throughout my entire body. I woke up weepy, which I haven't been in so long because I've built up so many walls. Yeah, I've been okay but damn it, I miss Jer. I miss my life with him. All I wanted to do was sleep - which is a rare luxury for me. A few wonderful people took the kids for me so I could do that. I barely moved most of the morning. I just stared off into space, eyes full of tears, aimlessly trying to figure out where I was and what I was doing - which is a state I'm familiar with from those first few weeks/months of grief. Basically November 9th sucked.

There was something very special that happened that brought me back to a place of peace. I received an incredible email....

I know you don't know me and quite honestly I really don't know you - although it feels like I do as I saw you about this time last year at the Belpre Youth Rally (Awaken Event) just shortly after you'd walked through some of the hardest days of your life.  I think I sent you a note shortly after that just telling you how horribly sorry I was and that so many of us were committed to praying and that has continued through this year.  Your blog has made your heart and the heart of the one you lost so evident to so many of us and we are all better because of it.  
Several months ago I made a note on my calendar to remember this day and do something that I felt might possibly honor the life of Jeremy.  I know it won't make today hurt one ounce less.  I am so aware there is no "fix."  I just know that sometimes in the middle of so much of this, you are afraid that as time passes people will "forget" who he was or how kind he was or how amazing a husband or daddy, or just how stinking good a man he was.  I wanted in my own little corner of the world, in my own little way to be able to remind you that today we'll take time to honor his life.  
So...I am certain you don't remember, but at the Awaken Event, Called and Compelled Ministries was asked to be the beneficiary for the Sunday MorningContribution - where you all were leading worship.  We had the coffee shop in the lobby attempting to raise funds for a ministry which helps the poor and forgotten in the country of Honduras.  
Over the past 48 hours or so people who love and support the ministry have raised enough money to build a house today.  It is what I hope will be the first of annual builds on this day.  We have searched out - in a culture that doesn't encourage or regularly produce men who are good husbands and daddy's - thanks to God, we have found a family that we believe has a man who is attempting to do the best with what he's got to provide and lead his family well, but he needs a little help. 
In one of the roughest neighborhoods in this city, the house they're living in is falling down around them and so we're going in today to build them a home.  To celebrate this man who is wanting to be God's man.  He will receive a picture of Jeremy and one of your family (with your permission of course) and we will tell him the story of a man who loved his God, his wife, and his family and lived that out well - in the hopes that it will serve as an inspiration for this man to do the same.  
The family has 5 kiddo's all sleeping in a one room house in one bed - the wife just got a microfinance loan for a tortilla oven so she is making some money to feed her family by making and selling tortillas in her community.  We will send you some pictures of the build later today.  
We just wanted to do something to let you know that Jeremy's life and your story are worth remembering.  So while we pound every single nail today, we'll be praying for you and your family and we will be thanking God for Jeremy's life that is touching people even in other countries at this point.  
I pray that the heart behind this is conveyed.  Purely and simply we think Jeremy's life was an inspiration.  Thank you for telling your story so that others might know the kind of man that he was and might be inspired to follow in his footsteps.  
Today we build the first "Kings Quarters" house - the first of many I pray.  
Please know that people all over this world are lifting you to the Father today.  
On behalf of all of us at Called and Compelled...may God's hand hold you so tightly today Vee.  

Love and blessings, 
Jen and the other Called and Compelled folk :)

I sat and sobbed on the stairs, completely speechless. I know that I will never find justice in Jeremy's death, no matter how much good is done.....but how could I not be absolutely humbled and grateful for the life of my incredible husband?! Here I sit drowning in grief, in a beautiful home, with beautiful children - safe, comfortable, clothed, and fed - consumed and unaware of the tragedies on the other side of the world that Jer's life is bringing light and hope to. I felt such deep sorrow and honor at the same time.

In the evening, I attended our Wednesday church service, which was dedicated in memory of Jeremy and all those who have died in our congregation over the last year. I couldn't keep it together.

Do you feel the confusion of my day? The incongruity of events and the emotions I've gone through - there is such dissonance between my random mental state and my understanding of it. It was quite the roller coaster....as most of my life over the last year has been.

My conclusion is this: death sucks and hurts like hell. There is still such a void where Jer belongs, but I will say that grief is not all-consuming all the time anymore: I can smile without forcing it. I can be thankful for my blessings. I can recognize hurts greater than my own. I can appreciate the life my husband gave and led, while still feeling his protection over me - these are big steps for me. I haven't always been this way.

