Family life,Loss

Loss as time goes on (or the tough days)

Flowers for autumn

Flowers for autumn

As time goes on I seem to be writing less about the sad parts of our lives and more about the practical, day-to-day stuff and the nice things. I mean it makes sense, doesn’t it?

Who really wants to keep reading about the days when I’m feeling rubbish or the times when one minute I’m smiling, the next a thought comes into my head and there I am, crying? Well I suppose some people do, if only because I know there are other widows who read my blog, other people who have lost someone close, and maybe they would like to read about how this happens to everyone, not only to them.

I feel sometimes that it’s kind of a one fact story; my husband died and that’s it. But that’s not it, is it? A huge part of losing a partner is the thought that you’ve lost your future. You don’t only grieve for what went before, but what you thought was to come.

As a parent, I feel that loss three times over as every time my kids talk about their dad it’s like the pain comes back times 100. Florence, at three, talks about him in a kind of dreamy, happy way, mixing memories of her dad with stories she makes up about things they did together.

Roger died six days after her second birthday, and the garden party we had for her is the things she talks about the most. She talks about the candles she blew out on her pink cake, the barbecued sausages that daddy made, and the way she was bouncing on the trampoline with him on that day.

She wasn’t of course, as he was far too frail to stand up and cook let alone bounce on a trampoline. It took every ounce of strength in his (by then) bony body to come and sit with us outside, but the fact that he did shows how determined he was until the end. I love that Flo embellishes the story to make her dad the hero, it’s how I want it to stay.

Flowers from above by

Sam, on the other hand, remembers how things really were but he seems to have edited out the bad stuff – the illness, the frailty, and the long hospital stays. He talks about the good times with dad, the things we did but he also seems to be handling the best out of all of us. Whenever he sees me cry he still says ‘is it about dad again?’, and last night, after a particularly teary moment, he got out of the bath, gave me a hug and said ‘mum, when are you going to get over dad?’

It breaks my heart to tell him never. No-one of really understands grief but I feel like I can learn a lot from Sam, and really admire the way he has coped with everything. The past few weeks he has been so sweet to me, it’s almost as if he has a sixth sense that I might need a bit of extra support and he’s sometimes there to give it.

On Wednesday, which is the night he gets to stay up late with me to watch Bake Off on the sofa with some cake, I came downstairs from tucking Flo into bed to be hit with the strong smell of aftershave. ‘Smell!” he said as he ran up to me. He’d spritzed himself with some of the tiny bottle of boy’s cologne I’d bought him from Zara months ago (I know that sounds ridiculous but at the time I thought it was cute).

I looked at the sofa and he’d spread a blanket out for each of us. ‘I wanted you to feel like you were watching TV with dad,’ he said. What an absolute heart melter.

It’s one thing getting to grips with my own loss. I mean things are getting easier, time does help but the feeling of what I’ve lost never goes away. Not a day goes by without me thinking about it all, missing my best friend and that someone who just understood me so well. As time goes on I’ve had more times when I’ve forgotten he’s not here, thought about telling him something or asking his advice and not immediately knowing that I can’t. Who would have thought that would happen? I thought this was supposed to get easier, not harder.

Where once I would have longed for someone to ask me what I was doing at the weekend and my reply was ‘nothing’, now I feel I need to be distracted and downtime isn’t really something to relish. Especially at the weekend, when everyone else seems to be doing family stuff and I’m on my own, doing what is so annoyingly called by parents who have partners as ‘solo parenting’. I cringe at that phrase!

