Bridget’s Story


Grief makes us incredibly selfish. I think that it is part of the grieving process to feel as if everything revolves around us, around our pain and our loss. Grief makes us insular, inward looking, so I was particularly struck by Bridget’s story, because despite her grief – her husband, Alex, died suddenly whilst abroad only six months ago – she begins her story offering her condolences to me for the loss of my husband and ends it by thanking me and the other contributors to Planet Grief for sharing their stories. Such grace and concern whilst consumed with pain. The other thing I am struck by in Bridget’s story is that she has found so much to feel grateful for, blessed even, despite the horror that has hit her and her young family.

I don’t know Bridget, but I sense that she is a remarkable woman and that her husband, Alex, would be incredibly proud of her.

There is another remarkable woman – Jules – whose words about widowhood appear as the last quote in my book, When Bad Things Happen in Good Bikinis. This is part of that quote. I wanted to reproduce it here, because I have a feeling that whilst life won’t be easy, Bridget will be saying the same thing in years to come. I want Bridget – and all the readers of Planet Grief – to know that a ‘normal’ childhood is possible for children who have lost a parent at a young age.

A postscript on me: I am now at 11 years (wow, can hardly believe that!). My children are now grown up – one working and one about to start university. They are happy and that pleases me, I worked really hard to keep their childhood ‘normal’. I didn’t want them to look back on their childhood and think: ‘Everything was great until Dad died and then Mum was a blubbering mess in the corner. I think I have managed to achieve this and that, for me, is a really big piece of happiness.’

Here, is Bridget’s story.

Hi Helen,
Firstly, I would like to express my sadness on the loss of your JS. What a traumatic experience losing your husband like that must have been. And here I am too, another reluctant member of the widows club. My beautiful husband, Alex, died suddenly and unexpectedly in May this year. He was waiting to board a plane home to us after a short business trip in Sydney. He had just sent me a text to say they were due to board in 20 minutes and how he couldn’t wait to get home and give his whole family a big hug. He collapsed in the airport lounge from an aortic dissection and died in a hospital a few hours later, alone and in a foreign city as we, his distraught loved ones, waited desperately to catch a flight out to be with him. He was only 43 and as fit, healthy and clean living as can be. He leaves me and our 3 beautiful children who were 6,4 and 9months at the time of his death. Our 2 boys idolised him and followed him like two tails. Alex lived for being a father and husband and his joy in having a baby daughter to ‘walk down the isle’ was immense. He cherished me above all others and even after 14 years of being together, his eyes lit up when I came into a room. He died 3 days after Mothers Day and I am so blessed that he wrote me a beautiful letter to mark the occasion telling me of his love and admiration for me and the joy he had in his family. Aside from this deceleration of his love, I am lucky to have been told,and shown, daily by him how loved and appreciated I was.

We are bereft. A huge hole exists in our lives.

I have gone from being a happy, contented full time mother and wife to a sad, struggling widow facing the future as a single parent and breadwinner to our 3 babies without my Rock and my Heart.

I know there are so many that have gone before me and will be others to come, but I am overcome with what a terrible path this is. At nearly 6 months, the reality of ‘forever’ without him is overwhelming. It probably doesn’t help that I live abroad from my family and ‘old’ friends, so don’t have much in the way of support. That is why I have found your writing so helpful in making me feel less alone. I thank you for your blog and to others for sharing their stories. Even though all our stories are so different, there are common links and threads which connect us and offer small comfort.

11 Comments

Bridget
Reply December 1, 2015

Hi Helen, thank you for publishing my story and for your very kind words. Also, thank you for the quote too. That offers some comfort to me as I naturally worry about my kids and the enormous impact losing their precious dad will have on their childhood/ lives. I strive daily to keep their routine as normal as possible and to show them as much love as I can.
After they are asleep at night and the house is quiet, I read your blog and all the wonderful comments. They are so helpful to me and I am amazed at the similarities in all of our shared experiences despite the uniqueness of each persons particular bereavement. As I approach our first Christmas without Alex, I will be keeping a close eye on the blog and, no doubt, will find some wise, warm words from those who travel with me. With thanks. Bridget

Lynsey Moore
Reply December 1, 2015

Bridget I feel your pain, I wish I didn't! Parts of your story resinate with me so much. My gorgeous husband was taken from me 2months and 11days ago! We had decided not to have children so we could selfishly travel and just enjoy each other. We have been together nearly 8 years and married for just 1year and 5months!
I am so lost and lonely without my gorgeous boy! I went back to work today, I wonder why, I feel I have nothing to strive for anymore, no ambition, no interest in anything! He was my everything! This is a road that is so alien to me!
I agree that I find comfort knowing there are more of us out there, but how desperately sad that is the case!
In time I will write my story like you have, in the hope it might bring some comfort to another poor soul out there.
I wish all who read this the best of luck. X

