BW-061: Heartache in High Heels: A Career Woman's Guide to Healing and Empowerment after Loss

widow interview Nov 21, 2023

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The Transcript is below.

Content warning: Death.

Meet Heather, a resilient 37-year-old woman who has faced life's challenges with strength and grace. Widowed at 35, she recently marked the three-year anniversary of her late husband's passing. Heather is a devoted mother, proudly donning the title of mom to two children. Her journey includes the loss of her first child at just a month old, adding the role of a grieving mother to her already complex life as a widow.

Burley Recommends

  • holding each other's hands through it and learning that it's okay to spark somebody else's grief. Because you're allowed to talk about yours and if that sparked something in somebody else,
  • express grief openly as a people 
  • Find support 


 ''you have to have some kind of hope even after losing your spouse. It doesn't kill all hope. There's still hope for all of the things that are still to come.''

''grief is a horrible thing, but it's, it's different for everybody, the way it looks for everybody.''

The Brave Widow Community is a place where you can connect with other widows, find hope and healing, and begin to dream again for the future.  Learn more at  

Hey guys, I’m Emily Jones

I was widowed at age 37, one month shy of our 20 year wedding anniversary.  Nathan and I have four beautiful children together.  My world was turned completely upside down when I lost him.  With faith, community, and wisdom from others, I’ve been able to find hope, joy, and dream again for the future.  I want to help others do the same, too!



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Hey, and welcome to episode number 61 of the Brave Widow Show. Today we're gonna be talking with Heather Burley, but before we dive into her story, I just wanted to remind you that we have some pretty cool live events that are coming up. And the one that I wanted to talk to you about today is our widow winter solstice.

Now, this event is the most requested event. Of the year. I've had so many people asking if I'm going to be hosting it again. I have people wanting to join the panel. This is just really a great amazing event made for widows by widows during the holiday time. It's going to be on December 21st at 6pm to 8pm central time, and I would love for you to join us.

Now, if you're on my email list, then you should have received an email already that tells you all about the winter solstice event and how to get signed up and register to [00:01:00] secure your spot. But if not, then you want to be on the email list. So, you know, when the next live events are coming up and the way you can join that is by going to brave widow.

com slash free F R E E. Now what do we do at this Widow Winter Solstice event? I'm so glad you asked. We do all kinds of things. So we have a panel of widows, it's typically four to five widows, that throughout the night they will spend a few minutes tackling your toughest questions, your biggest challenges, things that you want to hear multiple widows weigh in on.

Given their unique experience and their background, we also have music. We have activities where you'll get to reflect and honor your loved one. We have giveaways. We give away books and Amazon gift cards and membership to the brave widow community and all kinds of things that [00:02:00] I think you will absolutely love.

So I hope that you join us. If you haven't registered already, go get signed up. If you want to know how to sign up, then you can join the email list by going to Bravewidow. com slash free. All right, let's jump into Heather's story.


Emily Jones: Welcome to The Brave Widow Podcast. I'm your host, Emily Jones. We help young widows heal their heart, find hope, and dream again for the future.


Emily Jones: Hey, everybody.

Emily: Welcome to another episode of the brave widow show. I'm excited to have Heather with us on the show today to hear her story and some of the wisdom and insight she has to share with us. So Heather, thank you so much for agreeing to come on the show today.

Heather Burley: Thank you so much for having me.

I'm super glad to be here. Yeah, and I don't know about wisdom, but I can fill in some [00:03:00] blank spots and share some of the what's gotten me through. I don't know if it's wisdom or if it's just a matter of. The way I did it, but I'm here to share a story. That's for sure.

Emily Jones: Oh, well, humility too. I love it. So, okay.

Well, why don't you share with our audience, um, a bit about you and your background and then really we can dive into your story, uh, wherever you'd like to start.

Heather Burley: Okay a little bit about me. I'm Heather. I am 37. I was widowed at almost well, I had just turned 35. Well, we just passed the 3 year anniversary of my late husband's death.

I'm a mom. That's. My biggest title of life. I'm a mom of two. My first child, actually I'm a lost mom as well. So my first child passed away when he was a month old. And now I'm a widow too. So I get to wear all sorts of those hats. Yeah. It's I've had a journey [00:04:00] for sure. But I'm a mom. I work in senior living.

