My five-year wedding anniversary as a widow

Wedding bouquet http://rainbeaubelle.com

Jules wedding http://rainbeaubelle.com

This Saturday is a very special date for me. Well it would have been, if Roger were still here.

We should be celebrating our five-year wedding anniversary this weekend. Saturday 12th March 2011 looked a hell of a lot different to the same date this year.

Five years ago this weekend was one of the happiest days of my life. It was the day I married Roger, my best friend and the man who made me laugh, made me feel special, made me feel safe. The father of my children, the one who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

Neither of us wanted a big traditional wedding so we’d tried to keep it fairly small and low-key, while still being a celebration and a day to treasure. We said our vows in a room packed with those closest to us at Harrogate Register Office, before we had our photographs taken on the steps outside and between the crocuses on The Stray in front.

We went on to our reception at The Wheatley in Ilkley, my hometown, where we felt like the luckiest people in the world. I’ll always remember holding Roger’s hand before we walked into the room for dinner, looking up at him and feeling like everything was perfect. It was such a wonderful day, so relaxed, happy, fun and full of love.

Jules Rog wedding http://rainbeaubelle.com

Rog wedding

Looking back to our wedding anniversary last year, it came the day after Roger was diagnosed with bowel cancer. It was a massive moment in both our lives and the day everything changed. Encouraged by Rog to write about it on my blog, I started my post with:

“On Wednesday we were told my husband has cancer. The next day was our wedding anniversary. The day after that, we were told the cancer had spread.”

For me, looking back to that moment when we were told there was nothing that could be done, that was the worst moment in all of this. The pain I felt on that day, the fear, the heartbreaking sadness, the tears have never been so painful as they were on that day. The memories of sitting in that horrible hospital room, feeling so cold, so sick and so sad, they are not the ones I want to be remembering this weekend.

I want to remember the bond we had, the love we shared and the strength we tried to find to carry on when we knew the life we had together was coming to an end. That Roger’s life was coming to an end.

Wedding flowers http://rainbeaubelle.com

Jules and Sam wedding http://rainbeaubelle.com

I want to think about the smiles we shared as I walked into the register office on 12 March 2011. I want to remember the way he kissed me as soon as I reached the front of the room, nerves making him forget he was supposed to wait until after the vows. I want to remember the way Sam came to sit on my knee as we signed the register. The way we tried to take photos of us drinking tea in the Jag on the way back to Ilkley, but the grumpy chauffeur was having none of it. He clearly didn’t know how much Rog loved tea.

I’ll be looking at our photos. I’ll be remembering our wedding day. I’ll be looking to the sky and I’m sure I’ll be having a drink or two to mark the day. I might even head to The Wheatley, grab a quiet table, order a bottle of their best champagne and get quietly sloshed in the corner. It’s something I’ve considered! Would it really be that bad?

March used to be our favourite month. The month we got married, the month of my birthday, Easter usually drops in somewhere, the clocks change and spring is just about to say hello.

I still want March to be my favourite month, so I don’t want to be too sad, I want to be thankful. Thankful that I met a man who made my life complete. Thankful that we had two beautiful kids who keep me going (and drive me crazy) now he’s gone. Thankful that we had something many people never have.


I also want to be thankful that I have survived, that I’m here and trying to live my life the best I can with our kids in spite of the sadness. He would have wanted us to live. To celebrate, not crumble on the bad days. To reflect, but not to hide away. So that’s what we’ll do. Here’s to you, Rog.

x Julia

All these beautiful photographs were taken by the wonderful Anna Louise Crossley.

Wedding bouquet http://rainbeaubelle.com

Mr and Mrs http://rainbeaubelle.com

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  • Reply
    March 9, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Oh Jules. What to say? I’ll leave it for when I can hug you too. Maybe for now I’ll say champers is on your chief bridesmaid this Saturday. Love you so much X

  • Reply
    Alice Langley
    March 9, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    I have no words really – just kind thoughts and love to send you way. You are an incredible woman, such an inspiration.
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  • Reply
    March 9, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    Oh love. What beautiful shots of what looks like a lovely day. I hope you treated yourself to that champers and got a little bit tipsy. Loads of love xxxxx
    brummymummyof2 recently posted…Wicked Wednesdays 9th MarchMy Profile

  • Reply
    March 9, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    Beautiful post and I hope March is always a favourite month for you. I’ve always loved your wedding dress and that photo of Roger before you walk down the aisle is such a lovely shot, one of excitement, smiles, waiting for you. Sending you lots of love xx
    Notmyyearoff recently posted…A review of beautiful Snuz beddingMy Profile