It’s a whole added layer of sadness to deal with my children’s loss. I wrote a while ago about how we call daddy a star in the sky, and now the nights are growing darker we tend to look out of the window at bedtime and see if we can see him. The brightest star is always dad, and if sometimes it isn’t a star but the light from a house on the moors opposite, well that’s ok. It’s the brightest light and it will always be the one we miss.

x Julia

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  • Reply
    Leigh - Headspace perspective
    October 8, 2016 at 9:26 am

    Oh Julia. So much is resonant but for different reasons. Just wanted to send you the biggest hug and lots of love xxxx

  • Reply
    Karen (@karenjwhitlock)
    October 8, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Sending you lots of love Julia.
    So much of this resonates with me. I sometimes think that being widowed without children is easier because I don’t have these moments thrown at me like you do, but then, I don’t have that many people to be able to look back and chat about the good times and funny times we had with Graham. We all drove past where he is buried a few weeks ago and as we did it struck me that nobody else appreciated the significance of where we were and that made me so sad. I am glad that you are all able to look out into the night and see “Daddy’s star” x

  • Reply
    Imogen Barnett
    October 8, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Made me cry. What a thoughtful boy Sam is.

  • Reply
    October 8, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Your boy is a complete hero, what a lovely man he’ll grow into. I always want to give you a huge hug when I read your posts and I hope you carry on talking about Roger for however long you need and want to. It’s like we get to know your best friend a bit more through your writing and he sounds like he was a wonderful man. Xx
    Notmyyearoff recently posted…Baby at the Table: Chiappas – Weaning the Italian Way. A review and giveawayMy Profile

  • Reply
    Halina Vie Choufleur
    October 8, 2016 at 11:56 am

    I am so very, very sorry for your loss. Your son sounds like such an amazingly empathic and kind boy. I’m so glad you have someone like that in your life.

  • Reply
    October 8, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Touching, kind & always honest.
    You know you should be putting all of this captivating emotion into a breathtaking book.
    Sending you all love & hugs – your posts always leave me feeling that way.

  • Reply
    October 8, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Reading that, I felt it for you. What lovely children! You did well there with them; both of you x

  • Reply
    October 8, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    You articulate your loss in such a heartfelt and natural way and the responses of your wonderful children. that it suppors all of us who are struggling with the loss of our “best friend”. Thank you x

  • Reply
    October 8, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    Julia, every time I read something of yours I really feel it. So well written, so eloquent I am speechless almost.. other than to say that I am honoured to call you my friend. Dee x

  • Reply
    Lynda (friend of Katie's) xx
    October 9, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Thinking of you. So lovely to hear how Sam is helping. What amazing children you and roger created. A wonderful legacy to help you through these hard times xx

  • Reply
    Siena Says
    October 9, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Children are so matter of fact about grief. I love the way that Sam in the typical innocence of a child assumes that it has a finite end. I envy that innocence sometimes. The world seems so black and white. This is a beautifully written post, I especially love the effort he made for Bake Off!
    I know one of my brothers who lost his wife, felt the same as you (I’m sure it’s the usual feeling) that he had lost his future and plans. It’s a hard one to bear especially when you have children to concentrate on.
    Sending love xx

  • Reply
    Steph McCahill
    October 9, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Your posts always make me cry. They always touch the heart of me. Your kids definitely keep you going. Sam is a thoughtful, special boy. Always treasure your kids and hold them close ❤️

  • Reply
    October 9, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Such a beautiful heartfelt piece of writing. I almost feel your grief. And I am so sorry for your loss. Sending you warm hugs xxxx

  • Reply
    Mini Travellers
    October 9, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Jules what a beautiful thing for Sam to do. The future is there for you 3 to mould and whilst it isn;t the one you wanted or that you would have hoped for, it will be wonderful again for you I just know it.
    Mini Travellers recently posted…Large Beautiful Barn Nr Richmond for Weekend BreakMy Profile

  • Reply
    Beth @ Twinderelmo
    October 9, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    What an absolutely charming wonderfully caring son you & Roger have created! He one day will make someone a perfect partner. It’s hard to write what you want and even harder to feel like you have to “perform”
    Beth @ Twinderelmo recently posted…Taking a Photography CourseMy Profile

  • Reply
    Katie @mummydaddyme
    October 9, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Well what a wonderful son you both created- he sounds like an absolutely amazing little boy. You should be so proud. You write so beautifully Julia and no doubt you will be helping so many others in your situation so keep writing. Your loyal readers will be here through it all- the happy times, the sad times and all the bits in-between. Sending you all my love as always. x

  • Reply
    October 9, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Im not sure who wrote it but it’s very true. “Death ends a life, not a relationship”.

