Reminders and 18 months gone

Roger in France

Roger in France

I was reminded this morning, thanks to Facebook and those little notifications that tell you what you posted on this day in the past, that it’s been two years to the day that Roger was admitted to intensive care. Not for the first time but for the second and final time, as when he was to come home it was with the knowledge that he had cancer and it was terminal.

Not a great thing to be reminded of, hey? Thanks, Facebook.

That was 10 January 2015. My husband died on 17 July 2015. It’s coming up to 18 months, and when people ask me how long ago it was I can no longer say last year, I have to say ‘oh, it was 2015’, which makes it sound like ages ago. It doesn’t feel like ages ago though, it still feels raw and I still have moments where I forget he’s gone and think about telling him something, a joke or a funny anecdote, and then remember that I can’t.

If you’d have asked me where I thought I would be 18 months on I don’t think I could have told you, so luckily I have no expectations to answer to. In that time I have sold our house, moved to Yorkshire, started the children at new schools, changed my job, renovated parts of the new house, and gone vegan! I think he’d like that last part, being a long-term vegetarian and animal lover, although I don’t think he would have been happy about having almond milk in his tea.

Red Rocks balloons

I still have half of Roger’s ashes in my bedroom, after scattering the first half on the beach in Hoylake. I’m still wondering when and where I should let them go. I’m starting to plan a party for my 40th birthday – which should also have been his 50th – and wondering if I’ll be brave enough to take Sam and Flo abroad on my own this year.

It’s hurdle after hurdle, but on the sad days it does help to think about how far we’ve come. We’ve got here not by changing anything major, or following any sort of magic formula, but by just trying to move forward day by day. By just managing. Just surviving. Just being good enough.

So if you’re reading this because you too have lost someone you love and are wondering how to get through, I’m not sure I have any answers. I can say though that managing with daily life has got easier, the big waves of sadness are less frequent, but I don’t imagine they will ever go away.

And I wouldn’t want them to. After all, they are a reminder of you, of what we had and of what I lost. I know if you were here now you’d give me a hug and help me through, so just by pretending you are there to do that helps me stay strong inside.

My life has changed so much and so have I, because what I’ve been through has given me a perspective on life that I never thought I could have. I feel stronger, as I’ve already been broken and I’m still here. It’s not something I’d wish on anyone but I guess it’s one positive out of not very many.

So 18 months on, and I’m here, and that’s good enough for me.

x Julia

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  • Reply
    Natalia lynd Parry
    January 11, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Sending love n thoughts from us on wirral, i lost my friend in November after shed disappeared in October the day after she was at my house with her 3 yrold. She was found dead in Bromborough 26th nov. She was from yorkshire . I cant begin to imagine what you have gone through, losing a friend has been bad enough. So much respect for you Julia and i love your blogs. Much love lyndy (carolines sister) and family x

  • Reply
    Hayley @hayleyfromhome
    January 11, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    I think you were strong already Julia but what you’ve had to cope with has only made you stronger in so many ways, you’ve made a lot of big decisions in those eighteen months and just making it through day by day is more than enough. It’s nice that thinking of Rog can keep you going. Beautiful post, lots of love xx
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  • Reply
    Colin Moneypenny
    January 11, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Another beautiful post Julia together with a fab photo of Rog. After just losing my brother I can echo the sentiments, You’ve done brilliantly and he’s always going to be just out of sight helping you make the decisions. Love to you and the kids. Colin

  • Reply
    January 11, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    Time moves on but some things seem like yesterday. I think he would be so proud of where you are and every adventure is a big first and achievement. Keep taking those little steps, they all add up. I can’t believe it is 5 years in July for me, can’t quite believe it! xx
    Suz recently posted…Winter Photography – 13 Steps to Beautiful ImagesMy Profile

  • Reply
    January 11, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    And for 2017 it’s time to write the book. You have so much to give to people who are going through the same and you know how to explain what you’re going through. Here’s to being 40 this year. You can do this and can definitely tAke the kids away! Need to see you soon xx
    Karen recently posted…10 Reasons to Visit the National Maritime Museum Cornwall with KidsMy Profile

  • Reply
    January 12, 2017 at 12:28 am

    Glad you’re moving on, even though it’s very hard. Great memories to take forward in your heart. X

  • Reply
    January 12, 2017 at 7:42 am

    This is a beautiful post. My heart goes out to you, you are stronger than you think and doing an incredible job to raise your children and make this new life for you all. X

  • Reply
    Mackenzie Glanville
    January 12, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Oh the Facebook reminders! I am just so sorry you have to deal with this, my heart is with you. And yes go for it, head abroad!

  • Reply
    January 12, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    You are one ballsy woman and I think you are doing just great. Roger would be so proud of you but like you said… almond milk? Tsk lol
    RachelSwirl recently posted…Ditching The DietMy Profile

  • Reply
    Chloe: Picture Taker Memory Maker
    January 12, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    Oh gosh. I’ve only just come across your blog and this is the first post I’ve read. I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my Dad in February 2015 (completely unexpectedly and suddenly – I got told he was in hospital with suspected pneumonia, then two hours later I had a phone call asking me to make the decision to turn off his ventilator because actually it was advanced lung cancer and he wasn’t going to make the night. I didn’t even get to say goodbye). Like you, I’m struggling a bit with not being able to say ‘last year’ – ‘almost two years’ seems incomprehensible to me. The waves of sadness are definitely fewer (though when they do come they are just as intense) and most days I just get on with life because, well, because we do don’t we? I hope that as time goes on you continue to remember him in the way you want to and that you are able to enjoy your time with your children (because they carry part of him in them). I’m off now to explore the rest of your blog…
    Chloe: Picture Taker Memory Maker recently posted…LeapMy Profile

  • Reply
    Tracey Williams
    January 13, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Julia you are brave and beautiful. Deciding to move house and move schools is a major decision you made in the last 18 months. You did that and you should be so proud of yourself. I am sure Roger is very proud of you too. And for taking the kids abroad by yourself, yep you can do it. Hugs xx
    Tracey Williams recently posted…Little Loves – Mexican Hats, Meal Planning and a Trip to Chester ZooMy Profile

  • Reply
    January 13, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    An emotional post to read. But beautiful none the less. You give people hope. Sadness doesn’t pass, nither does fear, but that is when your bravery shines through. Thank you for sharing x
    Nell recently posted…Custom Mother's Portrait With a Quote – Personalized Photo Canvas Print or Printable Art, the choice is yours! by nellyscustomartMy Profile

  • Reply
    January 26, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Hi Julia, I’m new to following you in Instagram and your blog after recently starting my own blog and social platforms for it. I just wanted to say I think you are amazing. I’m sorry if that sounds odd coming from a total stranger but I lost my Mum last April to terminal cancer and your story is a real inspiration to me. What you have done and achieved since losing your partner is truly inspirational and I can only wish you all the very best for you and your kids in your future. Xx Blog on!

    • Reply
      January 27, 2017 at 10:29 am

      Hi Nicola, that is such a lovely comment on a day when I wasn’t feeling inspired at all! Thank you. I really appreciate it xx Julia

  • Reply
    March 2, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Beautifully written, as always. You have had to be so strong. You look like you’re doing a wonderful job with your kids too. Having also lost someone too soon, I totally empathise with having to say it was more than a year, in fact it is more than 4 years – which somehow makes it sound like old news (today’s chip paper and all that). But it’s not for you and your kids. It must still be so raw. You should feel really proud of how you’ve navigated and are ‘winning’. xx

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