Nine months and still going

Nine months flatly

Nine months flatly

It’s nine months now since I lost my husband, Roger, to cancer.

I can’t say the pain of loss is getting any easier, but I do feel like I can cope with those desperate, dark feelings a little better – even if I can’t predict when they will come.

Despite the past few weeks being filled with special days for our family – like birthdays, anniversaries and holidays – it’s been the times when I’ve been reminded of him and it’s caught me off guard that have been the hardest. I can prepare for a birthday, but I can’t prepare for those moments when I forget what’s happened and think he’s still here. The moments when I think you see him in the street, or crack a private joke and remember there’s no-one there who gets it anymore.

It’s the times when I want to tell him something, or ask his advice and know that I can’t. When I wonder if he’d like something I’ve cooked, or something I’ve written, even something I’ve just watched on TV.

And like all those times when I want to ask his advice on everything from where to go on holiday, how to fix the dishwasher (he told me to renew the warranty, I never did), to making more grown up life decisions like should we move house, how to get the right mortgage, all the bigger things.

All those times are when I’ve missed him the most. When I most need a hug, he’s no longer here; when I put my arm out in bed, he’s no longer there either. Mostly, that one’s not so bad as I usually reach out and find my son there with the ten or so toys he’s sneaked into my room with him.

What I’m finding is it’s all about learning to be in the world without that special someone who makes you smile. Learning to live without your favourite person, your other half. I so often think of what Rog would have said to life’s ups and downs. He never took himself seriously and a day wouldn’t go by without him teasing me, or joking around about something. He had the Liverpool sense of humour and loved a good wind-up.

A note close up

He was so easy going, such good company and we rarely disagreed. When I think about how much I’ve lost I can’t bear it. I know I’ll never find another like Rog, nor do I want to, but it breaks my heart to think about it.

Despite all this I see so much of him in our children. The other week, when we were at a craft fair (where we bought our fairy garden kit), Sam systematically moved from stall to stall, quizzing each owner about his or her products, how they were made, how much they cost, how they took them home.

It really made me smile to see he has definitely inherited his dad’s inquiring mind, sharp interviewing technique and attention to detail. Rog was a tough sub editor and there was no question you could ask that he hadn’t already thought of! I did wonder what he would have made of his son giving these sellers the third degree – no doubt he would have laughed and pretended he was nothing like that himself.

Sam’s also inherited his dad’s taste in music, always insisting on AC/DC in the car, turned up loud, so he can sing along to Girl’s Got Rhythm (back seat rhythm). Awkward!

He’s not the only one who loves a bit of rock, as I caught Florrie sitting on the loo yesterday, singing sweetly to Highway to Hell. Her dad would have been so proud!

When I read back to the posts I wrote after three and six months, I’m glad I put my feelings down on paper as it makes it easier now to see how things can progress. At three months, I’d just started to read a few books by women who had been widowed, some I could relate to, some I just wasn’t ready to look at.

I remember when I was sent the book When Bad Things Happen in Good Bikinis by Helen Bailey, she herself messaged me to say it was ok if I wasn’t up to reading it yet. It would make a good doorstop, or drinks mat, until I wanted to delve into it some more. At this time, Helen is missing from home and I really, really hope there is some good news of her soon.

The books did help, not only to find a sense that I wasn’t on my own, but also to have someone say it was ok to feel the way I did. It’s quite a comfort really, as sometimes voicing your true feelings out loud can sound ridiculous to people who haven’t been through the same thing. Everyone wants to hear from someone who has been through a similar experience about something don’t they, and maybe this is why people really like to read my blog posts about loss.

So reading my three months on post back now, I kind of feel like I have and haven’t moved forward. Roger’s clothes are still in the wardrobe; his belongings are still in our room. But I’m starting to put in place something which I started thinking about at the six month mark. How to plan for ‘option b’.

The fact that I’m starting to think more about our future is a big step, as it’s something I wouldn’t have been able to focus on a few months ago. And with the arrival of spring a bit of warmth has come into our souls, with our first picnic on the beach (albeit a cold one), our first restock of ice lollies in the freezer, and a Portuguese summer holiday to look forward to.

These things might be without my favourite person, but they are still happening, and they are happening alongside my two little pieces of Rog – my noisy, cuddly, manic but pretty happy kids. I wonder how we’ll be feeling 12 months on – but I know wherever we are, we’ll be thinking of our missing piece.

x Julia

Nine months

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  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    I can’t believe it’s been that long. I smiled when j read about the Liverpool sense of humour, I have some good friends from there and know exactly what you mean. When my aunt died over a year and half ago I just kept seeing glimpses of her all over the place. In shops and on random busy streets. It’s such a strange thing isn’t it? Like for almost a tiny fraction of a millisecond you think you see them. I hope you are ok and it sounds like your lovely kids are such a bundle of joy and energy xx ooh and best of luck in your category, I hope you win it!!
    Notmyyearoff recently posted…Watching the boysMy Profile

