Michele Neff Hernandez Keynote

Michele Neff Hernandez, executive director for Soaring Spirits International.

If you’ve followed this blog for a while you may remember that I’ve spoken at a couple of Camp Widow® programs. They are amazing gatherings of widowed people who want to focus on moving forward in their lives while honoring their spouses who have passed.


Carrie West, Ph.D. is a young widow who regularly speaks at these programs on the topic of resilience. She’s on the board of Soaring Spirits International (SSI) which produces Camp Widow® and she’s an assistant professor at Schreiner University.

Dr. West approached the university about conducing a research project which involved collecting data from the widowed people who attend the programs.

Soaring Spirits International (SSI) and opened the Soaring Spirits Resilience Center at Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas on Friday, October 20th. The center will provide practical tools based on her resilience research to the population of widowed people who are working through grief.

The Resilience Center, the first center of its kind in the U.S., will focus primarily on grief and resilience.

“Our hope is that through the Center a variety of grieving populations will be served; and that the Center’s resources and tools for building resilience through any of life’s challenges will benefit Schreiner students, as well as the broader community,” said Michele Neff Hernandez, executive director for Soaring Spirits International.

If you or someone you know is recently widowed there are free resources available at www.SoaringSpirits.org.

What about you?

  • Have you found yourself more resilient than you expected while grieving?
  • Do you have tips to share with others?
  • Do you need some resources to help you get through the day?



As always, you can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or at www.MyraMcElhaney.com. My memoir, Building A Life You Love After Losing the Love of Your Life is available on Amazon.com or you can contact me at Myra@MyraMcElhaney.com for a signed, personalized copy.





What looks like courage...Today I was talking with a friend about something we both want to do. I openly admitted to her that I’m afraid. Terrified is more like it.

I felt vulnerable admitting that. She’s already making strides and moving forward. I don’t like being seen as weak, wimpy or as someone who gives up easily. I wasn’t sure how my confession would go over. Read the rest of this entry »

Two widows walk into a hotel…

Sounds like the start of a joke, right? No joke here.

Hope quote - Myra.pngWhen Michele Neff Hernandez was widowed as a young woman she started Camp Widow™ and Soaring Spirits International so other widows, of any age, would have a place to focus on rebuilding their lives. Carrie West, another young widow was doing her Ph.D. research on resilience so the two teamed up. Read the rest of this entry »

Reading Sandberg's book.jpgI’ve started reading Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy.” You likely remember that Sandberg, COO at Facebook and author of Lean In lost her husband Dave suddenly a couple years ago.

Her title comes from a conversation with a friend where when she said, “But I want Dave!” Her friend replied, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of Option B.” Read the rest of this entry »

Michele Neff Hernandez Keynote

Michele Neff Hernandez giving Keynote for Camp Widow, Tampa

For National Women’s Month I want to tell you about an inspirational widow who had turned her sorrow into something amazing!


Michele Neff Hernandez was a young woman with three children when her husband, Phil was tragically killed while out riding his bicycle in 2005. When she couldn’t find a community of people like her who could offer understanding and support she created one. A big one! Read the rest of this entry »

Have you started dating since losing your spouse?

Book coverHere’s an excerpt from my book, Building A Life You Love After Losing the Love of Your Life about my first date after the loss of my husband.

The Perfect First Date

About two years after Phil passed I had my first date. At least I thought it was a date. Read the rest of this entry »

(The following is an excerpt from my memoir, “Building A Life You Love After Losing the Love of Your Life,” published in 2016, six years after losing my husband, Phil to a brain tumor.) Book cover

I have always been philosophical, looking for meaning and purpose in life and its events. I study life. Phil lived life. He didn’t try to analyze it.  That was one of the attributes I loved most about him.  Maybe that’s why I’m the one left behind– to analyze, to reflect upon the deeper learning.

About a month before Phil died he was in neuro-ICU Read the rest of this entry »

Meredith Grey“You’re no longer a widow.” Dr. Meredith Grey’s therapist said to her a few episodes ago on the popular TV show, Grey’s Anatomy. “You’re married to a dead man.”

Is Shonda Rhimes reading my book? I have a chapter called, “Married to a Dead Man.” Read the rest of this entry »

Camp WidowWhen Michele Neff Hernandez was widowed at a young age and couldn’t find a community of widows who wanted to focus on moving forward she created one. From that first, small gathering of widows and widowers Camp Widow® has grown into three weekend long events. Read the rest of this entry »

RosePhil always brought me a dozen roses on Valentine’s Day. Brought. They weren’t delivered. He thought that was too extravagant. Every Valentine’s Day he would stop by the grocery store on his way home and pick up a dozen roses. I’d make dinner. We’d exchange cards and have a romantic evening at home.

The first Valentine’s Day after he passed Read the rest of this entry »