  • Reply
    March 9, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    What a beautifully positive post. I’m sure he’d be so proud of you all. I think a bottle of champagne sounds like a great ide x
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  • Reply
    Leigh - Headspace Perspective
    March 9, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Sending love, Julia. A bottle of champagne in the pub where you and Rog celebrated your marriage sounds like a beautiful way to celebrate the love you will always hold. Xxx
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  • Reply
    March 9, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Your strength has always amazed me, but you are so right, their is no way that Rog would want the woman he loved so much to be full of regret for what could have been, when what you had was worth celebrating. Keep smiling that beautiful smile of yours and Rog will always be by your side xxx

  • Reply
    Beth @ Twinderelmo
    March 9, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Beautiful wedding photos! I reckon you should definitely toast the day and get squiffy on champers – it’s your anniversary so it’s the law. I reckon someone else may have said the same….?! xx
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  • Reply
    Mrs H
    March 9, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    Dearest Julia. I wish I could give a massive hug. This is the most beautiful and inspiring post. And despite the sadness it is also hugely positive. You were so blessed to have such a wonderful husband. Those are the most beautiful photographs. And you were a happy and stunning bride. Hugs Lucy xxxx
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  • Reply
    March 9, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Oh what a beautiful post – even through the sadness now the joy and love that you share radiates from every picture. I can only imagine how hard this next first is going to be for you and I think a glass or two of something bubbly doesn’t sound like a bad way to honour the memory of such a happy day.
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  • Reply
    Tessa Roberts
    March 9, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    Xxxxxx. Beautifulxxxx

  • Reply
    March 9, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    I’ve on,y just started following your blog after we met at Blognox so I didn’t know your story. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I think you would have made him very very proud. Take comfort in knowing that you had a beautiful relationship and that you were so loved by Roger. Sendi g lots of love and all good wishes xxx
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  • Reply
    claire barnard
    March 9, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    What a beautiful positive attitude in the midst of your sadness x I hope that however you choose to spend the day that it’s full of happy memories x

  • Reply
    Mini Ventures
    March 9, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    My lovely you do whatever you think you’d like to on Saturday. Give yourself all the options to be with people or be without them. The photos are stunning and you know Rog would be shouting down have that champers and smile xx

  • Reply
    March 9, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    Oh absolutely drink that champers, Julia. Enjoy it!

    Your wedding photos are stunning – you looked beautiful. I adore that photo of you and Rog together – the epitome of happiness. 🙂

    I’m glad you are feeling more positive about the anniversary this year.

    Sending love xx

  • Reply
    March 9, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    How touching, how brave!

    You go drink that Champers & raise your glass high, with a huge smile in your heart that you both met & shared a part of your lives together!

    Memories never fade xx

  • Reply
    March 9, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    That’s lovely Jules. It was a beautiful day because we all knew we were in the presence of true love. You’re right, so many people live without ever knowing what you two had together. To have been loved like that is a life changer, no matter how long or short that might be. I wish he was here with you. God bless xxxxxxxxxxx

  • Reply
    Paul Burnell
    March 9, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    Every time you write you surpass the previous post. A truly beautiful piece of writing. Will say a wee prayer on Saturday.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2016 at 12:10 am

    Oh Julia honey such a beautiful post. Please sit in that corner and drink that champagne and know that you are not alone – AAOB are with you. Rog is with you. You are keeping him so very much here for your children. I hope one day they can read this blog and understand your love X X big hugs and a big cup of tea for you both too X X x

  • Reply
    An imperfect mum (Catie)
    March 10, 2016 at 6:33 am

    Such a beautifully written, strong and positive post. Happy anniversary and enjoy those wonderful memories of a special husband.
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  • Reply
    Mackenzie Glanville
    March 10, 2016 at 8:06 am

    oh darling you were a beautiful bride, you look so happy. What a wonderful memory, I hope you continue to find beauty in March xx

  • Reply
    March 10, 2016 at 8:21 am

    You really are an amazing woman and I can totally feel the love you and Roger have for each other. It’s heart warming and heart breaking at the same time. Sending you lots and lots of love xx

  • Reply
    March 10, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Sending you all the love in the world. You are so amazing even thorough all the sadness your positivity shines through Xxx

  • Reply
    Emma Dowey
    March 10, 2016 at 8:53 am

    What an incredibly positive, inspiring post for such an incredibly sad story. Sending you lots of love and hugs for the weekend. Keep strong xx

