Life as a Widower

A young widowed father opening up about living with loss

eight months

The day after I started writing this blog I published a post entitled Imagining It as a way of responding to the frequent comment, “I just can’t imagine what you’re going through”.

Six months to the day after my wife’s death I revisited that post to somehow help chart what the passage of time had done to my feelings. I thought the next natural milestone would be nine or 12 months, but this morning that somehow didn’t feel right.

It’s been eight months today since Desreen was killed. I’m sure there will be few eight month anniversaries of anything discussed in the world today, save for the odd adolescent romance. In business we plan and report in ‘quarters’ but rarely do we ever discuss ‘thirds’. If we did, it would be two-thirds of my year today.

But I’m actually not trying to make up more milestones than necessary to mark the death of my wife. I don’t need them because every day is significant to me. But when I woke up this morning I thought it would remiss of me not to update that early post again today. Not just because today might be seen as another marker in the sand, but because of what else has happened this week. With my grandma’s death, grief has interrupted grief. And that has made me feel feelings that I felt I should capture.

So this is how it feels to me after eight months.

It feels harsh.

Harsh because two days ago, when Jackson saw a picture of his great-grandma from a few years back looking healthier than she did a fortnight ago, he asked, “She better now?” and yet I had to tell him she’d gone.

Harsh because his reply was, “It’s okay, I’ll go and find her”.

Harsh because when I look at the pictures of Desreen and Grandma together it’s hard to believe that two of my three favourite women in the world are no longer here.

It feels like shock.

Shock because I think my mind is shutting out much of the pain that I will someday feel to somehow protect me from hysteria.

Shock because I’m not feeling anything very strongly this week.

It feels like confusion.

Confusion because for once I’m almost lost for words.

Confusion because this second bereavement in eight months has left me with so little to say about either today.

Confusion because I don’t know where my grief for one person stops and the other one starts.

Confusion because I’ve realised that grief can’t always be isolated and devoted to just one person.

Life and more death come along to interrupt its flow, throwing feelings into further turmoil and creating more confusion than ever.

Ben & Des

9 comments on “eight months

  1. the mmmmm family
    July 10, 2013

    Hi Ben I’m sure you have probably heard this many times before but my heart really feels for you. I am fairly new to blogging so I haven’t had the chance to read all your posts but the ones I have read have melted my heart. Grief is confusing. To lose two people you love so much in 8 months is harsh and the grief felt doesn’t double, it is not that simple, it gets magnifed far more than that. I think you have dealt with all that life has thrown at you these past 8 months with some dignity which is helping your little boy Jackson come to terms with his loss too. I know also that you are helping so many other people with their grief as the sheer number of your followers is testament to that.

  2. menelikcharles
    July 10, 2013

    Grief/mourning is the cruelest and most unforgiving of emotions. There is never closure. Just repression masquerading as forgetting. Then there’s survivor guilt to wrap it all up in.

  3. I imagine that grief is very heavy indeed and your load is all the greater this week. I imagine that you are tired of crying, of being sad, of carrying the burden alone. I imagine that somehow if I could just hug you it would take all your pain away and you would feel- however briefly- calm and content. I wish I could do more than imagine your grief away xxx

      July 10, 2013

      I’m fortunate because I don’t carry the burden alone. I have my son, my family and my friends and they are all wonderful and a great comfort to me x

  4. 1writeplace
    July 10, 2013

    I’ve been following and crying with you for awhile now. This one got me even more. I too am trying to deal with one loss after another–my husband, sister and 3 y.o. grandson. You said the word shock and that is what it feels like.
    You have a child to raise and I can barely manage just me. Still, I’m glad you are here, standing up and shouldering what must be done, loving that child.
    Take care,

    July 11, 2013

    I don’t know what to say other than that you are a brave and inspirational man, whose blog has touched my heart and many others, and who is no doubt helping others going through the same thing by sharing your story. x

  6. Greet Grief
    July 26, 2013

    I can so identify with your emotions – I also was a young widow with a young child when my husband died suddenly many years ago. I also blog about my journey and one thing I will never forget is the fifth month for me. I have since learned that we are in a protective bubble when grief introduces itself – then with time, we take in more and more of the realities of our situation. That’s when confusion, shock and disbelief seem to run rampant. Be patient with the process, one hour at a time!

  7. choudhurymonica
    April 30, 2014

    human heart can only take so much grief in one go , and when it becomes too much ..there has to be a release of some sort ….tears , company of others , chats
    music ….i do not know what you find helpful but may be you can conciously develop what helps you more . it is easy to sermon so i want you to understand you are admirable

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