How are you?

Sometimes you just want to get on with your day and not talk about a thing.

Went to mail something the other day, hoping for a discussion free exchange. However, as I stood in line, I noticed an acquaintance was manning one of the counters. No, no, not today, please let me get someone else I thought. Naturally, she’s who I got.

“How are you doing?” they said, in a tone of voice I’ve come to recognise, accompanied with a solemn look. “Yeah, doing ok” I said. What else do you say? They really want to know anyway? Have they got all day?

Besides, how I feel changes hourly – do they want to know that? I can be getting on with my day and then have a sudden wave of intense sadness, like a rug’s been pulled from underneath my feet.

Sometimes it comes from seeing a shirt he would’ve liked, or a song he loved, or thinking for a fleeting second – ‘ooh, that show we used to watch starts up again tonight,¬†I’ll have to remember to tell him about that’ and then immediately realising he’s not there to tell anymore.

Sometimes I shed ‘small’ tears, ones that can be swiftly wiped away and sometimes I’m doubled over or on the floor and sobbing uncontrollably. Sometimes I get half way up the stairs and give up, sit down, and a half hour later realise I’ve just been day-dreaming.

It’s impossible to answer with truth and I don’t know what people expect, but I’ll take that over ignoring the issue – but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t want to hear all that when I’m trying to mail a package … ūüôā


So, I joined a really crappy club recently …

It’s for women who have lost their partner/husband too young.¬†Doesn’t matter how they got in,¬†none of them want to be here. These are just the ramblings of a woman who has read that ‘writing helps’ and frankly is grasping for anything that will, or might. Who knows? Not me, not yet.

To be clear РI should say I am of course NOT saying there is any age to lose a partner/husband that makes it any less difficult Рjust that every experience is different and age/stage of life is part of that.

I suspect this blog may dart around and be a little random sometimes but bear with me. Sometimes things really get on my wick and it may become a rant, sometimes I’m overwhelmed with little kindnesses and so it may be a bit gushy, sometimes¬†(odd?) things¬†now are so bizarre/absurd they¬†make me¬†laugh.¬†So yes, random is probably the right word.

I should say I’m not hunting for sympathy, I’m doing this for a bit of catharsis and (who knows?) maybe someone else out there recently joining¬†this horrible club might find something here that helps them feel they’re not alone.

By way of introduction.

Earlier this year,¬†after a fairly swift decline from ‘doing ok’ to ‘weeks to live’¬†my husband died. I was with him. I am both grateful for that but also hold painful memories that are forever seared into my memory (and decide to pop up at the most unexpected and unwelcome times).

I came to a late acceptance¬†that¬†we/I couldn’t ‘fix’¬†my husband’s¬†illness (though boy did we try, we explored so many avenues, sought second and third opinions and last minute options) so “hope” for me turned from “I hope we can make him better, gain a couple of years …” to “I just hope we can spend some memorable time together and that he will not be in any pain”. This acceptance and change in perspective¬†was an agonising bit of mental and emotional gymnastics.

He had been ill for some time and I thought that because I knew what was coming¬†that I had somehow prepared for it in some way … this little bit of self-deception was a coping mechanism maybe – if I can’t fix it then perhaps I can prepare for it and make it better that way.

Our (school-age)¬†kids are incredible, they amaze me every day and I hope that I am doing right by them … talking enough, talking about him enough, listening enough, doing enough activities, having enough fun, showing how I feel but not so much they feel overwhelmed and feel the need to protect me from their emotions …

That’s probably enough of an intro for now.

Perfect words

Every so often I read something that really hits the nail on the head. Thousands of articles and books exist on grief and the more recent (mercifully) acknowledge two things:

  • Grief isn’t finite
  • Grief isn’t made up made up of neat phases

But I’ve yet to see something that describes quite how I feel in terms of the ‘gap’ that’s always there. Something that acknowledges that special people in your life literally become part of who you are, that their loss shakes your whole identity, which you then have to build anew (always with a gap in the construction!).

