Kathleen Whittaker

“And so here is my war cry, my anthem, my battle cry for the broken and wounded who fight alongside me to keep breathing. Be it a whisper or a shout, hear my Call to Arms, compelling you to engage where vulnerability creates connection.”


If I were to write about myself before my husband’s diagnosis in August 2016, I would have known just what to say. But now? I don’t know who I am.

I feel like a toddler running aimlessly around the house, one-minute crying hysterically the next, squealing with joy. Everything in my life is bittersweet. On the one hand, I have so much to be grateful for having been deeply loved by the best man I have ever known. He was my “Pepe Le Pew” and I, his “Kat.” On the other hand, I cannot help but feel cheated losing him so young.

Who would have ever imagined that a wild and adventurous Karuk Indian from northern California would fall madly in love with a proper preppy Polish girl from northern Michigan, get married and build a legacy?  Apparently God, and we couldn’t have asked for more. Together we built a life for 32 years, on a solid foundation of faith in Jesus Christ who kept us in sync and on track through good times and bad. Blessed with four biological children and one precious daughter by way of fostering, we now have ten grandchildren.

Our shared love of the arts and passion for people fueled my desire to mentor girls, inspire artists, and equip young women with skills to confidently express their unique talents. With Tyvin’s support, I launched into my role as Founder and Director of Ragamuffin Theatre & Company where we worked side by side investing in the lives of artists both young and old for nearly 18 years. We were never very autonomous, he and I, and I could never have done any of it alone.

But alas, here I am. Alone. No longer held up by my husband’s strong arm and sure footing. After raising up a generation of purpose-driven artists, I collaborated and created a multi-media presentation called, Stones for both adolescents and adult women. With my dedicated team, I continue to speak, sing, act, dance, and produce films. We actively pursue ways to bring beauty and light into an increasingly dark world – even though my world has gone black.

Black like the words on this page.

I’ve always known I was a writer, but never in a million years would I have thought my first book would be the war cry of a widow, and that the widow would be me.

I hope that this dark chapter in my life will not only change me but others along the way. With each word I type, a little bit of the blackness turns to white like the spaces in between my words and somehow, I keep breathing. Maybe it means I’m still here for a purpose, and perhaps, that purpose is you.

“It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better and gains gladness. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth and sensual joy.”

Ecclesiastes 7 (AMPC)