7 January 2018

How to be a world-changer

My young friend, Charity, is a world-changer. But she doesn’t know it.

Charity is facing the one-year anniversary of the day her husband and young son were swept out to sea by a sneaker wave on the Oregon coast. January 15. But wait until you hear what she’s accomplished, despite dealing with the most horrific experience of her life.


My world-changing friend, Charity


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3 December 2017

Thriving through the holidays with loss

This is my favorite time of year. Nearby mountains cloaked in winter white, gaggles of geese discussing where to winter, family and friends gathering and giving thanks and eating way too much pie and lighting menorah candles and decking the halls and welcoming in a New Year.


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


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19 November 2017

What are we doing for Family Day?

It all started with a simple question from Godfrey, my middle-born Ugandan grandson: “What are we doing for Family Day?”

Which got his parents thinking and planning, which prompted a FaceTime call Friday afternoon: We’re at the park. Releasing balloons to Grandpa.  


Photo: Pixabay


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17 November 2017

Why grief isn’t a linear process

November is one of my favorite months — what with autumn color skittering across the sidewalks, and chillier temps that beg for scarves and mittens and boots, and the promise of upcoming family holidays.

It’s also the month my husband, Gary, died.


Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash


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15 November 2017

What to do when the gifts are too generous

“Mom, people want to help,” admonished our daughter, Summer, visiting from New Jersey. “And they want to do it in meaningful ways.”


Photo by John-Mark Kuznietsov on Unsplash


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12 November 2017

How to manage fear when cancer shows up

For some people, the unknown carries anticipation. A job transition, for example, that could mean new opportunity, new friends, a new community, the excitement of pushing away from the dock and pursuing far-reaching, blustery adventures.

For others, the unknown causes anxiety. Leaving the safety of the familiar shore, being swept out into uncharted waters.


Photo by Daniel Delle Donne on Unsplash


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29 October 2017

What mismatched socks taught me about living

My husband, Gary, and I were back in Hospice House after breaking out for two weeks. Love found us there, because there is no hiding from love.

Visitors, food, chai tea in cheery red cups, gift baskets. And these groovy mismatched socks with the manufacturer’s tag that read, “Life’s too short to wear matching socks.”


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13 October 2017

8 tried-and-true beauty secrets

If we’ve lost something of incredible value — our health, a way of life, someone who is precious beyond words — then it’s important to grieve. To take our time and grieve in our own way.

At some point, though, it will be to our advantage and good health to set aside our sorrow and take a stab at living again. And while we’re learning to live again, see if we don’t become more attractive in the process.


Photo by Caique Silva on Unsplash


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8 October 2017

How to experience peace in sorrow

Not too long ago, I stumbled across an email sent in November 2014 as an update to our kids and siblings two weeks before my husband, Gary died:

“We’re home from Hospice House,” I wrote. “Gary’s still pretty sharp, his sense of humor is still intact, but there’s been quite a bit of change in the past week.”


Photo by boram kim on Unsplash


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3 September 2017

17 things I lost when Hubby died

A blog reader recently sent email about his wife who died too quickly after a cancer diagnosis. “I was unprepared and now alone. My awesome wife and friend … was now missing from my life,” he wrote.


Photo: Gary Johnson


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About Me

Hello, my name is Marlys Johnson. I’m a cancer widow, author, speaker and blogger. I love getting outdoors; would rather lace up hiking boots than go shopping. I have a passion for repurposing old junk into cool new stuff. And an even greater passion for showing people how to navigate life’s challenges. Tenaciously. And with heart wide open.

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