Life as a Widower

A young widowed father opening up about living with loss

the end

This is Life as a Widower’s very first illustrated guest post by Anders Nilsen

I first read about Anders Nilsen, a cartoonist from the States, in an interview with The Guardianwhich was published in summer this year. I’d never seen his illustrations before but I was drawn in by the article and instantly struck by the parallels in our lives. Like my wife, Desreen, his girlfriend, Cheryl, died too young. And like I, Anders poured his pain into a book about her death, which is full of both heartbreak and humour. It’s called The End and it’s truly breathtaking.

In this extract, Anders depicts the conversations he had with Cheryl in his own mind after her death. I found myself instantly moved to tears by his work, so I’ll let his illustrations do the rest of the talking.

Thanks for letting me publish this, Anders, and all the best for the future.

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15 comments on “the end

  1. the mmmmm family
    October 24, 2013

    Beautiful, heartbreaking, poignant and so eloquent. Made me cry. X

  2. seanog57
    October 24, 2013


  3. Jenny Hunt
    October 24, 2013

    OMG that is amazing. I am still having those conversations and it will be 8 years at Christmas.

  4. singlemotherbigdreams
    October 24, 2013

    You may have seen this already but I just came across it and it struck me as similar to yours and Anders’ stories but he used photography…

    All so very sad.


  5. MrsAS
    October 24, 2013

    very powerful, thank you for sharing x

  6. Nicole from Holland
    October 24, 2013

    Reading this on my phone, so a bit difficult to read, but what I can read is absolutely brilliant! Made me laugh and cry at the same time. xoxo

  7. Rhodissimo
    October 24, 2013

    Had me in pieces. So hard to accept that Anders is probably right, and Paul isn’t answering me when I talk to him in my head – it’s what I’d like to hear. But for now I’m holding on to hope x

  8. Bill Wright
    October 24, 2013

    Oh shit, the penultimate box got me and I’m on the train. It must resonate with so many of us bereaved. Activating stiff upper lip.

  9. Linzi
    October 24, 2013

    Beautiful. Simple and heartwarming x

  10. Eran
    October 24, 2013

    This. is. brilliant! Thank you.

  11. beverleyann
    October 24, 2013

    This is awesome. Can relate to every slide. Combination of laughter and tears.

  12. Edward Baker
    October 24, 2013

    I would never have believed that a few pictures and words could hold such power. Nothing has moved me as much recently as this just did. It’s taken me about half an hour to get myself back under control. Thank you

  13. Fi
    October 24, 2013

    So sad, but so true xx

  14. Castle Builder
    October 26, 2013

    Reblogged this on An Unwelcome Journey and commented:
    I’ve been following Ben’s excellent blog ‘Life as a Widower’ ever since I started my own writing. He lost his Desreen the same week Barbara died. Twenty years younger, and raising three year old son alone, he simply puts me to shame. I have avoided re-blogging until now, but this guest post from Anders Nilsen should be seen by anyone who knows someone in grief. And if you want to know what courage in the face of a much tougher loss than mine looks like, read more of Ben’s stuff.

  15. smc68300
    November 2, 2015

    Reblogged this on Grief Is A Cliche.

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