Life as a Widower

A young widowed father opening up about living with loss

time out

This whole blogging business is still pretty new to me. Having set up my site without giving it too much thought, I never really got chance to explore any guidelines or learn much about blogging etiquette. But I guess as people take the trouble to visit the site and read the posts I should probably say if and when I’m not going to be around for a while.

Somehow I think it’s time for a break. Not a holiday but just a little time out from writing about grief and instead just letting it happen.

For some reason I don’t usually find that the days that perhaps ought to be tough are the worst. Sometimes I think it’s possible to think about a calendar date so much that by the time it comes round, you’ve already worked through it. But on this occasion I think it would be reasonable to expect that I’ve got a tough couple of weeks coming up.

Yesterday the vicar who conducted both my wedding ceremony and my wife’s funeral service, also christened our son. The three most monumental events I’ve ever attended and all in the space of less than two years. Just one week shy of two years in fact; it’s the two year anniversary of our wedding next week. It’s my 34th birthday the week after and that’ll be the first time I’ve ever been older than my wife. From that point on I’ll be older than she ever was for the rest of my life. The thought of me ageing as she remains forever young has upset me ever since she was killed, so I don’t suppose that day will pass without any pain.

As it happens I’ve got nice plans for the next couple of weeks but even that troubles me. Having woken up today from a wonderful weekend, which showed me just what an apparently content, funny, loving and loved child I have, I woke up feeling terrible. I had a happiness hangover and it was more draining than anything I’ve experienced from alcohol. All of the tears that I might have expected to flow in church yesterday (but didn’t) flowed today. I suppose grief always catches up with you at some point.

So I think I’m going to take some time out and just be. No doubt I’ll have a lot to say by the time I come back in a couple of weeks but for now, take care x

Love: a picture taken on our honeymoon just two years ago

Love: a picture taken on our honeymoon just two years ago

22 comments on “time out

  1. cath
    July 29, 2013

    Take care Ben…much love to you and Jackson. Will miss your blog and the honesty with which you write of your love and loss of beautiful Desreen. Hope you find some peace x x

  2. Naomii Chaplain
    July 29, 2013

    Do you Ben. Sending you and Jackson lots of love, light and healing vibes. X

  3. Catherine Knowles
    July 29, 2013

    Take care, and well done for recognising what it takes to get you through. I guess that might change from day to day, but for now, have fun with your little man, enjoy your birthday, and take your wedding anniversary to remember the beauty of that day two years ago x

  4. Emma Sheppard
    July 29, 2013

    Good for you Ben. Do what you need to, for you and your son. Kind regards, Emma x

  5. menelikcharles
    July 29, 2013

    God bless you, my man!

  6. Jenaluk
    July 29, 2013

    What a beautiful picture. Enjoy your break!

  7. Tricia
    July 29, 2013

    Enjoy your break Ben x

  8. Kate
    July 29, 2013

    Take care

  9. Annie Turner
    July 29, 2013

    Hi there

    I don’t usually leave comments on this type of thing, but I just wanted to tell you a bit of a story, that may or may not be of some comfort in the future.
    My Dad was widowed aged 36 in 1971, when my mum died suddenly of a brain haemorrhage aged 32, she was 6 months pregnant. I was 4 and my brother David was 6.
    My Dad found himself a widower, with two small children, and worst of all one of them was a girl!!! His generation was not well equipped for coping with such a situation. There were no support groups and no after school clubs. He left his well paid job and brought us back to London, so he could call on support from family in the years ahead.
    Without giving you a full run down, we had an ‘unconventional’ childhood. In the mornings we used to drive to school in the camper van, with Dad’s moped in the back. He would park outside school and go to work on the moped. David and I would let ourselves in the camper after school and play monopoly, scrabble and cluedo, until Dad came back from work, then we’d all go home and have tea!
    It was difficult for all of us, and even now aged 46 I still get tearful when I watch a film, or read a story, and I know there are elements of my life that are missing and that I will never have. My brother and i are close. We don’t see much of each other because of distance, but we have a connection that is unbreakable and for many people over the years, almost unfathomable. I bit like twins I suppose. We’re close because our Mum died, there is little that will make children closer.
    What I want to tell you though is this; my Dad is the finest, most wonderful human being I know. He is my best friend. He is the first person I tell any news to, both good and bad. He is my inspiration and my hero. My Mum’s death brought him to his knees, but he carried on and he did absolutely everything he possibly could to compensate for our loss. I have never felt alone or without, indeed I feel I have an edge in certain situations because of my story, but it is my Dad who has allowed me to grow in this way.
    I have my own family now, my daughter is 24, and I have enjoyed all of the relationship aspects with her, that I didn’t have with my own Mum, and i have loved and continue to love every moment of them. My only hope is that I have made as much of a positive impact on her life as my Dad has on mine, and she in turn impacts on her own children’s lives in the same way.
    On 16th October 1971, my Dad had his heart ripped out. He’ll be 78 this November, on 10th in fact. He’s never gotten over my Mum’s death. We have our dinner every year on 16th October and we have a hug and a few tears, and look at some photos, and usually end up laughing about how awful she was at dancing!! But he is a living testimony to life after tragedy. He has overcome so much, given up so much, but remained the most constant and steadfast influence on both my brother and myself. I am in awe of what he has achieved and am immensely proud of him.
    I just want you to know that one day, your son will feel this too.
    All the very best to you and your son