I am an assistant executive director and HR and business office manager at an assisted living. Senior living has been my career for about 15 years now. And yeah, I'm just. Do in life as it comes, it doesn't stop.

Emily Jones: Well, tell us a little bit about you and your spouse and, um, how long were you guys married?

And, you know, maybe some of the best things that you just really enjoyed about your relationship.

Heather Burley: So my spouse, his name was Corey, we were together for a total of about eight years, not long enough married for four. Um, we met through Instagram, because you know, why not? And

Emily Jones: okay, so let's see here. So.

Did he just slide up in your dms? Is that what

Heather Burley: it was before dms were even on instagram? So no, he just commented on a picture on several pictures on [00:05:00] my instagram and then asked to take me dancing and that was it. I mean, it didn't take much more than an invitation to go dancing. And that was how we said he was an amazing dancer and that's how we spent our entire relationship.

It was Friday nights going to step it. I mean, that was our thing. We danced through life together. We had three Children together. Like I said, our first son did pass away. Um, that was a huge thing for us. Obviously, it was before we were even married. We're still just dating. Had our first son. He passed away when he was a month old within very quickly.

We then had our daughter. I mean, almost a year later, she was probably Yeah, almost a year later, she was born and we have another sentence. So we had three children together and we just danced through life together. That was my, I say that was my human. Like that [00:06:00] was, that was my person. He was my best friend.

Um, amazing, amazing man. And he is significantly missed. That's for sure.

Emily Jones: Oh, uh, he sounds like a wonderful person and like you guys had such a beautiful relationship and I, I wrote that down. You danced your life together. That's a wonderful sentiment. So what was it like? I can't even fathom. You know, being with someone and then losing a child at one month old, uh, for a lot of couples, sometimes that really tears them apart.


Heather Burley: for like 50 percent of them they lose their relationship after losing a child. I will say for he and I, we turned away for a short period of time where we were both looking for outside help outside of each other. Um, and then it very much became a Come to Jesus conversation, he and I sat down and we're like, okay, this isn't the way this is supposed to happen.

And it was a lot of honest hookah [00:07:00] nights sitting and smoking hookah and just talking and talking about all of the things. And it didn't matter what it was, but we were going to talk about it. And we would sit and talk for hours and yeah, we smoked hookah and had drinks and that's how we got through it is just.

holding each other's hands through it and learning that it's okay to spark somebody else's grief. Because you're allowed to talk about yours and if that sparked something in somebody else, that's okay. Um, knowing that it was okay to trigger one another when it came to grief learning to grieve together and separately and that the journey was different because it always is grief is a horrible thing, but it's, it's different for everybody, the way it looks for everybody.

That was my first real. Learning about real loss. I mean, losing a grandparent isn't the [00:08:00] same. And so having it hit that close to home, it was, it was definitely a shake into reality. And we were young. 30. I might've been, I wasn't even 28 years old, had my first child and then lost my first child.

It was a, it was, it, it was a building block for us and it definitely helped cement what we were already knowing our path was because like I said, at the time we were only dating. Um, I remember when our son was in the hospital, he brought up marriage and I was like, Nope, I will not get married.

Because we have a child, I will not get married because of what's happening. I want it to be because that's what we want. And at that time, I knew it's what we wanted. But I didn't want it to feel rushed because, so I think we took that it's cemented everything for us. I mean, at that point we were already married, um, as far as our hearts and everything.

And then it was probably two [00:09:00] years later, yeah. Two years later that we finally got married and did the whole thing and then four years together as far as marrying and he was, unfortunately he was gone too.

Emily Jones: So having lost your first child, um, together, then did that make you feel differently towards your other children, or did that?


Heather Burley: it made it difficult through the pregnancies were really hard because my pregnancy with our first child was very, very difficult. Um, I had a very traumatic C section emergency section with him. I ended up in ICU because of the blood loss and it was just trauma all around. And then he was born extremely early.

