Monday. Monday’s come and go but this ordinary Monday would forever change the destination I was bound for.

Six months after my son had left for the Navy. A year after my scare with breast cancer. Mark was 53 and I was 50. It was the day that forever changed the way I would look at life and live. It was Monday.

Just 40 minutes after Mark had left for a run, I heard the door open, then this loud bump and a grunt. I went into the kitchen to discover Mark in convulsions, blue, fingers curled up.I called 911 and tried to give CPR but I was stuck in shock. The ambulance got there and worked on him. They finally put him on a stretcher and told me to follow them to the hospital. I asked, “Is he going to be ok?” They said, “Ma’am, he’s not breathing on his own, but we will do the best we can. I drove to the hospital in a daze, and they took me to that damn sitting area, where I had been once before – with a friend who had lost her mom. That’s the “It’s over room”. They took you there when there was no more hope.

My husband, 53 years old, was gone.

The time was short between adjusting my life to a new normal and being thrown into two more family tragedies. The following October my brother’s wife of 34 years died suddenly and my daddy died that same year on New Year’s Eve. It was a rough year for lack of words to describe it. I lost my mom last year and I miss her so much.

So much transpired within me over the last years that changed me completely that I wrote a book about it. The book is called Sweet Strength, Seaside Awakening. One of the reasons that I wrote a book is a week before Mark died, he said, “Linda you need to write a book.” I said, “Mark, what am I going to write a book about?” He said, “Linda, you are such a great writer, and you have a lot of life experiences, write a book.” So, one it is to honor my husband and two it is to inspire others to know that if you have a heartbeat you have a purpose.

Shock is a merciful condition. It allows you to get through disaster with necessary distance between you and your feelings.


What helped me survive all this tragedy was keeping my body healthy and strong, eating the right foods, and helping others by personal training and coaching. Helping others enabled me to recycle my pain to inspire others to hope. Keeping my mind positive and learning to find the treasure in the trash. The Sweet Strength that comes from within. The stronger I was in the gym, the more I was able to live my life and not let grief, self-pity or depression define who I am. The more I helped others, the stronger I became.

Before that Mark passed, I decided that I would start personal training again. I was a trainer years ago. I have always loved fitness and been heavily involved in continuing to stay attuned with the industry and working out myself. I also wanted to become a health coach and life coach, so I pursued and received those credentials through certifications and, of course, got re-certified as a personal trainer. On my way to having my own business career, I was excited. All I needed was a name for my new venture.

I will never forget the moment that Mark came up with my business name as we were walking our dogs on the oceanfront sidewalk. He offered a couple of names, and I was not interested in any of them. I said, I want something feminine but strong. He said, “I know. Name it Sweet Strength – because you are sweet and strong.” It made me smile. I said, “That is perfect. I love it.” Little did he know I would need that Sweet Strength to get me through the next few years, but God knew. He always knows and prepares you for what is coming.

Since Mark’s death, I knew that I had a choice. I had a choice to die in my grief, financial loss, change, or I could live a new life and find a new normal. I did that. I learned to surf, I started an LLC for my company, I trademarked Sweet Strength, I entered my first Master Figure Competition at 53, and I ended up doing four. I moved to a new city for a fresh start, I joined toast masters, I wrote a book, I flew out of the country for the first time by myself and now I am now the sole owner of Sweet Strength Fitness/Wellness Studio in Mount Pleasant, SC. I am remarried to a man I knew in high school who is also working alongside me at the Studio and have two new stepchildren in my life. My son, Robert, is serving in the Army and I am so proud of him.

I like to tell people. If you look in the mirror and your body is falling apart and you are not taking care of yourself emotional and mentally then when challenges come, and they will, you won’t be able to get back up or it will take you a long time, but if your body and mind are strong and healthy when life threatens to take you under you will be able to build the stairs to lift you higher.

Everyone says “Linda, you are so strong, inspirational, positive and optimistic.” My response, “I work at it every day, because I made the choice I wanted to live and give to others.” It takes work, but it’s

Everyone says “Linda, you are so strong, inspirational, positive and optimistic.” My response, “I work at it every day, because I made the choice I wanted to live and give to others.” It takes work, but it’s worth it and it will be for you too. If I can do it, so can you.


My first book is for purchase.

My passion is empowering women with the tools that help them move forward during grief, loss, pain, change, or challenges. So that they can live out their dreams and become the best version of who God created them to be.

You are God’s highest form of creation, made in his image. You are made to live your passion. I hope this book will encourage you to do just that.

This is a book about bereavement. It is my journey through the loss of my husband in 2012. These are my thoughts as I walked through the grief process. I hope to write another book in the future of the years that transpired after that and my faith in Christ to inspire others. I want to be able to inspire others that there is hope and a new future after loss.

Thank you and may you remember it is not who you are that holds you back, it is who you think you are not.


Sweet Strength