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To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.

Chinese proverb


here have been thousands of comments on left on the Planet Grief blog over the years. These are a few comforting words from widows and widowers who never thought they would ever see even the smallest chink of daylight in the darkness of their grief. They did, and so will you, I promise you.

One day you will look in the mirror again and see a bit of a glow, a bit of sparkle in your eye. It is early days, such a terrible cliché, I can’t believe I just said it. I can’t remember much of the first year…a lot of wailing, curling up on the kitchen floor after my mind and body gave way, not being able to reach out for any help – feeling beyond help. Keep wailing, it really is important to let it out.”  


I am now fast approaching my fourth anniversary and feel that I have moved on to another level and am beginning to feel at peace with myself, no longer looking for something or nothing, just allowing things to be.”  

Janet T

Grief is like a flat tyre. If you get out of the car and sit on the wall just looking at the flat tyre waiting for it to mend itself, it is never going to happen; you won’t get anywhere with that method. When the wheel nuts are a bit tight you need to sit down on the kerb and rest a while. You will come back to the wheel soon.”  


(On the first anniversary), I tried all day to remember all the good times, and there were lots of those. And that reminded me that I have come a long way – this time last year when people told me to “treasure the memories” I felt sick thinking of the good times that I would never have again.  Now I feel I will have (and do have) good times again, just different ones.”


It’s down to us to be happy and we have choices in life. There are times when choice is taken away, but ultimately I choose not to be defined as a woman (hurtling towards 50) who lost her husband tragically, but as a woman who has made the best of what she has. To be a ‘career widow’ is not for me. As long as its legal and I am honest with myself and not hurting anyone, I will try to make the best of what I have in my life and be grateful for what we had and for what is to come.”  


Maybe there is an afterlife but nobody knows. If there is, I imagine that he’s making new friends, having a pint with my uncle and playing a guitar. If not, well, he lives on in me, in his family and in his friends. He made his mark on all of us. I for one am not the same person I was before knowing him. I believe that you can meet somebody once and still take on a little bit of them – you change, you become different, and they live on that way. So, yes, he is always with me, inside, somehow. So, afterlife or not, this is the kind of conclusion I have come to. But it has taken a very long time. Now I think of him, I imagine him being with me, I think of things I want to tell him and I have got used to this. You will find your own explanations and way of coping.”


As soon as I became a widow the one thing I knew was that I didn’t want pity looks and in fact, I wanted people to be surprised that I was a widow because I was ‘happy’ and living a full life despite the horridness that I knew and know I would carry forever inside.”


It’s fourteen months for me and I can now see a future and I am looking forward to it. I really don’t know how it happened, but it did, very gradually day by day. I don’t want to be known as the lady who lost her husband in a motorbike accident so I am planning to move home and really start living life again as Me! I have come this far and am now ready to face life’s challenges head on.”


Last year when my husband died, suddenly and unexpectedly after a brief illness, I positively courted death myself because I didn’t care whether I lived or died, I believed I simply couldn’t and didn’t want to live without him.  I drank too much, ate very sporadically, and took up smoking again, which I hadn’t done for years.   

It’s amazing the difference one year can make.  Today I went for the results of some recent tests I’d had for cancer.  I sat there a wreck awaiting the results of recent surgery undergone, wondering how I was going to cope with this without my man at my side.  Thankfully I needn’t have worried.

My point is, I hadn’t realised how inch by inch, since losing my husband, life and the need to still live has slowly come creeping back into my psyche, and it surprised me very much.”


It all will be OK – not like it was, but OK. You will learn peace again and laughter and happiness and love.  You will obviously be a very different person, stronger, put up with far less BS, more fearless, live in the moment, cast many things and possibly people aside because they don’t fit anymore.  What we don’t do is stop loving and missing our partners, and I don’t ever want to. What we do is learn to put them  in a safe place in our hearts where they will always be. It all takes a while, longer for some but I believe eventually we all can do it!!”


I am now at seven years.  Thinking of A, looking at photos, doing all the “blue” jobs etc no longer makes me cry anymore – it has just become part of my everyday life now – but although the grief has gone, the love and memories have not and I do still think of him every day.  Don’t be scared of losing the grief and becoming happy, it does not mean you are leaving them behind, it just means you are beginning to adapt to your new “normal” and that is something that you should be proud of. You will never forget them regardless of how much time has passed and how happy you become.”