So he was only 27 weeks old or 27 weeks gestation when I had him. So not ready to be in the world. So it made pregnancy look different. And then after my daughter's [00:10:00] pregnancy, that was another hard birth, a hard situation. So by the time our second son, I got pregnant, Corey at the time was like, I don't think I want to have this baby.

Um, it was scary for him because he was afraid he would lose me. And then he was going to be left with our daughter who was only two at the time. And then. If this baby were to be born and healthy, and then I wouldn't be there. That was his fear. And so there was a lot of trying to handle the grief and keep it separate from the new circumstances that were coming up.

I would say my pregnancy with my.

I'm not going to get to bring this baby home. So the connection to the pregnancy was harder. But once you have those babies in your hand, that's it. I love those two kids. That they're the reason I'm still here. I mean, they are. My everything. Oh,

Emily Jones: I love that. So [00:11:00] what, what advice would you give to the person now who maybe they lost their spouse and they're pregnant or they've lost a child previously and now they're, they've tried again or they're anticipating something may happen.

I mean, what, what do you tell them just to get through every day until they can hold that baby in their arms?

Heather Burley: It's it's a struggle and you have to have that internal dialogue to be able to tell yourself it's not the same baby. This isn't the same child. This isn't the same pregnancy. The circumstances are different.

Everything is going to be different because. It's a different time. It's a different place. It's a different baby. Um, and then keep the hope. Hope you have to have some kind of hope even after losing your spouse. It doesn't kill all hope. There's still hope for all of the things that are still to come.

Life is still there. So you just have to keep looking for the life.

Emily Jones: Oh, I love that so much. And you're right. You know, when we [00:12:00] lose our spouse, it's a very dark, dismal place and it is easy to default into thinking like, what's the point? And there's no,

Heather Burley: and I definitely went there. I went to a very dark place, probably.

Six months after Corey passed, I went to a real dark place and I was like, I, I don't, what is this? I don't want to do life like this. This isn't the life that I was supposed to have. And I still say that sometimes, like, this is the life I thought I was getting, like, I got a little on the way I thought life was supposed to go and what it actually looks like.

But you can't lose yourself in that, especially when there's children involved. You look at those kids, that's still a piece of your spouse. So whenever I'm like, how am I going to do this? I look at my son now and I'm like, okay, well, that's why I do it. You know, he's every bit of his dad and still every piece of me.

And that's my, why, if I ever questioned, well, why am I still doing this? Well, [00:13:00] that's my, why, because those are little pieces of him still right here, got to find the hope. And you've got to find the, what is your, why mine became my kids. Is that always great? Every mom says that, but is it always the best?

No, but that, that's what got me through is I was doing it for them. So if I wasn't going to do it for me, I was going to do it for them because they still deserve every bit of everything.

Emily Jones: Yeah, they do. And I think sometimes, you know, people debate back and forth. Is it easier because you had kids and they give you your, why is it harder because you just want to grieve and you don't want other little people to have to take care of, and then.

You know, they have their own grieving. So even though I, I'm sure that they're young, I'm sure that brings its own unique challenges. So what have your thoughts been on how you explain things and how you

Heather Burley: have to be so careful. I just had to explain this weekend. I never use the term passed away with my kids and their dad, your dad [00:14:00] died.

Um, why? My why to not say passed away to them is it makes it sound really gentle. Nothing about that felt gentle. We woke up one morning a happy family and a few hours later I got a call. He's not coming home. That was, ah, trauma. Um, but it was not gentle. And I think as a people, we try to make things sound more gentle and try to make it more gentle for our little people.

Um, but it wasn't that, and I don't, I don't want to take that away from them. It wasn't a gentle thing. It wasn't an easy thing. But we'll get through it. My kids still, there's a random time where they'll come up and I miss daddy. Sometimes that just punches you in the gut like, and I told my son like he'll come up.

I miss my daddy. I do too. Do you want to look at pictures? what can we do to help in this moment? It's harder because[00:15:00] you can't grieve in front of your kids fully. Um, they need to see that grief and all of those things happen, but to do it. I wanted to throw myself on the floor and just I, but I couldn't because I'm trying to teach a four year old to, to not do that.

So it's, um, it's hard and it's. It's, it's a jungle. It's your, you're avoiding and trying to plan and how you're going to move. And it's, it's not fun, but it's, it's doable.

