Five years ago this morning, Tim took his last breath. I've written about his sudden death, packing his bag for the last time, how life carries on when yours has stopped, coping with clearing the house, dealing with the What Ifs, giving myself permission to feel happy, and about how my life changed.
As always, I found the run up to the anniversary to be worse than the anniversary itself, but this year it has felt different. I have moved forward – I am still working as a freelance medical writer, but I am trying (though not always succeeding) to spend more time writing creatively. I have let part of what was his bookshop to a small local business selling stoves and fireplaces. I am selling his book collection to be able to invest money into a new house. But I haven't moved on –I am keeping some books and other things to remember him by, and he travels with me. After all, he taught me that I deserve love.
I have a new love, Dee, and we married last summer. We are building new memories. We are planning to sell this house and buy a new house together to create a place that is ours. This will be a wrench as it was mine and Tim's home and workplace, but it is the right thing to do. Being with Dee hasn't displaced my old love. Tim is still in my heart, I cherish his memory and the memories we made together.
Grief is still there. It is something that we as widows walk alongside. But I now can see it as a quiet companion rather than a raw and bleeding wound.
I was widowed at 50 when Tim, who I expected would be my happy-ever-after following a marriage break-up, died suddenly from heart failure linked to his type 2 diabetes. Though we'd known each other since our early 20s, we'd been married less than ten years.