Waterproof Mascara and the Celebration of Life

Layla Beth Munk
5 min readFeb 4, 2021

The morning of February 21st, 2018, I awoke with a panic.

I hadn’t been sleeping well anyway due to reasons that will soon be clear, but this particular day started out with me worrying about the strangest thing:

I had no waterproof mascara.

Just ten days prior, on February 11, I was admitted into a very special, not-exclusive-at-all club. This is a club that most everyone who is in a committed relationship, married or otherwise coupled, will eventually have to join.

I’m talking about The Widowhood Club.

I was only 43 years old on that cold, dreary day when Bret, my beloved yet complex husband of nearly twelve years, ended his life.

As I fell to the ground wanting to join him, I wondered how I would ever laugh or even smile, again. The tears wouldn’t stop falling, and my body physically hurt, like I had been in some kind of accident.

The only sounds I could make were curse words, and I think over the course of the next year, I would say them all, repeatedly, and maybe even invent new ones.

Widowhood pretty much has its own language, and it’s usually very colorful.

Over the days following Bret’s death, my usual coping mechanism of dark humor and sarcasm started to emerge. I realize that not everyone will understand this behavior.

I am in no way suggesting that all grieving people should adopt my way of cracking inappropriate jokes and swearing; what works for me, might not work for another.

Honestly though, long before I became widowed, I was always the girl who said what everyone else was thinking, but were just too afraid to say it.

There is something, though, about your spouse dying that helps rid one’s self of any lingering filter…and truthfully, a lot of people actually expect the bereaved to say something shocking. We are in pain! We should be able to say what we want, right?

I soon started documenting my experiences on social media, letting all of my conflicting feelings out. I wove together, sarcasm, shock, sadness and more, letting anyone who dared follow me online in on every feeling or thought.

This often times yielded more laughs than even I expected. Making other people laugh began helping me heal, as did revealing my vulnerable side through…

Layla Beth Munk

Tattooed, sarcastic, suicide widow, free-range parenting mother of two. She/Her #TheSnarkyWidow