Meave Beckett-Leech
Reply December 21, 2015

Hi Bridget, Lynsey & Helen
I just wanted to let you know that o feel your pain too. Unfortunately I too have just joined widowhood 10 days ago when my beloved 37 year old husband was killed in a cycling accident. Until then my 20 month old son had a beautiful life and I really want to try and do that for him again, but for the last 10 days he has seen his mother experience grief beyond anything I ever imagined.
Helen, thank you for setting up this site. Not that I would wish this pain on anyone, but it is helpful to connect with others who are experiencing the same thing.
I'm afraid I don't have any comforting words at this point but just wanted you all to know I am thinking of you and I know how you feel.

Lynsey Moore
Reply December 22, 2015

Meave, I have found great comfort in finding a friend who was sadly widowed two days before me. I meet her regularly,if you would like to speak to me I would be happy to listen and share the pain! Don't feel you have to though, we all manage this horror differently! Please comment if you do and we can swop details. Sending you all the best xxx

    Meave Beckett-Leech
    Reply December 23, 2015

    Lynsey, thank you. I would love to connect. Yes, please can we swap details. Would the best way of doing be to look each other up on facebook, and send each other a message with email/ phone/ Skype contacts? I'm Meave Beckett-Leech and live in South Africa.

      Planet Grief
      Reply December 24, 2015

      Meave, I've been thinking about you since I saw your post. Such a recent loss; at your stage I felt as if acid was being dripped on open wounds.

      If you don't manage to make contact via Facebook, if you are both agreeable, I am happy to pass on the email addresses you have given, but I do need (for web safety) for you both to let me know that you are happy for me to do so.

      Love, Helen xxx

Meave Beckett-Leech
Reply December 25, 2015

Thank you Helen. I'm so sorry that you had reason to set up this website, but so grateful you have. Yes, the pain certainly feels like that - utterly unbearable.
Lynsey and I have made contact and it is really helpful to me to be chatting to her.
Bridget, if you'd like to chat further too via Facebook or another means, just let us know. But no pressure of course.
Lots of love to all of you today x

Lynsey Moore
Reply December 26, 2015

Hi Helen,
I am chatting with Meave, but please know you can always pass on my details. If I can help anyone through this hell I will without question.
Best wishes
Lynsey xx

Bridget
Reply December 26, 2015

Dear Meave and Lynsay and Helen,
Sorry I have taken so long to reply. For my sins, I am moving house on the 29th. So, with the move and Christmas and 3 little ones, I have not had time to breathe, let alone write! But I have been thinking of you both since I read your comments.
As always, I need time to process the stories I read from fellow widows because they touch me in such a sensitive, sore place and I ache knowing there are others experiencing similar pain to mine. Maeve, I too am South African (living in Australia though) and I so badly wish I could say words that would comfort and soothe you. But I know I can't. So what I will say is I am here too. I keep remembering the wonderful post Sheryl Sandberg wrote after losing her husband. In it she writes about taking on the grief of her children too. So true. With our impending move, my children are experiencing more loss and grief in the form of leaving the only home they remember and where they shared a life with their precious dad. When we move, we will live in a place where he never was, where we never made memories together and that is sad. Even though they are so young (7 and 5), they have expressed this eloquently.
Please include me in your email correspondence if you wish to. Helen may pass my details on.
I am not on Facebook. I couldn't bear it after Alex died. It just feels to trivial and insincere.
I made it through Christmas and you did too.
Wishing you some peaceful moments today,
Bridget x

Meave Beckett-Leech
Reply December 26, 2015

Oh Bridget, my heart is with you as you move. I too will need to move house sometime next year and I can't bear losing yet another link to Dan. Wishing you even more strength than usual as you face this next challenge.
Helen, please share my email address with Bridget. I am finding it immensely helpful to be in touch with Lynsey.
Yes, I absolutely hear you about Facebook's insincerity, Bridget.
Sending love and strength to you all xxx

Annie
Reply April 9, 2016

Hello you all,
I am so glad to have found this site - my wonderful partner Simon died two weeks ago and I am lost in grief and loneliness. It is a huge comfort to know that I'm not alone, though I'm so sorry that you all share this pain. Thank you all for being there, I wish you all peace and love, Annie x