My beloved husband, Kent, died in January 2012, 3 years after diagnosis of a brain tumour. Our son was 2 1/2 and our daughter 3 months old. He and I were far too young. I am now hurtling through the black space of life without him.

Thursday, 26 April 2012


In my wildest dreams
I'll leave the light on for you
We can sit on the sofa
You'll cuddle me and I'll cry
And we'll be happy forever

In my wildest dreams
I'll make you a pizza
We can have one of those fruit bowls with yoghurt
Give me some warning
And I'll get you some oranges

In my wildest dreams
You'll have a word with Him
Tell Him we need you, just for 40 years
Give me some warning
And we can come and pick you up

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Hard Days

As many of you know, I got through a big weekend recently. Our 10th Wedding Anniversary. Easter. Celebrations of a miracle and victory over death. A long weekend where "everyone else" had their husband at home. A trip to the cemetery. My 19th anniversary as a Christian. Our first trip to my mother-in-law's without Kent. A trip to the zoo without him.

Like the first time I looked after the kids without any help, it was either going to be a complete train wreck, or a great success. It wasn't a train wreck. I made it work. (And I had help). I bought myself flowers - I was reluctant, but I knew Kent would want me to. I looked through wedding photos with the little guy, who helped to make it fun. I had visitors. I did it, I gave it my best, and I got out the other side.

And then it was Tuesday, and the train wreck began. It seems for me at the moment, it's the ordinary days that are the hardest. Anniversaries and big days are hard, we all know that. And maybe in the future they will be the times I grieve the most. But right now I'm grieving all the the time, and I miss Kent in the ordinary, not just the special. I really steeled myself for the weekend, but when it was back to a normal old day, the steel turned to cotton wool.

I miss him every day, in everything.

Friday, 20 April 2012


"And this is for your lonesome tears I never dried
And this is for you hanging in in the hope that it never dies."

Dave Dobbyn, Beside You

Thursday, 19 April 2012

In an Accident

I was gobsmacked to be asked, sometime in February, what I had been up to and what my plans were now. What have I been up to? I've just been hit by a truck and actually I'm still under the wheels and bleeding and you want to know what I've been up to???

You see even though we were told the truck was coming and we were going to be hit, that doesn't make it hurt any less. And let it be said loud and clear: Just because it was expected doesn't make it acceptable. In fact I'll say it again: Just because Kent's death was expected, that does not make it acceptable. This was not meant to be. This was not supposed to happen. This illness was an accident.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


I'm sitting on the kitchen floor playing with the little guy and I look at his arms where freckles are beginning to appear and I think they are going to look just like his Daddy's arms, and I am absolutely suffocated by the fact that Kent will never see the little guy's arms looking like his and their arms will never again lay side by side. Suffocated.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Mind vs Body

Here are a few things I wrote about grief in the early days. The intensity of the first couple of things is less now. It's still there, but on a different scale.

  • It's not possible to do normal things or talk about normal things for long. The pressure inside, the need to  return to grieving, starts to build, almost to the point of panic.
  • Even if your mind is doing other things, your body doesn't forget. Your body starts to drag, your legs are wading through mud. 
  • It is possible to think about normal things and do normal things while you are grieving. It is possible to laugh and enjoy things while at the same time still feel huge pain.
  • Grief affects your lungs. So during those times when you're in so deep and you think "all I have to do is keep breathing," even that becomes difficult.
  • It's an effective weight loss programme.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

How it is

"There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong

I dreamed a dream in times gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving

Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung
No wine untasted

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
And they turn your dream to shame

He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came

And still I dream he'll come to me
That we'll live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed
The dream I dreamed."

Fantine, Les Miserables.

Friday, 13 April 2012

In Deep

Lots of people like to give an analogy of grief or some kind of image of what it looks like. Many years ago I was told that it is like a big black circle that takes up the whole circle of your life. There is no room for life, because it is full of the circle of grief. Eventually it changes. No, the circle of grief doesn't get any smaller, but the circle of life gets bigger. It grows around the grief, it learns how to live with the big black circle.

I think I like this. It seems impossible that the grief could get smaller, because that would be like suggesting that what has happened will one day be more acceptable. But life, well, life just can't go on living when it is filled to the edges with grief. I remember standing outside the hospice and thinking somehow, somehow I would have to make room in my life for this massive, awful pain, because it felt like it was going to swallow me whole.

To me, grief is like a narrow, deep, black hole, or a pool of water. You can skirt around the edges, aware of its presence and in danger of falling in. You can paddle around the top. But you also have to plumb the depths and spend time at the bottom of the very dark pit. Just try to keep breathing and make sure you get out again. You will get out again. You will be back there before long.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

In Print

It's been 99 days since Kent died and I was sent hurtling through the black space of life without him. I hold a deep, dark and dreadful grief that lives on while I change a baby's nappies, negotiate with a toddler, go the supermarket, arrange meals and hold ordinary conversations. They say that grief is a process, and it is clear that I am in the midst of that. They say that is gets easier, and I believe them. The expectation is that my full scale grieving will come to an end and settle in to something more manageable. But living without Kent will never come to an end, and that hurts way more than this grief process.

They also say that grief is like a thumb print. Unique to you. It seems to me there are many similarities amongst grievers, but also many differences. For me, writing about my experiences is helpful, necessary. If I can get in to words the thoughts, feelings and images that I carry, it helps me to pin them down. To be able to capture them accurately, beautifully and satisfyingly is the holy grail of writing. I don't know if I will, but that's why I'm here. To put my grief in to print.

There are many other things I could write about, and I sometimes do. What I miss about Kent, the thousands of memories of life together, my rants to a God who let this happen, the pain (for me) of Kent's last month, the challenges of parenting without him. I intend this blog to be a place to write about what I am learning about grief, though some of these others might slip in. There may come a time when I have written all I can on this, and it might morph in to something else or it might end. Initially I will write up some things that some of you will already have seen on facebook, and thoughts that I have had in my journal for a while.

It would be nice if you would like to join me on the journey. Actually, many of you already are. But have a read and learn a little about what I'm learning. Don't tell me too often how well I'm doing, because chances are I'm not. Just let me know you're with me.