Emily Jones: It is. And you're right. It's such a fine balance of you want your kids to know that grieving is okay and that you don't have to pretend.

You know, that everything's fine and you not grieving, but you also feel a little bit of restraint, like you don't want them to feel like mom's gone off the cliff and, you know, it's just despair.

Heather Burley: And then for my children, especially like my children are extremely empathic if mom's feeling it, they feel it.

So if I'm [00:16:00] crying. Chances are, especially my daughter, she's going to end up crying too, or she'll see me crying. Is it because you miss daddy? And then it triggers for her and then she misses daddy. And it it's, it's a process and it's, it's. Puzzle pieces constantly and moving this to get this there.

And that it's a, it's definitely a journey. And it's, I said, it's a jungle. If you're avoiding things all the time and it's okay, let's take this path. Okay. Well, that one didn't work. Let's back out and let's try this. And it's all a learning process. I'm still learning through it. I mean, having your kids go to school and then The questions and the well, where's your dad or or when they're drawing a picture where your dad's supposed to be.

And why is your dad in a cloud? And, you know, your kids don't understand because we don't. express grief openly as a people. We don't teach these things from childhood. And so kids just learn it tiny by [00:17:00] tiny as they see it happen in their own lives. And I mean, my son's four. Four year olds don't know. Most of them still haven't even lost grandparents.

So they, they have no concept. And then here my son is, he's so open about it and he goes in and he'll talk and he's proud about it. And I'm so glad because he talks about his brother and he talks, I have a big brother and I have my dad and nobody can tell him he doesn't have a dad. He knows he has a dad.

He's just doesn't get to be here. But man, big concepts for little humans. So you just got to, you just got to support it and watch them grow it how they need to. Because the way my son does it is very much like, this is My dad and this is my brother and, but my daughter is much different about it.

She's a lot quieter about it. And while my dad's in heaven it's, um, it's a more gentle thing for her. It's not something that she just wants everybody to know. And it's harder for her to explain. And so it's seeing it in two [00:18:00] different little people and how they carry it.

It's a journey. And it's a hard part of it is to see your kids have to grieve, man it makes it hard, but you know,

Emily Jones: Yeah, it, it does. And I love that you just talk so openly with them about it and you don't sugarcoat it. And it's just reality. I feel like for my family as well, I have four, so it's been very healing and just, it normalizes it, right?

Heather Burley: Yeah, because it is your norm that that's for us, for our families. That's part of our normal, knowing that loss happens is part of it. Um, knowing that death happens, it's sometimes I feel like I have to excuse it for my kids because when they're talking to somebody, they'll ask, well, is your dad alive?

Because for them, their normal is. Dad's not. I mean, my son lost his dad when he was two. He doesn't know. He remembers his dad from the pictures. He remembers because we talk about him. We, we keep the memories alive, but he doesn't actually [00:19:00] remember for him. His normal is. My dad died. And so his question to people isn't, well, what does your dad do is, is your dad alive?

But that's, it's just the way it looks for him. So you've just got to build them up to be confident enough to have that. Like I tell my son all the time, you can talk about your dad whenever you want, however you want to, whoever you want. And if they have questions, you can answer their questions.

If you don't know the answers, you can tell them. You have to ask my mom. I don't know. And that's okay too. You know, it's just, I, I've tried to teach them that it's not something to be ashamed of, as much as we feel like it's a dirty word, like I'm only 37 years old telling people I'm a widow, man, that's not a fun conversation.

It feels so horrible, especially that I live in. I mean, I work in senior living. And so I have residents that are just becoming widows. And it's like, I know a little bit, I can talk to you about it. Like, and they're like, wait, but you're so [00:20:00] young. Well, that it happens young too. . It's just it just happens when it happens.

I didn't choose it. Like I, I didn't choose widow life, but here I am.

Emily Jones: Yeah. Yeah. It, and then it is one of those things you just don't hear about, because you're right. Culturally, we don't educate on loss. We don't educate on grief. We don't know how to handle it. And so. We end up getting misunderstood and, and not feeling as supported and, uh, not having that awareness, like you said,

Heather Burley: that you feel so alone when it happens.