  • Reply
    Katy (What Katy Said)
    October 9, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    I was barely able to read to the end I had so many tears blurring my vision. Bless Sam for doing that, what an absolute gem. Never feel as though you have to hide anything, the way you write helps others going through the same thing but you also help people who aren’t by making us appreciate the little things that we would ordinarily take for granted. Big hugs as always xxx
    Katy (What Katy Said) recently posted…Happy Days: Quality Time, Lovely Readers and A Tidy HouseMy Profile

  • Reply
    Sarah Christie
    October 9, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    Julia this made me cry my friend, the way you deal with it all is inspirational, and do you know what you are so bloody brave and inspiring there are so many people moaning and whining about life, you got a rotten hand and you don’t moan you just do your thing, being an amazing person and mum and I LOVE you, for god sake write that book and start it with SO…. xxxxx
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  • Reply
    Lucy @capturebylucy
    October 9, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Oh Julia, I feel it’s quite an honour that we get to read these posts and you share these intimate moments with us all. I hope that all the comments, likes and messages give you some sort of comfort and strength. I think the grief for the future must be as hard to deal and life with as the grief for the past. Please know we are all here reading whenever you want to write. Sending you so much love to you and your darlings xxxx

  • Reply
    October 10, 2016 at 12:14 am

    How sweet to get the blanket and the aftershave, thats heart melting. As for solo parenting you are NOT alone, Rog is right there with you in a way others can’t see x
    RachelSwirl recently posted…#MySundayPhoto – Dedicated To My LobsterMy Profile

  • Reply
    Heledd - Running in Lavender
    October 10, 2016 at 12:48 am

    You are such a beautiful writer Julia. This post manages to be heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. Sam is an absolute little genentleman, I just love his thoughtful gestures!! Your future may not be what you hoped or expected but Julia it’s your future and its bright. Lots of love xxx
    Heledd – Running in Lavender recently posted…What I’m Loving Lately {September Favourites}My Profile

  • Reply
    Ali Millar
    October 10, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Oh my. I’m sitting nearly crying at the table just now. What a beautiful post, your whole blog is strangely life affirming, the way you’ve dealt with loss, and the way you speak so openly about it too is a real gift, for yourself and others. Sounds like you’ve raised a wonderful boy. xx

  • Reply
    Emma Lofthouse-Burch
    October 10, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    This post is beautiful Julia. You must be so proud of Sam, what a lovely little boy you have there x
    Emma Lofthouse-Burch recently posted…Five things under £5 October 2916My Profile

  • Reply
    Tracey Williams
    October 10, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Oh Julia that bought tears to my eyes reading what Sam did for you. What a beautiful boy you have, and a moment for you both to treasure. You are an amazing talented writer, and an even more amazing person. I am sure people will get great comfort from reading your posts, knowing they are not alone. Hugs xx

  • Reply
    Hayley Smith
    October 13, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    Sam sounds like he is being totally awesome, what a sweetheart he is. I think your openness and honestly is what has helped your children cope. Beautifully written as always Julia, these posts will always be such a great support for others xxxx
    Hayley Smith recently posted…Everyman Theatre LiverpoolMy Profile

  • Reply
    Mary Smith
    October 17, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    I can relate on some levels too and seeing the kids dealing with a big loss is grief on a new level too. love to you all x
    Mary Smith recently posted…The Ordinary Moments 2016 #38 – Discos, Funfairs, Sickness and a Birthday boy!My Profile

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