Anyway, saw this in a Psychology Today article and it was one of those ‘that’s it!’ moments …

‘When someone is formed as part of you, there will eternally be a space in your life that fits only them.

Isn’t that just perfect?

Nobody sees

The good times are both wonderful and painful, all at the same time.

The pride in my children; shadowed by the pressing weight of the fact that nobody on this earth feels exactly the same as I do anymore.

That intensity of love, pride and utter amazement of those wonderful little people being ours, is mine (and god am I grateful for it). I yearn for it being ours again.

Anger that they don’t have that other huge wind of unconditional love at their sails.

Moments of joy rolling into ‘he would’ve loved this’; ‘they would’ve loved him to see this’ and just how wonderful it would be to have him share this with me, side by side, holding my hand and sharing in the delight of whatever it was in the car on the way home.

All of these things, sometimes pass through my mind in the blink of an eye.

Nobody sees.

Piss off Valentine‚Äôs Day

… and all the adverts for romantic escapes, couples spa days and restaurant deals. Also couples holding hands, especially old couples – both amazingly sweet and bitterly painful.

Not that we went in ‘big’ for Valentine’s Day; we maintained a mutual disdain for a commercially driven day when you’re supposed to REALLY prove you love someone in the guise of a Hallmark card and some cheesy gift.

Nevertheless, it was usually marked by my husband cooking a bit of an adventurous meal; something which took time and a horrendous amount of pots and pans. God I miss walking into that cooking apocalypse and saying; ‘did you have to use every item in the kitchen to make this’.

It’s not the day itself, it’s the expectation around it and the void of knowing that this was a day where you were ‘set’. Even if your plans were limited to sitting on the sofa doing nothing but drinking wine and bingeing a box-set; you were doing nothing much with someone. Your someone.

So although it wasn’t a ‘big deal’ then, it’s a big deal now. So piss of Valentine’s.

The Baton

Now you are gone,

We’ll take the baton,

It’ll be made of your laughter, your kindness, your love,

your generous spirit, your courage, your heart.

Now you are gone,

We’ll take the baton,

It’s been carried so far,

And had the best start.

Now you are gone,

We’ll take the baton,

And what you gave all of us

Will live on and on.



What I wish people would understand about “Year 2”


  1. I was really grateful for your support in the first few days and weeks, but settling into the ‘new normal’ is also really hard; despite how it might look on the outside.
  2. I love talking about him, I always will.
  3. I am utterly lonely sometimes, even when people are around.
  4. Being a single-parent with an involved co-parent isn’t the same as being the “only” parent. I am not saying this doesn’t have its own challenges but it is entirely different – please don’t compare.
  5. I still don’t know how to answer “how are you doing?”. My answer will almost always be “o.k”. I feel like I need to insulate you from the real answer (sometimes).
  6. I am happy for your happiness but it often makes me gut-twistingly envious at the same time. It’s hard holding these two feelings at the same time.
  7. Any linear pattern of grief you’ve ever heard about is absolute tosh. It gets “different” and you adapt to living with it. It doesn’t go, nor would I want it to; it’s the price of love. Lots of love is, in grieving terms, very expensive.
  8. Sometimes you tell me I’m doing “Very Well”. I don’t know what this means or how to react to it.
  9. Snakes and Ladders is the board-game that most accurately describes my emotions most of the time.





Ring – on/off/other?

I tried to move my rings to my right hand the other day.

It feels too soon to be taking them off altogether and¬†I’m terrified of wearing on a chain and the chain breaking (irrational, I know).

I feel now, 4 months on, that it’s increasingly a painful reminder.

“Ha”, someone joked when quoting for some work on the house, “I guess your husband didn’t fancy a go at this then!” Stunned into silence, feeling like¬†I’d been punched in the¬†stomach,¬†I just mumbled something and swiftly changed the subject.

It’s this kind of interaction, or fear of it, that makes me want to take them off. I could do without having to explain … “oh, no, actually I’m …. ” over and over again.

No guidebooks for this stuff ūüė¶