And you're like, I am the only person that has ever lost somebody this young. And I remember that when I first, and I, I, even within weeks of losing Corey, I remember telling my mom, like, I'm never going to own a home. But I'm like, I'm never going to own a home cause now I'm doing this all by myself and this is not,

. I'm never going to do these things that are so normal because it's not, I don't have the normal. Um, but like I said, I'm three [00:21:00] years into this journey and I'm now realizing that my normal is just going to look a little bit different, but I can still do all the things. Okay.

You know, I still, I am 100 percent a career woman. I am at work now. Um, this is just part of me is I'm a career woman, but I'm now a single mom and that's a whole nother part of it. And I've, I've got this label that I'm a widow and I'm, I wear it proudly. It's like a badge of honor because it's just another thing that I've, I'm overcoming.

It's not an end all for the spouse. It feels like it at first and it feels like, okay, well now life is over and my life is going to be completely different, but it's just a little reshaped.

Emily Jones: So for somebody who's listening to you right now and they're thinking they're in those first few months and they've got little kids and they're thinking, I don't want to do this.

I don't know how I'm going to do this. How do they get from that to feeling where you are, that there's hope again, that they can find happiness, [00:22:00] that there can be, you know, a happy ending to their life and their story and their life isn't over what, what was some of the most helpful things for you in getting there?

Heather Burley: I dove into being a mom. I dove headfirst into those kids and making sure that we were doing all of the things. My kids and I started taking walks. Long walks, we would find trails. I would drive an hour just because there was a park with a really good trail. And we would go walk that trail and that is still something we do to this day.

Almost every single weekend. It's let's get the dog. Let's go to the park. Let's go walk next to the link. Let's go look for turtles. Let we found things that was were for us. And it was new because it's not something that we did with their dad. So if something that was ours and we just kind of took it and went I would say that was one of the best things I did is we just started finding our new things that were ours.[00:23:00]

So this is our thing and now it's okay. We're gonna do it and we call it Burley early last name, Burley. So we do everything really early. My kids get up early in the morning 'cause they're still young and they don't know the difference of a weekend yet, . And so we get up super early in the morning and it's Burley early and we're early and we're up and we're out of the house at like 7:00 AM and we're taking walks and we live in Houston.

It's hot here. We didn't care. It's we found something that was good for us and it was good for us on so many levels. I mean, you know, it's healthy. But we found those things and just Dove into him. But I think my biggest thing was is I didn't even take a long time off. I think I only took two weeks off of work when Corey died.

And then I dove right back in. Um, I just, I just headfirst it right back into life. That was the way I did it. Is that going to be right for everybody? Probably not. But that's the way I did it. I live 1800 miles away from anybody in my family. So I don't have[00:24:00] my immediate support system right here.

So I dove into the kids and we just. Started to build a life again, um, find your support system and lean on who you can lean on. And if you have nobody else, call me, look me up. I'm on Instagram. I'm on Facebook. I'm around. I just think you've just got to dive back in. That's the way I did it. And it, and it worked for us.

Was it perfect and shiny and pretty every time? Gosh, no, there are times that I still look back at it. I'm like, wow, you really should have taken more time. Heather. Like, you really should have taken at least a month. I could have. I could have taken more time. Was I being rushed back to work? No, I could have.

But it was what I needed to do for me at the time is I had to create that new normal. You, you've got to, you've got to make your world again. And the longer that you let it feel shattered, it's going to feel shattered. And there's nobody going to pick up your pieces for you. [00:25:00] I mean, I know some people probably have amazing support systems that rally around and help build their life back up, but that's not reality for everybody.

It wasn't my reality. I had to put it back together.

Emily Jones: Yeah, I, yeah, I went back I think the week after the funeral or maybe a week or two after and, um, same thing, I think part of it was it's part of our blood, right? When you work in an office and that kind of setting for so many years, it's very strange not being there.

Not to do it. Yeah, your life just got. Your life just completely imploded. And so you're looking for a way to feel normal, a way to get your mind busy and on other things. And it's hard to know, 'cause I'm like you, there are times I look back and like, well, that was helpful, and also, I wish I would've taken a little bit more time or maybe intermittent time or something.


