Loss

Six months and looking for inspiration

Notebook and flowers http://rainbeaubelle.com

Notebook and flowers http://rainbeaubelle.com

It’s funny how these little milestones don’t really mean anything but when you sit and think about them, they feel so major. It’s been six months now since Rog died. That’s six months without my best friend, the one who made me laugh every day, right up until the day he passed away. Six months without the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

Back in October I wrote about how I was feeling three months on, and now I’m glad I did. It means I have something to read back and compare how I felt then to how I feel now. Not that much has changed, I think some of it has just become ever so slightly easier to live with, out of necessity.

Our room – sorry my room – still has his things around, but that’s the way I like it. I have started sorting through some of his clothes, but only the things I could never be sentimental about like running gear or worn-down shoes he’d saved from years before.

My husband could have a pretty dark sense of humour and I remember so well one day when he was getting dressed, he looked at me and said: “Just think about all the extra wardrobe space you’ll have when I’m gone!” We laughed a bleak laugh then, but now it makes me smile when I think about whether I can steal a few coathangers from his side of the cupboard. I can see him looking at me and saying “I told you you’d do that!”

Six months though – to think that amount of time has passed is pretty unreal. Six months has passed and I am still here – like I wrote before, who would have thought three months could go by and I would still be here without him, let alone six. It has, and I am ok. I wouldn’t say happy, but I am ok, and there are moments of happiness in my days. I have so much affection from the kids and it’s such a blessing, and with my little one being quite clingy still she always has lots of hugs for me, which is a massive comfort.

Notebook and bangle from Black and Sigi http;//rainbeaubelle.com

I do feel apprehensive when I think about the future and wonder how our lives will pan out. Before, all our decisions were made as a team, but now it’s all down to me. I’m hoping that by slowly making some good choices, I will start to feel stronger and better able to enjoy life again.

I’ve started running again, for example, which has made me feel physically so much better and helped relieve a bit of tension and stress. I’ve booked a few fun things in like going away with friends, nights out and have started thinking I may brave this caravan lark soon too! Yes I know you’ve heard that one before…

Someone told me to try to make sure I wasn’t living always in the past, and at the time I thought it a pretty odd and cold thing to say. It’s been on my mind a lot since and although I don’t really want to move out of the past and my past life if you like, I know the choice isn’t really there. To grow and flourish I have to find a way of looking forward to my future.

Of all the things I have read about grief, none has struck a chord as much as the piece Sheryl Sandberg wrote a month after losing her husband suddenly last year.

She used Facebook to communicate how she felt – she is the chief operating officer, after all – and so far it has been liked more than 900,000 times and had 400,000 plus shares.

If you’re one of the thousands who have already read it, you’ll know all about her plan to “kick the shit out of Option B”. Option B being of course, the path she didn’t choose but the one she must now follow. Like anyone in this position, being alone and without the one you love isn’t something you would ever, ever choose but it can’t be changed, so sometimes you just have to think of what you can do instead.

Sandberg’s husband Dave Goldberg passed away a few months before mine and I remember reading her post while I was sat with Roger in the hospice one day, knowing in the not so distant future those might be my thoughts, my feelings as I too would be widowed.

Notebook

It made me cry then and it makes me cry now, but I can read it back now and feel ever so slightly stronger as time goes on.

She wrote: “I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning.

“These past thirty days, I have spent many of my moments lost in that void. And I know that many future moments will be consumed by the vast emptiness as well. But when I can, I want to choose life and meaning.”

She describes how she cried to a male friend who offered to take her child to an event. She said no, she wanted Dave to do it – or her ‘option A’ – but her friend replied there was no option A anymore, so she should “kick the shit out of option B”.

Now I’m not really ready yet (at all) to get on with my option B – but if I was, would I even know what it looked like? When everything you think will happen in your life is ripped apart, where do you start with imagining what your ‘new’ life might be like? There seems to be so many choices I could make, so many changes I could make, and although I’m starting to feel like I should make some I’m still not sure what is the right way to go.

At the moment I’m still taking each day as it comes and making sure I just keep going. I’m assured things will get easier and I suppose I can see that’s true when I look back to how I felt just a few months ago. I know the grief of losing someone I love so much will never go away and we have a long stretch ahead of us. At least I’m starting to see now that it might just – very slowly – start to become that tiny bit easier.

If you like reading this kind of thing, more inspiration can be found at the blogs One Fit Widow, Victoria Milligan and Planet Grief.