    • Reply
      April 30, 2016 at 6:30 am

      Ah thank you Tas. I really do keep thinking I see him, it is hard but kind of nice too. Thank you for the luck! 🙂 x

  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    I am glad that in some ways you have moved on and I am glad you have things to look forward to – a holiday will be good for all of you, even without that special piece x
    Donna recently posted…A Month of Running #SpringForwardMy Profile

    • Reply
      April 30, 2016 at 6:06 am

      Thanks Donna. Yes, we are all really looking forward to it, it’s so good to have things in the diary to think about isn’t it! x

  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    My husband died 14 years ago when we had been married for 33 years. He was my best friend and , like you I couldn’t imagine life without him or ever wanting to replace him. I have identified so much with your experiences and feelings.
    Well fourteen years on I have made a new life for myself, although, I still think of Robert every day and the life we would have had. Every time I achieve something new I like to imagine him watching me and feeling proud and this has helped me to cope.
    Things may seem hard going at the moment but, believe me, there is light at the end of the tunnel and I’m sure your husband would be very proud of you.

    • Reply
      April 30, 2016 at 6:02 am

      Hi Elaine, thank you so much for your comment, it really helps to hear from people who have experienced the same thing and survived – and also thrived! I’m sure I will always think of Roger, no matter what happens in my life now. Lots of love xx

  • Reply
    Claire @ Clarina's Contemplations
    April 28, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Beautifully written… You mention how helpful it is to hear from people who have been through something similar… But I have also found this so helpful to read as someone who has not experienced loss in this way. A friend lost her husband to cancer three weeks ago… I just feel so awfully inadequate and at a loss to know how to support and what to say. Somehow your posts are helping us too… Giving us a window. Thank you for bring real and honest and open about your experiences. Lots of love . Xxx
    Claire @ Clarina’s Contemplations recently posted…One Classy Hen…My Profile

    • Reply
      April 30, 2016 at 6:03 am

      Oh Claire thank you, I am so sorry to hear about your friend. I have often thought I wouldn’t know what to do if this had happened to a friend – one of my friends suggested I write a post about it to help others, so maybe I’ll do that! xx

  • Reply
    April 29, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    You have the ability of making something so horrible, come out quite beautifully in words. I’m genuinely very sad that you and your family have had to go through this, but I do think your writing must be of help to anyone experiencing the same loss. I am really pleased to hear that you are making progress, albeit gradual. Well done on your award nomination too, very well deserved!! xxx
    Kerry recently posted…Spring Shoes, Courtney Barnett, & PaintingMy Profile

    • Reply
      April 30, 2016 at 6:05 am

      Kerry, thank you so much, that’s really lovely of you to say! I am really pleased about the awards, though not expecting to win at all, it’s nice to be up there and to go to the do! Something to look forward to 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    April 30, 2016 at 7:24 am

    I think when we loose loved ones it is most definitely those family moments when we forget and then have the harsh reminder of how life feels without them. It surfaces the rawness a little more. I feel the loss of my daughter more so on the kids birthdays for sure.
    I can’t imagine how it feels though to have lost a best friend and lover and have moments where you think you see them or miss their humour, incredibly hard!
    Its nice that he lives on through the kids and can remind you of all of the wonderful things he possessed x

  • Reply
    Beth @ Twinderelmo
    May 2, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    It’s lovely that you have the ability to look back and see how you are getting on. Congrats on completing the 10k xxxxxx

  • Reply
    Claire at Life Love and Dirty Dishes
    May 4, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    I can’t even begin to imagine how you keep going after loosing someone you love. But to keep going and help others in the process with your beautifully written posts is truly inspirational. x
    Claire at Life Love and Dirty Dishes recently posted…Rookie Mistakes – Life Post BabyMy Profile

  • Reply
    Fionnula Three Sons Later
    May 9, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Oh Julia, you write so well about your situation and loss. It is so moving to read. I can’t imagine how I would feel in the same situation, but it sounds like you are managing well. I like the sound of your holiday plans. Moving along with life with a positive outlook is the best you can do for yourself and the children.

  • Reply
    Caro | The Twinkle Diaries
    May 9, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Gosh — that seems to have gone quickly and slowly at the same time. I can’t believe it’s 9 months — it’s sped by — but equally you are coping so well, it almost feels like it happened much longer ago. I’m so full of pride and admiration for you, my lovely friend. I think I would have crumbled in the same position but you have taken everything that’s been thrown at you and dealt with it admirably. Rog would be so proud. Lots of love to you, S and F xxxxx
    Caro | The Twinkle Diaries recently posted…A mini sitting room makeover in Pantone Rose QuartzMy Profile

  • Reply
    Siena Says
    May 22, 2016 at 8:15 am

    What a beautiful post. My brother lost his wife 19 years ago and whilst things have become easier to deal with over the years I know he thinks about her every single day. He’s always said when you have children you just have to go on, the children give you no option!

    I’m going to show him your post I think he would really identify with it x

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