I never realised life could be so tough, so painful or so challenging. I have grieved for my father, Robert’s sister, my aunt, friends and pets, and thought those days were tough. We have gone through health scares together and coped with a pandemic. The loss of Robert though; my beloved partner, best friend and lover is a whole new level of bereavement. It is tough, really tough and I know a long journey still lies ahead.

It is now just over two months since I returned home to find Robert dead. He had collapsed from a massive heart attack after taking his cup of tea upstairs. Some mornings or afternoons I cannot believe he has gone. I imagine him suddenly coming home, and that the past few months will have simply been a horrid dream. Other mornings or evenings I find myself staring where I found him, feeling numb or overwhelmed by grief. And then there are the moments when I find myself talking to him, or talking about him with family and friends. Enjoying the wonderful memories of an incredible life together, and the positive impact he had on so many lives. No wonder so many have donated in his memory, and so many plan to attend his memorial on 25th May or watch it by zoom. He will be missed by many, and we want to acknowledge that shared loss as well as celebrate just how amazing he was.

I hesitated about sharing exactly how I am feeling here as I am discovering that many, particularly those who have not suffered a close loss, don’t quite know how to react when I answer honestly to the question ‘how are you?’. However sharing helps me, so I am going to continue to share here and in person when you ask. If you cannot cope, then that’s absolutely fine, but suggest you either unfollow my blog or don’t ask me when you see me! I don’t want to make things awkward for you or more upsetting for me.

I have also discovered, as have my extraordinary step-daughters, how our culture really doesn’t prepare any of us to know what to say to a grieving widow or daughter. I therefore thought it be helpful to share with you some tips, although even these take with a pinch of salt as there is not one right way to approach a person overwhelmed by grief. Our wants and needs change throughout the day, and what works one day may not work the other. Bereavement is not a linear journey, especially when it is still this raw and this close. However hopefully you may find these helpful;

  • Don’t say ‘I know how you feel’ as unless you have been widowed it won’t be the same, and even then grief is different for every person. So also be cautious about sharing your own experiences of grief, especially if recent. I am not in the best place to listen.
  • It is however absolutely fine to say ‘I’m so very sorry‘ or to say ‘I can only imagine how hard it is/how awful you feel‘. In fact I encourage you to say ‘I miss him too‘ and also to share your stories about Robert. I want to talk about him.
  • Do stay in touch. The random texts and emails I have been receiving mean as much as the regular check ins. And it doesn’t need to be a counselling message, I love receiving photos of things that matter to you, a silly GIF or just a hello. There is no time limit on grief, so if you can over the coming weeks and months keep walking the road with me by occasionally send a message. Sometimes I will reply immediately, other times it is just good to know you are thinking of me. One small request though if you drop me a line after a break, please don’t say qualify it by saying ‘I’ve been busy’ or ‘life has been hectic’.
  • Be specific with offers of help, whether that’s a date for a catch up or a task that you have identified that needs doing. I have a list in the kitchen for the latter!
  • Please bear with me if sometimes I change my mind about meeting up, leave early or say I cannot chat right now. Occasionally it is overwhelming to socialise, but the next time I will almost certainly say yes.
  • I am beginning to adjust to my new normal but it is going to take time. So please don’t ask about the future. I may bring it up and then you can listen, but now is not the time to be asking me to think ahead nor is it time to offer solutions of your own.
  • Don’t think there’s a ban on laughter. Laughter helps me heal, and occasionally losing myself in happy moments gives my mind and body a break from the rawness of grief.
  • And if you have a moment do research grief and bereavement too. There are some amazing books, guides and blog posts out there. Not only will they help you around someone who is grieving, but they will probably help you with your grief too. For the latter a great place to start is CRUSE and for more tips check out how other people can help.

As you may have gathered by the length of this post, this morning is an okay morning for me. It helps so much knowing you are all there listening. So thank you all for being there, and for enabling me to share this post.

Robert was an amazing man, the absolute best.

96 thoughts

  1. Your words are eloquent as you share your grief, Becky. So many of us know this day will come when our beloved spouses will step into eternity without us. You will grieve for a long time. And so you should. My cousin lost her husband in May 2021 (he was 58), under the same circumstances you described. He had a heart condition and also survived covid. It was simply his time to go home. Take all the time you need to make sense of your life. Do not try to be strong for anyone. I’m glad you have family and friends nearby. All my best to you, Becky, and my sincere condolences. Virtual hugs from a fellow blogger.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So sorry for your loss, Becky. This is a very brave and wonderful post, exposing such a raw and personal experience. I hope the responses here are something of a comfort and that as you move along, one day at a time, one hour at a time, you’re able to rediscover the energy and enthusiasm that I, and many others I think, love about you. My thoughts are with you on this difficult journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t say I know how you feel even if I wanted to because my husband is still alive. I certainly can’t imagine life without him. But thankfully I haven’t had to find out yet. My mom passed away at the beginning of February leaving my dad without his partner of almost 70 years. So I’ve experienced that grief one step removed and it’s hard enough even at that distance. I’m thankful that you have friends and family to support you and that you have memories that are good enough that you feel sad that he’s gone.That’s a blessing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so very sorry you have lost him. Your life partner. I hope you will continue to write and post about how you are feeling and how the grieving process is going. He looks like a great fellow.I wish I could have known him. We cannot just close the door and hope the grief will go away. So keep on sharing if you feel you can.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine the pain. My sister has been grieving the loss of her husband for a few years and told me about one of the cards she received at the time, from another widow. How the worst part of marriage is that one of you dies first. I don’t know if there’s any way to prepare for it. I guess we should treasure the time together while we have it. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a heart wrencher. I hadn’t seen it till Jude pointed it out to me as we have our best man with us at present. He was widowed last year after 40 years of marriage and is just past the raw stage and starting to make a life for himself. I know how happy you were together, hon. The happiness beamed out of the pair of you. I can only add that he would want you to live your life. Share all the memories you can, Becky. You have some wonderful ones. You always seemed wise beyond your years to me and the advice you give here proves that. God bless, hon! I hope the days get steadily better. 💟💟