X Julia

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61 Comments

  • Reply
    Carie
    January 17, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Kicking the shit out of Option B sounds like the perfect ambition. Sheryl Sandberg’s piece was incredibly moving, as are your words and I think you’re doing a smashing job with option B.
    Carie recently posted…Kitty and Mummy and a camera or twoMy Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 17, 2016 at 8:30 am

      Thanks Carie, I will try! xx

      • Reply
        Estelle
        February 5, 2016 at 6:42 pm

        Your last paragraph sounds so positive. It reads like the black hole which appears in the centre of our life whilst we deal with grief….is slowly shrinking and the white light around the outside of the black hole… is becoming brighter. Hope that makes sense.

  • Reply
    Gemma P
    January 17, 2016 at 8:31 am

    If it’s any help I think you’re doing a wonderful job of kicking the shit out of option B already. x

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 17, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      Thanks Gemma! Very kind ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

  • Reply
    Mini Travellers/Mini Ventures
    January 17, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Kicking the shit out of option B, what a great way of describing it. I also like the Helen Mirren quote I shared last night ‘use the words Fuck Off much more frequently’. There is a theme! Lots of love and can’t wait for our weekend away.
    Mini Travellers/Mini Ventures recently posted…My Captured Moment โ€“ BeachMy Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 17, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      Haha Karen! Yes, I think Helen Mirren was right too, a very wise woman! Yay for getting away xxx

  • Reply
    Suz
    January 17, 2016 at 8:39 am

    A lovely piece and you will find that as time goes by, kicking the shit out of Option B will become much easier. I firmly believe that I have to live my life for both of us now. I want to have loads of things to tell him when we finally see each other again and that won’t happen unless I make it happen! Decisions are hard and I am still trying to work out who I am now, but I take a small step into my new life each day. At nearly 4 years I am still trying to figure it all out. You are amazing for 6months in to this journey and option B can be as exciting as option A, you just have to work out what it looks like and accept that there is no other option xxx

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 17, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      Suz, thank you so much for commenting. It is so nice to hear from someone who has been through the same. Thank you xx

  • Reply
    Leigh - Headspace Perspective
    January 17, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Oh option B. I wish we didn’t have to Julia but I think we’re both kicking the shit out of our own Option Bs in our own way. I think sometimes the darkness can seem all-encompassing but we do find the life and meaning too. The sands of grief are constantly shifting; I resisted living option B for a very long time and in many ways still do. But that love for Hugo is still there. While things do get a little easier the pain is always there because so is the love. I think it’s important to remember there’s no right ways or wrong ways and how you feel about things can shift constantly. Beautiful piece as ever, sending love xxx
    Leigh – Headspace Perspective recently posted…Let It Go?My Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 17, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      Thank you Leigh. You are right, things do change all the time don’t they and I think a lot of it is about acceptance. Much love xx

  • Reply
    Colette
    January 17, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Talk about “rules to live by” – I hope your Option B becomes clear x
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    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 17, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      Thanks Colette xxx

  • Reply
    Wave to Mummy
    January 17, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    I remember reading that piece by Sheryl Sandberg and it was so moving. I’ve never experienced anything similar to what you are going through and couldn’t even begin to understand what it must be like, but kicking the shit out of option B sounds like good advice. Xx
    Wave to Mummy recently posted…Our picture wall and the story of our livesMy Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 17, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      Thank you. It really stayed with me, and she write it just at the ‘right’ time for me to take notice I suppose. Thanks! xx

  • Reply
    Thomas
    January 17, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    It will get better, I promise. The void will still be there, but we learn to live with it. And grow from it. Be patient and smile whenever you can.

  • Reply
    Beth @ Twinderelmo
    January 17, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Sounds like Rog had a wickedly dark sense of humour – I am the same. It’s good it still makes you chuckle – he sounds bloody ace.
    When I saw the title I couldn’t believe it has been 6 months. You are awesome. Keep doing what you are doing Mrs xxx
    Beth @ Twinderelmo recently posted…Charity Shops – The Ordinary MomentsMy Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 17, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      Beth – that is good! He was indeed ace, I can’t believe the time has gone either. Thanks lovely xxx

  • Reply
    Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely
    January 17, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Sheryl Sandberg is one smart lady. She’s long been a hero of mine; there are few more inspiring. It might take you a while to come up with your Plan B but I’ve absolutely no doubt that you’ll kick the shit out of it, you brave lady xx
    Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely recently posted…On home turfMy Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 17, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      Thanks Rachel. I hope you are right! xx

  • Reply
    Katie life on vista haydock
    January 17, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    Julia, as far as I can see you are already kicking the shit out of option b. Simply by writing it all down and being there for your kids.
    Just keep going… and maybe steal some wardrobe space and make yourself smile xxxxxx
    Katie life on vista haydock recently posted…Tricks to Reduce Your Grocery BillMy Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 17, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      Thanks Katie. I’m trying my best but it’s not a small task is it! xx

