Life as a Widower

A young widowed father opening up about living with loss

grieving nothing

I’ve suddenly been hit by a kind of bereavement that I’ve never felt before.

I’m sort of grieving nothing.

I’m kind of grieving something that never existed.

I’m feeling a great sense of loss for someone I never met. For someone who was never created. Out of nowhere I’ve started to think about the second child we never had.

I’ve never been one for a rose tinted lens, so I’ll tell it how it was.

I wasn’t sure about having a second child at first. My wife had only just started to see her business become a success and I’d just taken a really big job, the role I’d worked towards my whole career.

“How would this work?” I asked. We already had our hands full and how could Desreen take time out of a business that had been running for only a short time? How would I balance my job with two children?

Desreen was not one for negative thinking or defeatist behaviour.

“That’s your problem.” she’d reply, “You’re so damn negative all the time and quite frankly I find it draining.”

We’d both laugh because we approached adult conversations like two children playing grown-ups.

“Fuck it then,” I’d say, “let’s just have one.”

“That’s more like it, Benji. I forgive you.”

We actually talked about it the afternoon of the day she was killed.

“Dessie, I know that this is really immature but since meeting Lucia (her best friend’s brand new daughter) last week, I really want another baby. It’d just be really nice to have some baby cuddles again.”

She smiled and laughed at how I’d be willing to throw away all my financial and professional reservations for the sake of a hug.

She had the rest planned. Holiday destination for the conception, date for the star sign, name and sex. It would all go her way because she’d read The Secret.

But The Secret didn’t deliver this time. It was keeping its secret to itself. It had other plans for my wife and the baby we’ll now never hold.

They say you can’t miss something you never had. Perhaps you can’t, but you can still feel a great sense of loss for never having it.

10 comments on “grieving nothing

  1. appleve
    February 23, 2013

    “That’s how you know you love someone, I guess, when you can’t experience anything without wishing the other person were there to see it, too.”

  2. anniy07
    February 23, 2013

    “a great sense of loss at never having it ”
    I lost my mum when I was 5 and I still feel that that about her love, her hugs and cuddles, her time, her advise …it’s a bitter pill that can drive you crazy though !!
    xx

  3. Nicola
    February 23, 2013

    I can totally relate to this Ben and its something a lot of people don’t understand unless they too have grieved the loss of a partner. I not only lost my wonderful husband Aidan just 19 days before our first wedding anniversary but I also lost our future, our chance of planning to have our first baby after being married a year, my identity as a wife…the list goes on… And 19 months later I’m still struggling with all of this…it is just so hard. I get exhausted sometimes putting on the brave face and trying to get on with the as its all such a pretence…

    I can also relate to your previous post as I’m really struggling with letting go of my old life as this new life to me, is just about surviving at this point, and I don’t really feel as if I fit in anywhere… I’m going out with single friends at wkends as I need to again for survival as the wkends are the most painful without Aidan …but this too is a vicious circle as I struggle when I’m about my identity…(am I single or married) whilst I’m wearing my engagement&wedding ring but my husband isn’t here anymore :(…. Someone sentence card after Aidan died which wrote… ‘You have to let go of the life you planned, to allow the life that’s planned for you’ …. However over a year later this is still proving hard.

    Thank u Ben for sharing your thoughts, as its so hard to explain and relate, all of these mad thoughts to anyone who has not came through this nightmare and horrendous heartache.

  4. Paula
    February 23, 2013

    Let me put it this way Ben – you will never ‘win’ on this one, but with time, there will be peace…..you will always miss what you had and you will always miss the promise of what you could’ve become. There will be days like today and there will be better days….and there will be days when you’ll just be grateful to have had such a special person in your life that helped shape the wonderful person and father you are today. Desreen’s love and memory will always be with you and make you want to be a better person everyday – for yourself and for your adorable son. Thinking of you. xx

  5. Paul R
    February 23, 2013

    I was married for 28 years before my wife died. We decided early on not to have children, because there was a very good chance that she wouldn’t be able to walk again or have to spend 9 months in traction after having a metal rod inserted into her spine. Pregnancy can do strange things to a person who had severe scoliosis.

    We had a wonderful life together, but some of my first thoughts after she died was that I wish we had a daughter so I would have a piece of her to still hold onto. That feeling went away after a month or so, but I can see it being very different for someone who had beet talking about having another child.

  6. Rachel Locke
    February 23, 2013

    All I can say is “I hear you”. It’s the life that we could / should have had that makes this grief business all the more torturous.
    Love to you and Jackson x

  7. James
    February 24, 2013

    It’s a difficult path to continue after losing a love one, but a path that hopefully will lead to recovery. I was married to a wonderful wife for almost 38 years and after working 37 years we were looking forward to my retirement so we can spend more time with each other. Unfortunately Life’s path sometimes takes a twisted turn. My wife passed away on November 13, 2011 from cancer before I retired and now I struggle each day wondering where my path will lead me without her. Everything we worked toward now seems futile.

    The greatest gift my wife left me is great memories and two wonderful children. Now that I’m retired, life as a widower is remembering the good times with the pain. I wish you a safe journey and hope you find happiness again.

    • Ray Every
      February 24, 2013

      Like James I have been married for almost 38 yrs and my wife has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. I am already grieving because the illness has robbed her of her short term memory, her effervescent personality and so much more. In the short time we have left we can’t have our normal relationship as she gets confused and is unable to share life memories.

      But then I think of Ben who had such a short time with his wife and feel blessed to have shared a very special relationship for all these years. She was such good company and fun to be with.

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