Life as a Widower

A young widowed father opening up about living with loss

just how

Nothing poetic. Nothing profound. And the shortest post I’ve ever written.

But as I pack up our old life to build a new home with my son, I’m suddenly left dumbstruck by how the hell this horrendous situation has come to pass.

I’ve just felt myself stabbed by the pain of my wife losing her life long before the use by date on her cosmetics, which I’m struggling to know what to do with.

I’m newly devastated that the female presence in our lives has gone, as its absence reveals itself in unworn jewellery, hair pins and lingerie all around our room.

I’ve never ever faced my future with such a heavy heart or with such a bad taste in my mouth for clichés about new beginnings.

And for once I’ve nothing else to say.

40 comments on “just how

  1. Jenny
    April 14, 2013

    Be brave lots of people wishing you well

  2. Emilie Adams
    April 14, 2013

    I know this is hard and I wish you a lot of ‘courage et patience’ for this new beginning. Make your new house as cosy, warm and stylish as Desreen would have done, with a little girly touch here and there…
    Lots of love,
    Emilie x

  3. Ben Dyke
    April 14, 2013

    Mate, with you on all that. It does get better, and easier, but the pain remains and catches you when you least expect it. I remember the devastation of going in the loft and having to go through all Hannah’s clothes when I moved with the kids about 6 months after she died. Nearly every item was a memory, a place, a conversation, a closeness. I get caught out still all the time, a few years on (and newly married), by seeing Hannah’s handwriting in various places still. Its like she’s that close but she isnt. I feel for you going through this stage and I am sorry. I hope writing the blog is helpful for you and that it helps just a little bit knowing other men know what its like. It definitely helps me.

    • lifeasawidower.com
      April 24, 2013

      Thanks Ben. It’s hard to explain. I don’t feel like it helps me but I feel as certain release when I commit my thoughts to words. I guess I’m contradicting myself in saying that but I don’t get a sense of ‘Whoopee, that’s me sorted!’

      I’m motivated by the thought that the writing can help others and that, one day, it’ll allow my son to understand.

  4. Dee Cane
    April 14, 2013

    Every morning just getting up and getting on with it is a major achievement, so sometimes it’s ok to just feel sad and wallow. All of us in this horrible situation do it, just don’t feel guilty or be to hard on yourself & see what mood tomorrow brings. Xxx

  5. Sam
    April 14, 2013

    It may be short but it says it all. Xx

  6. Gill
    April 14, 2013

    This is the saddest post I’ve read, You DO have a future Ben…Just look at your wonderful son, and know that we are all here for you. xxx

  7. Cath
    April 14, 2013

    Sending you love and thinking of you no words x

  8. Sally Morrison
    April 14, 2013

    That is so sad, I hope your new home will be a happy one full of happy times with your Son

  9. sallym6176sallym6176
    April 14, 2013

    So sad … Hope your new home will be filled with happy times with your Son

  10. lottiesc
    April 14, 2013

    I don’t know if we ever fully understand how it is possible that we have lost our life partner, the mother/father of our children or that a young person has been torn from life and all what it has to offer. It is nearly 8 years since my husband and father of my two boys was torn from our side and I still sometimes find it unfathomable. I can only offer you the biggest of hugs for those important moments – long or short – where one just simply doesn’t want to be strong and cope even if one could. Here’s a poem which I got via WAY in 2006.

    ME

    Hold me close and go away
    Please visit me and please don’t stay
    Talk to me but please don’t speak
    I need you NOW – come back next week.

    Emotions muddled, needs unknown
    To be with others or on my own?
    To scream out loud? To rant and shout?
    Or hide away and push you out?

    I smile at you – “She’s not that bad”
    I shout at you – “She’s going mad”
    I speak to you – “What do i say?”
    I show my tears – “Quick, walk away”

    It’s not catching, the grief I feel
    I can’t pretend that it’s not real
    I carry on as best I know
    But this pain inside just won’t go.

    So true friends, please, accept the lot
    I shout, I cry, I lose the plot
    I don’t know what I need today
    So hold me close and go away.

    • lifeasawidower.com
      May 10, 2013

      Do you have any idea who wrote this?

      • lottiesc
        May 10, 2013

        I am sorry but I don’t – I am sure the WAY newsletter people would be able to tell.