  • Reply
    Katie @mummydaddyme
    January 17, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    I can’t believe it has been six months. I know we don’t know each other well Julia but I have thought about you a lot since I first read your blog. You strike me as someone who is so strong, although I am sure you aren’t at times as well. You write so honestly about life without your husband and it moves me to tears often. I think kicking the shit out of Option B sounds like the perfect thing to do. Sending you lots of love as always. x

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 17, 2016 at 9:43 pm

      Ah Katie thank you, that is so touching and again, I am sorry it is so sad but as you know writing it down is therapeutic isn’t it! Lots of love back! x

  • Reply
    Katie
    January 18, 2016 at 1:50 am

    Oh Julia love, I can’t believe it has been six months already. I know the path you’re taking is unclear at the moment but you already are kicking the shit out of option B! As hard as it is to imagine right now, one day you will wake up and realise you are somewhere wonderful in your life, of course it won’t be the somewhere wonderful you and Roger dreamt of ending up together but he will always be there watching over you and will want you to move forwards too. Sending huge cwtches my love, always here if you need a chat or a shoulder xxx
    Katie recently posted…Beating the January BluesMy Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 22, 2016 at 9:58 pm

      Thank you so much Katie, it feel more like I am just kind of nudging it with my toe! Love the virtual catches! xx

  • Reply
    Tim
    January 18, 2016 at 9:43 am

    ‘Okay’ sounds pretty good to me. I like the advice about making sure you’re nopt living in the past. Of course you won’t forget the past, but looking forwards rather than constantly back sounds like a solid plan. Roger will always be there with you.
    Tim recently posted…My Sunday Photo: Spelling it outMy Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 22, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks Tim, I’m still trying to look forward! x

  • Reply
    Everything Mummy
    January 18, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    You are doing amazingly Julia, you are such a strong inspiring lady. And I agree with all the above you are already kicking the crap out of option B and will just continue to do so. Lots of love xxxx
    Everything Mummy recently posted…Outdoor Winter AdventuresMy Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 22, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks Amy love. Doing my best! ๐Ÿ™‚ x

  • Reply
    Caroline
    January 18, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    I am sure you probably don’t always feel it, but I think you are so strong, writing it all down must help so much. Keep going as you are, because Rog would be so proud of you. x
    Caroline recently posted…The week that was… QuietMy Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 22, 2016 at 10:00 pm

      Thank you xx

  • Reply
    Jenny @ thebrickcastle
    January 18, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    You are doing an amazing job at option B, you really are. We have only moved things of Elspeth’s that have no sentimental value – mainly her underwear and some other ‘nothing’ clothes, a couple of bits of random empty furniture and emptied her bin. Her room is still ‘her room’, although we have started storing things in there to break the spell. I think we’re almost ready to empty her chest of drawers, we have been building up to it for some time now. Option B really is a perfect way to describe the new life you have, it’s positive, it goes somewhere xx
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    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 22, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks Jenny. It must be so difficult for you as well, it really is an awful task to have to think about isn’t it, sending some strength your way xx

  • Reply
    Shrads
    January 18, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Okay so it’s not option B, but whatever it is I think you’re kicking the shit out of it already. And i think it’s great that you write about it because it can be so cathartic. And I bet Rog is so very proud of you.
    Much love to you and your kids xx

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 22, 2016 at 10:02 pm

      Thank you so much! Writing does really help it has to be said! xx

  • Reply
    Natalie @ Little Jam Pot Life
    January 18, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Such a heartbreaking thing for your family but you seem like such an amazing unit. You are being such a powerhouse for your family and that is admirable, Roger would be so proud of you. And I know it sounds barmy coming from someone who you’ve never met, but your words are inspiring, and if you can have that effect on a stranger then just keep doing the therapeutic writing. I can honestly say that you are a fighter, and your littles will be so proud of you x
    Natalie @ Little Jam Pot Life recently posted…Our Siblings – January 2016My Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 22, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      Thanks Natalie. We are feeling stronger together I think and things are getting easier as we get more used to our new situation, whether we want it like that or not! Such kind words, thank you xx

  • Reply
    Nat Halfpenny
    January 18, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    I’ve just found your blog for the first time and this is the first post I have read by you. Wow! What a read, you are a very talented writer. Your emotions came clean off the page (screen!). I’m ever so sorry to hear of your loss x
    Nat Halfpenny recently posted…How not to โ€˜Mumโ€™. Volume 1.My Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 22, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      Oh thank you so much, that is such a compliment. Thanks! xx

  • Reply
    International Elf Service
    January 18, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Such a lovely post Julia and I think you’re doing brilliantly for what it’s worth. I think the decisions you make for the kids and you as a family will be as right as if you made them as a team with Rog. One never really knows until one executes them. Also remember, there’s always more than one right. By branching out, sticking your neck out there and trying it, you often discover something more wonderful than you ever imagined. Emily x
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    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 22, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      Yes you are right there, when I think about the things I haven’t set out to do they have turned out good. Thanks for supporting me! xx