Heather Burley: Yeah. To be able to have those breaks. Yeah. I dove right back in and there are times that I look back now and I'm like, what were you thinking? I broke my foot within. Two [00:26:00] weeks of Corey dying. Um, and we lived in a two story. So I had two kids in a two story by myself. It was a lot. I had a lot going on.

But for me, getting back into making a routine and trying to have a normal was the way I got through it. It was just about persevering. Like I had to push through. Um, and so I did. And that that was What did it for me? Um, like I said, we moved within months. He passed in august and we were in a new home by november.

Because I couldn't be in that home anymore. Um, I couldn't go back. So me and the kids stayed in a hotel for A good while. Um, just because I, I couldn't. Um, and I think that that's something that people have to realize too. It's okay to have those limits for yourself and say, you know what, I'm not going to sleep in that bed again.

I can't, I just can't. And that's, that's allowed. And [00:27:00] you need to allow yourself to have that. I didn't even move myself out of our place. I sent my sister to do it for me. I flew her in from California to Texas to help me move. And by help me move, I fully meant. Okay. You're going to go move me and I'm going to sit right here and I went to the new house with my kids and her kids and we waited and she got us out of there and I sent movers to help but I couldn't do it.

And thank God I had a little sister that was willing to help me with that and do that and she did that assignment for me and it was what I needed. I needed to, to create a new normal and that's the only way I knew how to do it. Um, so I always tell people ask, like, well, how did you end up in this house?

It was a trauma move. I fully just, I needed something and this was here and I got approved and I got it and I'm in and that's where we've been. Um, I'm just now getting to the point where me and the kids are starting to talk about, well, we could get something different. And I'm like, well, this little house has [00:28:00] been what we needed it to be when we needed it to be.

But now it may be, we can find something that we actually. Pick, you know, maybe we actually like it. It's not just a this is here and we've got it and we're going to go. Um, but it was for me, it was about doing the things. Right. I just had to do them. It was not about stopping or allowing myself that break.

I, I had to, I needed things to get back to a normal for my own mentality. And so that's what I did. I probably didn't start like a true grieving process until four or five months. Because I wasn't slowing down enough to let myself, um, because I did just jump right back in. But that was, that was the best thing for me and my kids is to jump back into a life.

And then it was like, okay, wait, what just happened? Like, what's going on? And it feels like a whirlwind, but I don't. I definitely [00:29:00] don't regret it because I know looking back on it now, if, if I hadn't have done those moves, I don't know where, how it would have ended up, you know, if I would have tried to stay in the home or all of that, I can't say that it would have looked the same at the end of three years.

Emily Jones: Right. Well, and I think everybody feels so differently. You know, some people can't stand the thought of leaving and then other people don't ever want to go back. So I think it's, you know, really up to each person

Heather Burley: and you have to do what, what feels right for you. And if it, what feels right is I need to be in all of the things, then you do that because that's what's best.

I just know that we have to, Everybody has to be able to say what they need and it's going to be okay, whatever it looks like, and it doesn't matter what you think everybody else is thinking on the outside. Do what feels right for you, because in the end, it's going to be the only thing that helps you get through it.

Um, none of those people are going to feel what you're feeling. So you, what you have to do to take care of you at that [00:30:00] time, even if it feels like, am I supposed to do this? Like, is this what it's supposed to look like? Probably not, but there's not a guidebook. At least not a good one. So we, there's not a roadmap there.

We're not given instructions like there has been died. So here, this is what you do next. I remember the first call I made was to my dad and I said, what do I do? My dad said, I don't know. I've never been through this, but I'll come hold your hand. And that was the realist answer anybody could have given me because nobody in my life was a widow.

I mean, my. My mom and dad were divorced, but they're both still alive. And so they had never done anything this big. They both still had their parents at that time. So they had never done anything that big. But here I was, I had already buried a child. And so I was looking at now burying a husband. I, I was like, wait, how, where, who, who do I ask how to do this?

But they're I mean, thankfully we have things like this [00:31:00] and I was able to find some online groups and get involved that way and to find people that I, that understood but there's not a guidebook. So you just have to take care of you the best way you can in a horrible situation.

