My name is Deborah Tainsh. I live in Panama City Beach, Florida and I became a widow on December 23, 2014, the day following my 31st wedding anniversary. I was 60 years old.  My late husband was 5 days short of turning 70. I had to sign his death warrant, his DNR, and allow high doses of morphine to ease his pain and the filling of his lungs with water due to stage 4 lung and brain cancer, COPD, and emphysema that had taken over his body in just a few short months. Not even a career U.S. Marine who had served in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War could outrun such illness.

This was the second greatest tragedy of my life.  Our oldest son, Sgt Patrick Tainsh, had been killed in action in Iraq, February 11, 2004.  My family had decreased to me and my one other child, another grown son, Phillip, who lived four hours away.  And I had no grandchildren.

Grief definitely had a way of following me. I thought I had learned all I needed to know about the stages of grief and understanding the emotional roller coaster ride after our son’s death.  But what I learned is that the grief involved with the death of a child and that of a spouse that you live with day in and day out, who is your friend, lover, and confidante are two very different depths of loss and grieving.  At least after Patrick’s death in Iraq my husband, Dave, and I had one another to cling to and find ways to connect to other parents and provide support to them, and find ways together to honor the memory of Patrick’s life. But with Dave gone, after everyone left the chapel and returned to their lives, I was left to return to an empty home where my husband’s illness and death had left me with only the most empty feeling of my life and never ending dark nights as I lay curled up on the sofa where I barely slept in restless dreams. And although the deaths of both a son and husband left me with the great question of “Where Do I Go From Here?,” the death of my husband caused that question to be the most difficult to answer.

As of this writing, it has been two years since Dave transitioned. And my desire is to write posts on this blog to share my personal experiences and that of others who have struggled with becoming a widow and the question of “Where Do I Go From Here?” and with time successfully found answers in the aftermath of the death of their spouse, their friend, lover, and confidante.

It is my hope that just as I have found help from the writing of others such as Michelle of One Fit Widow blog, that my sharing as an older widow will be helpful to someone

Locate my books:  Heart of a Hawk: One family’s sacrifice & journey toward healing  AND Surviving the Folded Flag: Parents of war share stories of coping, courage, and faith at  or

Love’s Return @


2 thoughts on “About Me: Widow, Author, Speaker, Writing Workshop Facilitator

  1. I feel like your writing my story. Our oldest son was killed shortly before returning to Iraq in 2008. This past November I lost my husband of 31 years to cancer. It is so true that when our son was killed we had each other to lean on. We have two other children but I do my best not to burden them as they too have lost their brother and now their dad. Even though I know my husband is in a better place I miss him more then I can say.


    1. Oh my dear Susan, thank you for sharing. my heart breaks for you as I do understand the depths of grief you carry. I have tried not to place any burden on my only child for as you stated our other children deal with their own grief, but we do share stories of both our loved ones. My greatest joy is when he calls just to say he loves me and is thinking of me. The loss of your husband has been so soon and that new grief is so fresh. I am here if you need a shoulder. Prayers for peace. Love and hugs, Deborah


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