  • Reply
    Elizabeth (Wander Mum)
    March 10, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Thinking of you lovely – you are an amazing woman and Rog would be so proud of you. Enjoy the champagne…look over those fantastic photos and chat to those who shared your special day and reminisce. Wonderful post – you never fail to make me cry and realise how lucky I am to still have my hubby. xxx
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  • Reply
    March 10, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Thank you so much for sharing what must be such a difficult time for you. I hope that the memories of your special day and having your loved ones around you will help you through this moment and on to brighter times.
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  • Reply
    Nat Halfpenny
    March 10, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Sending lots of love.
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  • Reply
    Becky Cowley
    March 10, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    A beautiful post. I have no words really, I’m sending you strength & love. I definitely think champagne and celebrating your love is in order x
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  • Reply
    Tanya Leary
    March 10, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    My love, what a truly beautiful post. So full of love and strength and hope.
    Your day sounds just perfect and you have that to hang on to always and the pictures are glorious too.
    Saturday will come and you will get through it, hopefully with a smile, probably with tears but definitely with lots of love.
    Tanya Leary recently posted…Memories MatterMy Profile

  • Reply
    Jenny @ thebrickcastle
    March 10, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    I will think of you on Saturday, and I know there will be many tears, but I hope also that you will be able to smile, and remember well the things you shared. Your bravery and strength are an example to us all, this is a beautiful post and your love shines throughout, not only for your husband, but for your children xx
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  • Reply
    Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper
    March 10, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    Oh Julia, I have no words of real comfort to you on what will no doubt be a bittersweet day on Saturday, but that Champagne thing? Do it! Get that bottle, get that quiet table and have a few drinks and raise a glass to you and Rog. Reminisce, laugh, cry, do whatever you want because you deserve it lovely xx

  • Reply
    March 10, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Beautiful post. Such a nice way to celebrate your love, drink that champagne in style.
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  • Reply
    March 10, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Your words are so beautiful. I was reading something today about how being able to appreciate what we have in times of loss is one of life’s most powerful transformative things. It’s bloody hard though, in my experience of losing a parent, so I am sending loads of love xxx

  • Reply
    Amy Ransom
    March 10, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Your writing is wonderful Julia. I think you should still love March too. So on your anniversary go for a run and then have that time to yourself with your bottle of champagne and toast your anniversary and the lovely man that is still with you. In your memories, your kids and your love for one another. Thinking of you X

  • Reply
    Ally Mother Under Measure
    March 10, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Oh Julia, I wish I could come and give you a big fat hug (and share that champagne with you!!)! How heartbreaking to read, but at the same time uplifting. I know that words can’t fix things for you but you are in my thoughts and if I could send any positive vibes through the power of internet then I will do so, with all my power and energy. Love to you and the kids xx
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  • Reply
    Tracey Williams
    March 10, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Julia what a beautiful and heartfelt post. I definitely think champagne should be featured on Saturday as you truly deserve it my love. Your photographs are all stunning and it sounds as if you had the perfect wedding, just what you and Roger wanted. Sending lots of hugs for Saturday xx.
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  • Reply
    Kate/Pouting In Heels
    March 10, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Sending you much love Julia. I think getting sloshed on champagne in a place which holds such dear memories for you both (and your love) sounds like an absolutely bloody perfect plan. Beautiful post X

  • Reply
    March 10, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    Oh you lovely lady, I don’t know you in real life, but the way you write makes me feel like I do and you seem like such a wonderful person. Well, I think it’s a combination of your writing and the warmth that comes though when you’re photographed actually. You’re also a woman after my own heart, as getting quietly sloshed on champagne in the corner of your favourite pub sounds incredibly appealing to me. Sending all my love to you and your family and I do hope you’re able to reflect on the joy Roger brought you this weekend, what a lovely way to mark the date xxxx

  • Reply
    sarah christie
    March 10, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Julia I am so sorry your soulmate was taken away from you so soon, I am so glad you, Sam and Flo are getting though it day by day you are amazing, and an inspiration. Heres to Roger, cheers xxxx
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  • Reply
    Toni @ Gym Bunny Mummy
    March 11, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Such a beautiful post, your love for him, and his for you, absolutely shines through xxxx
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  • Reply
    March 11, 2016 at 11:23 am

    Such beautiful photos and beautiful words.
    I’ll be thinking of you when Saturday comes and sending so much love to you and the children.
    And for the record, getting sloshed on champagne in the corner of a pub doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all to me 😉

  • Reply
    March 11, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Such a beautiful post x
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  • Reply
    Helen Ugwu
    March 11, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    What an inspiration you are. I am so sorry this happened to you. Thank you for sharing. Your words are beautiful. Love to you. x