Emily Jones: And that's exactly why I started brand new widow, because I could not find a good resource or a guide or.

Even the community was kind of tricky of, of people that understood, especially young widows

Heather Burley: young. Yeah. I mean, people that are dealing with it at a young age with young kids it's a different world than talking to somebody who was with their husband for 20 something years. I wish. I wish I had that story, but that's not what mine looked like.

So it's, it doesn't, no, you don't want this for anybody else, but it does feel better when you realize, oh, there's people that understand what I'm going through. Cause they've got little ones running around screaming too. And they're trying to deal with all of this at the same [00:32:00] time. It makes it a little bit easier to, to find resources like this and be able to say, oh, okay.

Well, maybe it is doable. Maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel. It's not just a tunnel.

Emily Jones: Yeah. Yeah. Totally agree. So I have another question for you being a career woman. Uh, I hear often from widows and I did this myself, but we tend to change careers or change positions or think about work differently.

Did you experience the same?

Heather Burley: Yeah, so I, um, Cory passed in August in January. I lost my job. Totally deserved it. They needed to fire me. I really made one of those like real big mess ups where you just have to say, okay, I deserve that one. So they had to let me go. I know the faces that I was looking at, they felt so horrible knowing what I was dealing with and then [00:33:00] having to turn me, but I deserved it.

They needed to do that. And so I lost my job and then I was stuck with. What am I going to do now? I've got these kids to feed. I'm on my own. Now I'm in another house. Like, what, how are we going to do this? Um, so I reworked my resume and completely switched, not the career field, the route that I was going.

Um, and that worked for me. I, I found another job. Doing business office management in senior living. Um, and at the time, I was more on the scheduling staffing HR side. Now, I do both now. I'm business office and HR. And so it, it, it took a different path for a little bit. But I also was able to, because I focused on something different, I was able to grow my income and what I was making.

And so it made a huge impact on how I got to where I'm [00:34:00] at now. I mean, I'm thankful that change happened. I'm thankful I lost that job. It was a great job. I love the people I worked with, but I'm glad they terminated me because it was the wake up call. I needed to, to find something else. And it worked.

Great for me.

Emily Jones: So you aren't even sure you're going to be talking about wisdom here, but I think that's very very. Uh, humility driven and wise to be able to say, you know, that probably was the best thing that needed to happen for me. And yeah, I messed up and that's, you know, it was good people. It's just a bad thing that happened.

And now I'm on a great,

Heather Burley: I made a big mistake and I deserved to get terminated for the mistake I made. But looking back at it. It wasn't a horrible outcome. I, they needed to fire me. If they wouldn't have fired me, it would have been for pity. And I don't, I'm not somebody don't give me pity. Nobody should pity me for my story or for what I've been through.

Because I don't, I [00:35:00] shouldn't be pitied. I'm okay. Life is okay. I mean, I, I'm skeptical to say life is good because you know, there's always things, but I'm doing it still. I'm doing this. So we're making it and it's not pretty all the time, but you get through it and you make your way.

And if you keep that in mind that you're, you, I'm not allowed to lose. If I lose, my kids lose and they're not allowed to lose, so I'm not allowed to lose. Um, so I've just gotta, I just gotta keep going.

Emily Jones: Well, Heather, thank you so much for coming on today and sharing your story and just being very open about your life and, um, looking forward to just some good things in store for you and your family in the


Heather Burley: Thank you very much. I very much enjoyed it. Thank you for visiting with me today.


Emily Jones: Hey guys. Thank you so much for listening to the Brave Widow Podcast. I would love to help you [00:36:00] take your next step, whether that's healing your heart, finding hope, or achieving your dreams for the future.

Do you need a safe space to connect with other like-minded widows? Do you wish you had how-tos for getting through the next steps in your journey, organizing your life or moving through grief? What about live calls where you get answers to your burning questions? The Brave Widow Membership Community is just what you need.

Inside you'll find courses to help guide you, a community of other widows to connect with, live coaching and Q and a calls, and small group coaching where you can work on what matters most to you. Learn how to heal your heart, find hope, reclaim joy, and dream again for the future. It is possible. Head on over to brave to learn more. [00:37:00]