23 April 2017

Who are you traveling with?

A number of fellow travelers accompanied me through this week. And I’m pretty sure—based on the therapeutic sheer pleasure of hanging out with them—I’m much healthier than when the week began.

There was the cancer-kicking, wilderness-hiking posse at our season opener: Six gentle miles along the Metolius River.


Photo credit: Mike Gibson


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14 April 2017

Where is Hubby when I need him?!

Last evening, the rain stopped; the Pacific waves were calm; and just before the sun went to bed, she gave one final brilliant show. All for my enjoyment while standing at the window of my cute little vacation rental.

Pacific view from my window


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10 April 2017

Brave-making ventures: Success and failure

It’s gorgeously stormy and gray out. I can hear the pound of the Pacific, even though this tiny quaint vacation rental with its hardwood floors and stone fireplace is shut up tightly against the rain.

My husband, Gary, and I loved coming to the Oregon coast. I haven’t been back since he died, but it’s been on my brave-making list. And so, here I am.

Hubby’s hairstyle designed by chemo


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26 March 2017

43 highly effective self-care tips

Self-care was something I didn’t do well in the final months of my husband’s life. Because I could do it all myself. Because I didn’t want to bother other people. Because self-care sounds rather selfish, self-centered, self-conscious.

But it’s not. Self-care is simply seeing to our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health so we can better care for others.


Photo credit: Unsplash


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6 February 2017

Widowhood: 5 mistakes I’ll never make again

Too bad it sometimes takes losing something of unspeakable value to appreciate what we had; that it takes mistakes to teach us some of life’s most critical lessons.


Photo credit: Kattaryna Stiles


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25 December 2016

5 life observations on this Christmas Day

While heartless unfeeling inconsiderate friends continue sending photos of piles of snow back home, I’m spending Christmas in New Jersey where there is no fluffy white stuff adorning the landscape.

But there’s been plenty of playing, laughing, squealing, listening to Christmas music, gift-giving, nerf gun wars, good eating, Chai tea sipping, Lego building, book reading going on here in Jersey.



Photo credit: Doug Oines


Which has contributed to 5 observations on important life issues this Christmas:

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18 December 2016

6 gifts to give yourself this holiday season

Christmas in New Jersey and I have the grands all to myself for a few days while The Parents meet up with The Aunt & Uncle in a place that involves sunglasses, fun T-shirts and odd-looking ears (hint: Orlando).


Photo credit: Unsplash


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24 November 2016

Top 14 arguments for why you are needed

This is a revisitation of a blog I posted a year ago during the holiday season, which — as you know — can be a no-tidings-of-great-joy time of year. Especially if you’ve lost something of infinite value.

Like your health. Or you’re dealing with the aftermath of cancer, or financial reversals.

Or you’ve lost that most perfect astonishing, believer-in-your-dreams, would-do-anything-for-you, would-go-anywhere-with-you person in your life.



Photo courtesy of Unsplash


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23 October 2016

You are missing from me

Dear Gary —

One of the tools from a widow grief class was letter-writing, beginning with these words: “My favorite memory of you is …” The problem with that: There are so many favorite memories of you. In fact, there are entire categories of memories.

Being the overly efficient person you married, here are some of my favorite memories. By category. And alphabetized. Just for the fun of it.



Dear Gary …


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22 September 2016

Top Ten things I miss about you

Tomorrow is the second wedding anniversary without Hubby, and there is still so much I miss about being married to him. So much.




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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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