I sit at the cemetary on a cold day, waiting to live out the word chosen for this next year:  OPEN.

I wait, unsure if I can follow through. Caught between stuck and fear. Yet, I know it is time.

I remember the times I ran my hands through his hair. On car rides, I’d rub the back of his head while driving, fingers running through in times of intimacy, the occasional head massage he insisted wasn’t long enough.

A small piece has been held in a sealed container since the day I cut it. The day before he died.

His smell still contained.

Trapped in time.

I look around, making sure no one is looking, as I open the lid and lean in to take one last deep breath.

Running the small piece through my fingers, gently I release the strands and watch as they blend with the dormant grass.

Gone. For good.

Interesting, I cry before, but upon release, I feel slight relief.


It is not good to hold on this way, as it holds me back. It seals my own fate, stuck in the pain, afraid to move forward as if holding the remnant will tangibly keep him with me somehow.

Here’s the thing, he is here. His voice still speaks within, as if conversing through an internal portal that unlocks past conversations that speak directly to me today. His imprint is everywhere, even things like paying bills, I continue on long after his tutorial, as if he is right beside me.

I won’t lose him when I allow my heart to open again.

Maybe to a new position.

Maybe a new love.

Who knows.

I want to be open though, not sealed in protection, afraid to live and love because she’s been hurt. That’s not living. People I’ve met after Bill died, I say things like, “If you only knew me before.”

Yes, I am different. Not all bad though.

Those close to me I love deeper, lean in longer, hold tighter. 

Yet underneath there is a girl wanting, hoping to be open again to adventure, to dreams just out of eyeshot.

I guess this is why OPEN seems an appropriate word to encompass all I desire around unknown corners and new beginnings.

What about you…do you have a word, desire or dream you’d like to lean into?


  1. Tracey McManus on January 4, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    Well said. Your God gift of the written word speaks as my heart would wish to say. Bless your open journey moving forward to new. -Tracey

    • Josette Barone on January 4, 2021 at 10:29 pm

      Thank you Tracey. It is a hard journey isn’t it? How are you? I hate asking that question, but I hope you know what I mean by it. It will be four years this April, and it feels like forever, and just yesterday. Are you in San Antonio?

  2. Tanya Haselhuhn on January 5, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    Lord, help this beautiful writer, this amazing women, to open herself up to pain, risk, love, adventure, all that You have for her. I know this future life You have for her will take her breath away.
    In Jesus’ Name Amen
    Love you Josie ❤️

  3. Julie on January 5, 2021 at 3:03 pm

    My darling sister, your strength is in your willingness to open your heart, mind and soul. God has an amazing future for you and although you don’t know yet what that encompasses, He does! I am blessed to have you as my mentor. I may not be traveling the same road as you, but I take cues from you to live out my life to the fullest. You inspire people from all walks of life. There is freedom in opening a new chapter of your life. I love you!

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