  • Reply
    Hayley @hayleyfromhome
    March 11, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Your wedding photos are so beautiful, that one of Rog standing at the front of the room is perfect! You can almost feel your happiness through the photos. I think of you always Julia but a little more so this weekend, make sure you get that bottle of fizz and toast your Rog xx
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  • Reply
    Katy (What Katy Said)
    March 11, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Julia you are just incredible you really are. x
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  • Reply
    Emma Shilton
    March 11, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    What a beautiful post and lovely memories to look back on. The photographs are wonderful. Thinking about you, hope you have a bottle of plonk to toast your anniversary and the happy years you both shared. Much love xxx
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  • Reply
    March 11, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    March is a beautiful month, I am glad you want to keep it that way,

    Your posts make me sad and happy at the same time, your strength shines through

  • Reply
    March 12, 2016 at 7:02 am

    Dear Julia, as I sit here on my birthday today, I will also raise my glass to you and your husband Roger…for all the immense courage you have shown in this and past posts.
    March is my favourite month too – daughter’s birthday too and, as you said, Spring tapping on the door.
    I hope March will always remain special for you and that you will treasure all its fondest memories, forever.
    All the best to you on your anniversary – your idea on how to celebrate it, is truly lovely.

  • Reply
    March 12, 2016 at 8:55 am

    Definitely treat yourself to the expensive champagne.

  • Reply
    March 12, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I have just stumbled across your beautiful blog, and I just wanted to say how very special your words are and thank you for sharing them….some one once told me that they would rather have 2 seconds of something wonderful…..than a lifetime of nothing special x

  • Reply
    March 13, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    You do whatever you feel is right for you, if thats getting sloshed by yourself even, because I am sure he won’t be far away! Your wedding day sounds lovely and these pictures are a real treasure. I am inspired by your gratitude and thankfulness in life despite your loss and I know that thats not always easy, though I wonder if easy is to be angry, down and blame the world? I have always tried to be grateful for my daughter even though she died and thats taken effort and a lot of it.
    I don’t know what loosing the love of your life and companion is like, but anniversaries of any sort in grief are hard. I hope this was okay, I hope you were loved and supported through it and I hope you felt some joy for your marriage and our amazing husband despite him not being here with you xx

  • Reply
    absolutely prabulous
    March 13, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    Oh Julia. You followed me back on Twitter, I clicked on the first post I saw on your feed and what a way this is to comment on your blog for the first time…when I have no words. I literally don’t know what to say. You brave, strong woman. I suppose the blog is therapy of sorts. I shall wish you a Happy Anniversary and hope I’m not crass doing so.

  • Reply
    Tania @ Larger Family Life
    March 14, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Beautiful photos. Treasure your wedding day always and the memories you shared with Roger always.
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  • Reply
    Katie LifeonVistaStreet Haydock
    March 17, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Happy anniversary xXx
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  • Reply
    Easter Egg jars and Styling the Seasons - Rainbeaubelle
    March 20, 2016 at 8:26 am

    […] were delivered to me last Saturday, from two good friends to mark what would have been my fifth wedding anniversary. I’m kind of getting used to having so may flowers around the house, I really love the […]

  • Reply
    March 20, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    Happy anniversary to you and Rog my lovely. These photos are beautiful you must have so so many wonderful memories. Lots of love xx
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  • Reply
    Keira @ Dekko Bird
    March 23, 2016 at 11:57 am

    I have recently come across your blog Julia and have been learning about how much you have been through in the past year. I think you’re incredibly strong and downright courageous to share your story with others and you’re an inspiration to us all in coping with such great loss. I love your writing and look forward to more of it x
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  • Reply
    Amy Christmas
    April 18, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    I liked you and your beautiful children so much when we met on Saturday, Julia. Having read the story of your life over the past year and more, you truly are an inspiration. Wishing you and Sam and Flo a bright and positive future. I believe you have the strength and positivity to make that happen, and I’m sure with the support of a lot of people. I will be in Ilkley next week and will think of you.
    With love,
    Amy xxx

    • Reply
      April 18, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      Aw thank you so much Amy, that is really kind of you! We have had so much fun with the fairy garden I will be writing about it hopefully! Such a lovely thing of you to say. So many people said to me I looked like I had my hands full on Saturday and I do but mostly we are doing ok! Are you in Ilkley selling fairy things? If so let me know as I’m sure I know lots of people who would buy them! x

  • Reply
    Me and Mine - A Portrait for March 2016 - Rainbeaubelle
    April 26, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    […] month has been pretty mixed with some emotional highs and lows. It was the month that marked my first wedding anniversary without Roger, on what would have been our five-year milestone. I found that pretty tough to be […]

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