Life as a Widower

A young widowed father opening up about living with loss

inspiring friends

A few days after my wife died I opened up a new email account and asked people to send me their memories of her. At the time the messages I was hoping to receive had just one purpose: to provide me with content for Desreen’s eulogy. Naturally there was already a lot I wanted to say but having only met in our mid-twenties I was missing what should have a been a quarter of a lifetime of firsthand accounts of her experiences on Earth. Stories, quotes, recollections and photographs poured in from people I knew well and people I’d never met; I had a whole new picture of the person I already thought I knew so well. I met Desreen the child, Desreen the schoolgirl, Desreen the McDonald’s table cleaner, Desreen the fashionista, Desreen the party animal and, sometimes, Desreen the terrible – I’ve never known anyone quite so adept at being simultaneously charming and really quite shocking. I spent much of the eight years of our relationship holding my breath through panic of what inappropriate thing she might do or say next.

After her funeral the emails inevitably dried up; I suppose the focus shifted from Desreen to Jackson and me. She was gone and desperately missed, and I suppose her life became concentrated into memories – some wonderful, some painful. And  in the beginning the pain was still so raw as her friends, family, Jackson and I attempted to pick up the pieces and carry on as best as we could with our lives after her death.

Right now it makes me sad when I think of her presence fading. Of course I completely understand that I can’t bring her back but that doesn’t stop me wanting to keep her story alive. When I look at my little boy I know how blessed I am to have my own vivid and vibrant memories of Desreen, but it crushes me that his have been cut so short. No doubt that’s why I’ve made every effort to capture, record and retain as much of her life and spirit as possible. I’m pretty tough of myself, though; nothing is ever quite enough. And that’s why I had the idea to let some other people step forward and help me out.

Over the coming weeks I’ll call upon the help of our friends and hand over my blog’s guest posts to other people who also knew and loved Desreen. My observations about grief will occasionally be peppered with uplifting stories and contributions about a wonderful life we now miss but still cherish. A seemingly endless pool of creativity and talent will evoke fantastic memories of an amazing woman through writing, poetry, music, art, imagery, fashion and design, all in celebration and loving memory of my wife. She inspired me so much in life and, knowing what’s coming, I’m so moved to see how much see continues to inspire others in death.

Desreen on a surprise Valentine's Day trip to Paris (she surprised me).

Desreen on a surprise Valentine’s Day trip to Paris (she surprised me).

7 comments on “inspiring friends

  1. Niki
    February 7, 2014

    Hi Ben,

    I knew Des in my late teens when she was in her early twenties and we worked together briefly. I hadn’t seen her since glastonbury about six years ago before she was taken. I think of her so often and wonder how it’s possible that a person who was such a force of nature and who’s personality was so enviable isn’t here any more. She was one of the most ridiculous people I’ve ever met and could fill any silence with the most outrageous statements or questions, which never failed to to make me laugh!

    I also never look at a pigeon without thinking about her irrational fear that they were destined to get their feet caught in her weave!

    Really looking forward to hearing other peoples memories of her. X

  2. Carrie
    February 7, 2014

    My husband died nearly 2 years ago and I can totally understand your need to keep your wife’s amazing talents alive.
    My husband created a way of teaching mathematics that was so beautiful in its logic and simplicity that his genius had to be kept alive. All he ever wanted was for everyone to love and understand maths the way he did. For the schools who have adopted the programme wholeheartedly, they are seeing children (all children) flourish in and enjoy a subject hated by many. It is so important, as you say, that we keep the creativity, talent and wonderful memories alive of someone so amazing. Thank you as ever. X

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  4. ELVIRA DURO
    February 23, 2014

    MI ESPOSO Y YO LLEVAMOS 52 AÑOS DE CASADOS Y SIEMPRE ENAMORADOS. CUANDO NUESTRO PRIMER HIJO SE ENAMORÓ, ROGÁBAMOS QUE CONOCIERA EL AMOR COMO NOSOTROS Y ASÍ FUE. ERAN TAN FELICES!. PERO SU ESPOSA, ERA UNA HIJA PARA NOSOTROS, ENFERMÓ Y MURIÓ DEJANDO TRES HIJITOS PRE-ADOLESCENTES. LO SUPERAMOS, PERO LA FELICIDAD SE DESGAJÓ. NOS FALTA SU RISA Y SUS BELLOS OJOS AZULES PÍCAROS. MURIÓ HACE 8 AÑOS Y NOS PARECE QUE FUE AYER…Y TAMBIÉN QUE FUE HACE UN SIGLO…A VECES ME PARECE QUE VOY A DESPERTAR, Y ELLA ESTARÁ RIENDO POR LA CASA. POR SUS HIJOS, Y POR NUESTRO HIJO, DEBIMOS ACOMODAR LA CARGA DE LA PENA Y SEGUIR CAMINO…PERO NI TODOS LOS FAMILIARES NUESTROS MUERTOS TIEMPO ATRÁS…ALCANZAN A SUMAR LA PENA QUE ÉSTA PÉRDIDA, NOS PRODUJO… SEGUIR, SE SIGUE PERO POR SUPUESTO…YA NUNCA MÁS IGUAL. A VECES, PIENSO QUE DEBIÉRAMOS OLVIDAR TOTALMENTE LO SUFRIDO Y SENTIR QUE NUNCA PASÓ… PERO SABEMOS QUE ÉSO ES IMPOSIBLE… SOLO NOS RESTA MIRAR PARA ADELANTE, LEVANTAR LA CABEA, SONREÍR Y DAR GRACIAS POR HABERLA TENIDO, CONOCIIDO Y AMADO. Y BUSCAR LOS “PARECIDOS” EN SUS HIJOS, PARA NO PERDERLA DEL TODO. QUE TENGAS PAZ EN TU CORAZÓN…ELVIRA

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