  • Reply
    Caro | The Twinkle Diaries
    January 18, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    Aah love – you’re already doing it!! The fact that you’re so stoic and have kept on, looking forward, holding everything together, for yourself and for the kids means that you’re doing such a great job of ‘Option B’. I know you’d have never chosen this path in a million years but you’re doing the most awesome job. You have such a bright future. It’s different from the one you wanted – and the one you chose – but it will still be amazing. Just wait and see xxxxx
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    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 22, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      Ahh Caro, lovely, thank you. Can’t wait to spend a bit of time with you next month! I promise not to cry this time! xx

  • Reply
    Flossy and Jim
    January 18, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    Great big massive super duper hugs being beamed your way lovely lady! xx

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 22, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      Thank you! xx

  • Reply
    Justin
    January 19, 2016 at 9:40 am

    A really lovely moving piece. I wasn’t aware what had happened but your bravery and positive outlook is really inspirational.

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 22, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks Justin, thanks for finding my blog too, I hope you’re well x

  • Reply
    Beth
    January 19, 2016 at 10:00 am

    I absolutely love your posts, you are so so brave and just wonderful. The fact that you have got out of bed and got the kids fed, even if it’s a bag of crisps mean you are already lining up option B to kick the shit out of it. thinking of you lots and sending you love, strength and prosecco. xxxxx

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 22, 2016 at 10:11 pm

      That is always what I need Beth! And I think the kids might have had crisps for tea the other night? Don’t tell anyone!! haha xx

  • Reply
    mummyofboygirltwins
    January 19, 2016 at 10:41 am

    I think writing it all down, recording it here and talking about it so openly and honestly is the best medicine, and I am sure you help a lot of other people in the same situation too. I am sure you have really bad days, (will they ever truly go away?). I guess it is about realising that and taking very day as it comes. But you are SO strong and courageous. Your lovely children are very, very lucky xxxxx
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    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 22, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      Thanks Jess, I love it when I get comments from people who say I have struck a chord with them because they have been through similar. But really I do it because it helps as you say to get it out! Lots of love xxx

  • Reply
    sarah christie
    January 20, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Julia you have already taken a few option Bs you just don’t realise it, you are doing amazing. Rog will be looking on smiling saying go Jules kick butt. You should be so proud of how you are dealing with it all, I hope it get easier in time and those choices are easier to make x
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    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 22, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      I really hope so Sarah – wouldn’t that be great?! xx

  • Reply
    Hayley (@hayleyfromhome)
    January 21, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    ‘Kicking the shit out of option B’ I love that! It’s wonderful in a way that you can read so many other’s experience so easily, and vice versa with you I’m sure, to keep going, to feel stronger. I can’t believe it has been six months, what a way you have come in that time. Keep on going lovely Julia xxx
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    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 22, 2016 at 10:16 pm

      Thanks Hayley! I’ll keep on truckin’ xxx

  • Reply
    Our Seaside Baby
    January 21, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    I can’t believe it’s six months either, it’s still all very recent. Take as much time as you need. There’s no rush to see that future picture although I’m certain that as time goes on it will become clearer. Big hugs. Polly xx
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    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      January 22, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      Thanks Polly, I’m sure it will become clearer as you say, all I have to do is wait a little while perhaps! xx

  • Reply
    Mrs H
    January 27, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Oh darling Julia. I read this post when you first published it. But I couldn’t comment then because I was an emotional mess after reading it (blame the hormones). It makes me sad that you don’t realise that you are an inspiration to so many. You will never not feel the loss of your beloved Rog and yearn for option A. But slowly and very gently you are moving towards option B. It must be terrifying. I can’t even imagine. But as your friend, I have so much respect for you. You are doing brilliantly and I am really proud. I am glad you have started running again. It is great to have goals and hobbies that are just yours. And when you can be totally at one with yourself and with your own thoughts and emotions. Running is excellent for that. I love you lots and wish I could give you a massive hug. Instead, I’ll just have to send a virtual one. Hugs Lucy xxxx
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  • Reply
    Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper
    February 8, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Hi Julia, I’ve been meaning to do comment for ages, so apologies for being so slow in doing so! I think you’re so incredibly brave, and by writing this down hopefully you’ll be able to see in the future how far you’ve come, as daunting as it seems right now. I know you don’t know me really (apart from being drunk and weird at awards!), but from reading your posts I think you’re incredible, and you’re giving much strength to others in similar situations. You go forward and kick the shit out of that Option B! x

  • Reply
    Nine months and still going - Rainbeaubelle
    April 30, 2016 at 6:28 am

    […] 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 […]

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