    Annie

    • SHB
      July 30, 2013

      Annie your story has brought me to tears, I feel the same way about my dad who is now 78.He was 47 and I was 22 when we lost our mother, but he has done the same for me and my sister and has had another reasonably happy marriage. I think its only when you get the distance that you can look back and appreciate how far and how much you can cope with, To Ben you must just trust that whilst each day is a struggle, in different unexpected ways, you will cope but it will only be when you look back you will realise how well, in the meantime just trust us posters on your blog that all will be well, not the same as it was but a new well, if you’re still in doubt look back at how far you’ve come.

    • Bill Wright
      August 2, 2013

      Annie, your Dad is amazing. Thanks for sharing this.

  10. Nicole from Holland
    July 29, 2013

    It was the 2nd anniversary of my mother’s death last week. Didn’t shed a tear all day though, all cried out I guess from the previous weeks….So I totally get what you mean, which helps me in turn as well. To be understood in grief is so important. Wishing you and Jackson all the best from The Netherlands. X

  11. Andy
    July 29, 2013

    Wise move. Get locked down with your lad and your closest. I had to face these same 2 events in quick sucession a couple of months ago and can honestly relate with you on this ‘shitness’ of this one. Think you hit the nail on the head though, the anticipation and build up to the days are when you are really hurting and processing your emotions. My family and friends expected me to be a state on the days themselves but maybe missed that that was how I’d been for the 2 weeks prior and i was perhaps suprisingly to them actually feeling much stronger by the time the day itself arrived. Love and peace to you both during yet another testing time. Andy.

  12. Alan
    July 29, 2013

    If time out is required there needs to be no justification, just time out. Take care and be well.

  13. Felicity Wilson
    July 29, 2013

    What a profound gift that photo is. And how generous the gift of experience from Annie Turner. Ben, you seem to have readers digging deep within, and reaffirming just how decent, loyal & loving people can be.
    So now, eat ice creams and play!

  14. Celia Marszal Iannelli
    July 29, 2013

    Time out is an important component to healing……grief comes when it wants to; not on the appointed day or time….

  15. Thesethingsandme
    July 30, 2013

    Take as much as you need and see in these weeks however works for you xx

  16. Natalie hurst
    July 30, 2013

    Take care Ben x

  17. SHB
    July 30, 2013

    I wish you could understand how well you are doing, you are wise beyond your years and do try not to worry, all will be well x

  18. sharron
    July 30, 2013

    Bless you both
    There was going to eventually come a time that you would want to take time out from your Blog. You have phrased this time, just as I would… Just be Ben x

  19. Christopher Gowers
    July 30, 2013

    I have been following your ‘blog’ (dislike the term – you write poetically) all along and was wondering when you would take a break. Have a very good one with Ben. Many of share your story – but you articvulate yours so well and so sensitively, and I wish I had your skills – as a husband, father and now a widower.

    Christopher.

  20. Farah Malik
    July 30, 2013

    I don’t normally do this, but I read your article in the Guardian and was extremely moved, hence would like to wish you the very best. Your article touched me deeply and I think that you are a wonderful father. All my very best regards and heart felt support to you, Ben

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