I'd like to say I came away with something monumental after surviving a year of living without the love of my life. I'd love to say something inspirational, something that will encourage or bring hope for others. Someday I will, I feel it brewing - but not today. Instead, I will borrow someone else's words that I'm holding on to today:

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."  -Lao Tzu

I love you babe.
With all that I am and all that I know and all that I have, I love you. There is no way to adequately describe my disbelief that I've lived an entire year without you. It can't be possible. The only explanation I can come up with is that the love we shared is still strong and evident, and has kept me going. You have somehow kept me going. 
Most days, I don't feel like I'm any better off than I was a year ago. But there are those few days here and there where you show me hope. You show me light, in the faces of our beautiful children and in the hearts of those around me.
I know I still have a long way to go. This journey will never end. I will miss you every single day until the day I see you again. Until then...I'll just have to wait.
I miss you.
I love you always.



I don't know what to say or write. My heart is heavy. Another widow blogger expressed what I'm feeling so well. "The procession of time and the procession of the heart truly do not move at the same pace." This is so true.

I'm stuck. But I leave here the lyrics that have been on my heart today.

I miss you baby.
I love you always.

Right now all I can taste are bitter tears
And right now all I can see are clouds of sorrow
From the other side of all this pain
Is that you I hear?
Laughing loud and calling out to me?

Saying see, it's everything you said that it would be
And even better than you would believe
And I'm counting down the days until you're here with me
And finally you'll see

But right now all I can say is, "Lord, how long?"
Before You come and take away this aching
This night of weeping seems to have no end
But when the morning light breaks through
We'll open up our eyes and we will see

It's everything He said that it would be
And even better than we would believe
And He's counting down the days till He says, "Come with me"
And finally

He'll wipe every tear from our eyes
And make everything new
Just like He promised

Wait and see
Just wait and see
Wait and see

And I'm counting down the days until I see
It's everything He said that it would be
And even better than we would believe
And I'm counting down the days till He says, "Come with me"
And finally
We'll see

Wait and see
O taste and see that the Lord is good
The Lord is good
The Lord is good
O taste and see that the Lord is good
The Lord is good

-SEE, Steven Curtis Chapman


ordinary moments

November 6:

I remember a few very specific moments or flashes from this day last year: Sitting in the break room at the gym, texting you with my new phone and being thrilled that I got reception with it. Pulling up to Max and Erma's to get us a table while you parked the car. A nice dinner with our sweet little family and watching your sexy smile all night. Going to Target to pick up Lady Antebellum's new Christmas CD. Sitting at the kitchen table while you texted me that 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' made you miss your mom. 

Simple, ordinary moments. And some of my most prized memories. 

I am holding on to every single moment I can. I had too few of them.

I miss you babe. I can't believe this is still happening.
I love you always and forever.



Words have failed me lately.

I have so much going on in my head and my heart, yet I haven't been able to write anything or put any of it into words. I don't know how to describe this strange place I've found myself in.

I've found myself battling time. I still wish I could rewind the clock - just to see you, kiss you, hug you again, even just once. But sometimes I wish now I could fast forward the clock - fast forward to a place that doesn't hurt as much, past the plague of 'one year', past the loneliness and despair to a place where I can smile without pain and find contentment with the blessings I've still got in my life. I see those moments in passing, but if I'm going to be stuck here I have to believe there is a place where I can settle in with those kinds of moments some day. It's the sitting here in the now that's driving me crazy, unsure of where I'm going.

November 5. This evening last year we went out to dinner with Jodie, Gary, Chris, and Vicki at Rochester Mills and then headed over to pick up our brand new phones, and you finally got your iphone. I remember what shirt you were wearing. I remember you getting home and taking this pic with the kids:

That's you. You were here once. It seems hard to believe sometimes. And yet, a year feels sickening to say. If I let myself sit in the moment, if feels like yesterday. But an entire lifetime has passed since then. I know I'm a different person and I've come a long way in the last 12 months...most of it forced, things I didn't want to face, experiences I didn't want to have without you, strength I didn't want to find. But I survived it anyway. I grew anyway. I endured anyway. I thrived anyway. I didn't ask for these things, I resisted every moment and yet here I am, still standing and probably stronger than before.

What's weird is that I had convinced my mind that this week would be alright. The anniversary of your death would be ok because I've been ok. I don't know why, but I just want to get past it. But my body knew....I've been sooo tired and unmotivated. I haven't wanted to be social. I've been eating terribly and not caring, reverting to how I was a year ago. No matter how I much I had convinced myself that this would all be ok, my body does not believe my brain. It has anticipated this week.

So, I'm surrendering. Trying to stay low-key, taking time to talk to you and remember. Talking to the kids about you a ton. Just wrapping myself in you and how much we love you.

I miss you babe. No matter where I go or what I do, I've come to terms with the fact that I will always miss you.
I love you always and forever.


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