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Becky, I’m s glad you are able to write a little about your grief. It’s a huge topic people really don’t like to talk about. There are no set rules, but one. No one grieves exactly the same as another person. Okay maybe two…grief is a process and there are no time limits.

    I’m so glad you are finding some joy in this time. That is normal and natural, just like your grief. Know that you always are getting virtual hugs from me and Chris. Sending you one now, Keep posting as along as it feels good to you. You are the one who is important right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So very brave of you to put this out Becky. Knowing what to say at such a time is difficult so your advice is welcome, I’m always terrified of putting my foot in it! I am glad that you have the support of your family and friends and colleagues and your blogging community. You are one of a kind and loved by many. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I can only offer you a virtual hug and a smile to try to carry you through the heavy days, Becky, but on those days, such words are meaningless. It is good to see you sharing your thoughts here.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’ve not been a very good friend in keeping contact these last 10 days or so, but you have been in my thoughts. I hope you don’t get one reaction my daughter got when she was widowed young, like you. ‘I know just how you feel. My granny, whom I didn’t see very often, died recently, aged 93.’ Um ….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh I have had very similar comments!! Been quite bizarre some of them

      and no worries about not being in touch. You were amazing in the first few weeks, and I know will be again once you return from your fabulous travels xxx

      Like

  11. Well done for writing this post Becky….and what is so very true is that we all react to bereavement differently, and some of us will manage life without our partner better than others, there’s no way of knowing how you cope until it happens. Main thing is you have friends, family, blog buddies as a support network

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Widowed now over nine years but seems like yesterday; it does not get easier, sorry to say. What helps is knowing each passing day/year I tell myself I am that much closer seeing him again.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I was just wondering yesterday how you were, so it’s good to hear from you. I understand why you hesitated about sharing this post but I’m glad you did. I haven’t been in your situation and trying to imagine being so is painful enough, without actually being there. My husband and I are both in our mid sixties and (we believe) reasonably healthy. But we know that one of us will at some point leave the other and that’s very tough to contemplate. For it to happen as it did to you, with no time to prepare, must be especially difficult. My heart goes out to you, and at the same time I admire you for reaching out to ask for the help you need. Your writing will also be of help to others who may benefit from your experiences when their own grieving time comes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much. We always knew because of the age gap that Robert would probably die first but never imagined it would happen before I was 60, let alone 50. Way too young. My advice is get all the paperwork sorted now, and enjoy every moment xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I know what you’re saying, that most of us don’t know what it really feels. But I guess most of us are at that age and my friends and I are also thinking about that. We don’t really know what to do when something like this happens to any one of us.
    So right now I am just sending you a virtual hug, hoping that you have more better days than not…and yes, we are all here listening.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I know I should write more often. I miss our conversations even the silly ones that mean so much. I did have to stop reading this a few times to gather myself as I can understand the wobbles. I wish I had been able to get to know Robert other than waking him up with a loud song attached to a post which made me laugh at the thought of you trying to find the turn it down thingy.
    As always a million hugs 🤗🤗🤗💕

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Becky, I was just wondering about you the other day and was going to ask Jo but it didn’t feel right as I don’t know either of you, but feel I do! It’s so very brave of you to share this and I’m thankful for the tips. My very dear friend lost her husband the same way in December, and as you say it’s impossible to imagine. It sounds like you have some loving family to help you through. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Alison thank you so much for thinking of me, and feel free to message anytime. I consider my blogging community part of my support network so will always welcome your messages. Thank you x

      Like

  17. I am so sorry, Becky. We are in our late 70’s so know the time is coming when one of us is going to die. I don’t know how I could possibly cope. It sounds like you and Robert had a relationship similar to ours, full of love and joy. Virtual hugs to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so so much for the hugs and support. I am finding that my amazing stepdaughters, Mum and network of friends, bloggers and wider family is keeping me going xx

      Like

  18. Dear Becky, your blog has helped me through some lows. I owe you one. So if there is anything, ANYTHING I can do or say, please know no request is too large. I am sorry, truly sorry for your loss. BIG BIG HUG. — Marianne (anthropoloist)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh Marianne thank you so so much.That’s lovely to hear.

      Just being here, with the occasional message will be wonderful, and keep sending those hugs xx

      Like

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