        I’ve been following your blog and commented every now and then since the morning I sat in a hotel room in Manchester watching you live on BBC. I can relate to you extremely well and would be happy to be a guest blogger if you were ever looking for one. Lottie

      • lifeasawidower.com
        May 10, 2013

        Please feel free. Anytime your ready and whatever you would like to cover x

      • lottiesc
        May 10, 2013

        23rd May it’s 8 years, so most likely then.

  11. Sarah Pointer
    April 14, 2013

    You are not alone. Grief has taken my breath away all weekend, a different kind to what I have experienced these last 5 months. This too shall pass x

  12. Sarah Martin
    April 14, 2013

    A crap situation, a hard task and, despite all the promise of a new beginning, the feeling probably that it’s the last thing you really want. I feel for you Ben. Just hang on in there xx

    • lifeasawidower.com
      April 24, 2013

      I don’t think I’m looking for or expecting a new beginning so at least I can’t be disappointed. I’ve just bought some bricks and mortar. Hopefully one day it’ll feel like a home but we’ll cross that threshold when we come to it x

  13. grant
    April 14, 2013

    Tough times buddy…thinking of you x

  14. lesley
    April 14, 2013

    Thinking of you Ben.x

  15. Emma Williams
    April 14, 2013

    Thank you for your honesty. Forget rubbish about being strong. Feel the emotions. Show your little man that we are all confused and bewildered at times and show him what true love is. Thinking of you x

  16. Debbie
    April 14, 2013

    It’s the intrusion of stark reality that hits you every now and again , you’ll be ok just keep that bottle of Perfume, I have a bottle
    Of issey miake its a comforting thing to cling onto when im at my lowest, nothing else to give apart from good thoughts and hugs as do your friends xx

  17. Felicity Wilson
    April 14, 2013

    Sometimes it can be helpful to start a little ritual of giving yourself a mark out of 10 each day when your little boy is tucked up in bed. Some days you may be minus 84, others, 1 1/2.
    Also, when friends & family offer their help, accept.

  18. She
    April 15, 2013

    Hi Ben,
    i”ve been following you for a few weeks now & everything you say I can empathise with. It”s been 3 years now for me and all I can say is:
    ‘you will get through this and you will stay strong for your boy, even though your heart has been torn apart as mine has’
    If we didn’t have our special little miracles there would be no point!

    Sending love & strength. X

  19. Tash Dahling
    April 15, 2013

    I remember going through my mother in law’s belongings not long after she passed. In her handbag was receipts, even old tissues. I wondered how we could bare to through any of it away.

    • Tash Dahling
      April 16, 2013

      Most humble of apologies for the typos and spelling mistakes. Through/throw. Oh the shame!

      • lifeasawidower.com
        April 24, 2013

        On I know than feeling all too well. I wounds me every time I do it x

  20. Alison
    April 15, 2013

    Unfortunately there is nothing you or anyone can say because absolutely no one can put ‘things’ right.
    It’s so difficult to bend your mind around this one so sometimes it’s better to not even try.
    Lots of love to you both xx ali

    • lifeasawidower.com
      April 24, 2013

      I’m with you on that. The more I write the more I realise that these moments are kind of episodic. I never feel any feeling or think any thought all of the time. Expect from loneliness and missing my wife.

  21. Sharron
    April 16, 2013

    You keep making me cry Ben , Nothing that I say, to empathise with you will take away that feeling inside your heart.Although I can talk to your mind and say take your time Ben, just take your time x

    • lifeasawidower.com
      April 24, 2013

      That’s something I tell myself to do all the time but I’m inherently impatient and I don’t know how. Maybe I can learn.

  22. macrothings
    April 19, 2013

    I’m sitting at home alone, surrounded by the essence of my wife, her eye for detail; her taste in art, every niche echoes her being. I loved all those things about her and can’t imagine putting anything in boxes. We had no children, no close family with whom I can share my pain or the memories I’m surrounded by.

    Its four months since my wife died, and I had never felt alone in the previous 37 years.

    • lifeasawidower.com
      April 24, 2013

      It’s horrible but I’ve unpacked it all at the other end so it’s still all with us

  23. Naomii Chaplain
    April 19, 2013

    Wow that poem by from WAY via Lottiesc is amazing.

    Thinking of you and Jackson in your new home and wishing you all the best. x

  24. wyn
    April 20, 2013

    Gday mate hang in there, i lost my wife six months ago i know it’s hard, i have trouble, but we have to keep going, The pain hopefully, will subside,be strong,that’s what they would wont, all the best mate, we are all with you, Cheers Wyn.

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