My Story

Genesis of a Jerk


The Shitty stuff

My name is Kelly and this whole thing started because of a really shitty thing. I was 34-years-old when my wife passed away, a year and a half after we had our son. Kara was a healthy, compassionate, lovely human who deserved better. My “Broom” and I were married August 8, 2009. That’s me in white. We had been together since 2006 and from the first date we knew we were going to share our lives together.

In 2011 we had our son, whom I later coined The Ginger Menace. Incidentally he was the star the queer parenting blog at PinkPlayMags I wrote from 2014 to 2019.

The story:

It was early October 2011, our son was 18 months old and everything was fine, until it wasn’t. In November we moved into our first house. Swanky right?! We had our first Christmas there, a blissful backyard summer and a beautiful fall. However October 2012 rolled around and Kara felt sick. She had a compromised respiratory system, ALL the season allergies, pneumonia and bronchitis all the time so no red flags there. By Halloween she was unable to take The Ginger Menace out Trick-or-Treating. By Remembrance Day, November 11, 2012 she passed away and we didn’t know why until after the autopsy.


Later we found out the pneumonia was caused by a toxic mould called blastomycosis. I was now a single parent to a 1 1/2 year old and I was up shit creek. We had a house, we didn’t have a will and I was no bread winner, I was a writer. So I wrote.I mostly wrote memoir and poetry, blogs were a new thing, but when my writing coach offered me a free blogging workshop I took it! Of her many suggestions one was make up a fictional character to write with. And I wanted them to be funny as Kara always said “you always have the choice to laugh.”

I was angry so I also needed someone mean, someone messy, someone unapologetic and passionate in their self important reign of grief to bitch to about my plight. Someone who understood and would take my side every time..except when she was pissed with me. And BINGO I had my superhero alter ego!

The Captain and I launched our blog on Valentines Day, 2013, best day for queer widows to start a blog about their dead wives right? So I was ready but the jerk stood me up! She wrote me a card telling me she was “sorry about my spouse,” and then followed that with an email telling me about all the ways grief had made her undignified and unavailable that day. Typical.


Illustration by abwarriner


All through the year we had a pretty good time crying, laughing and screaming our way through 2013. We broke things, baked multiple cakes, indulged in gallows humour and railed against the social awkwardness of grief. I also included memoir pieces.

We fought, made up and fought again several times over and by the end of it neither of us wanted to give it up, though she never would specifically admit it. That’s when my editor at PinkPlayMags asked me to give The Ginger Menace that changed to The Ginger Gentleman as he aged, a chance on his own queer parenting blog.


Illustration by abwarriner

I have also written a number of more serious pieces, the most notably I was published by Macleans Magazine. I wrote an opinion piece that was created in memory of Gord Downey, a late great Canadian musician of The Tragically Hip. The series was called Before You Go as he was reputed to be very loving and affectionate to the folks he knew. I submitted a letter to my son and it was accepted. Click here to read the article A Widowed Mother to Her Son: Your Small Life Was So Powerful it Saved Mine.

Since then a lot has changed in 2023. My house fell apart, I bought a house with a friend to cohabit with and when she became a single mother by choice and we began our coparenting stint. Suddenly we had another ginger kid! If that is’n’t fate I don’t know what is.

We now write lists like the top ten ways my kid could have set the house on fire but didn’t! Now there is a new job, new house, new friends, new chosen family, a podcast and a new Ginger kid! So come along on the unique, unexpected journey myself and my son.


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