In 1996, New Zealand-based grief counsellor Lois Tonkin came up with the model of growing around grief. The idea is that in the early days, grief consumes us totally. It fills up all of us, awake and asleep.
I knew – or hoped anyway, that things would change. I thought that I would stay the same size and my grief would get smaller.
Over time I realised that my grief actually stayed the same size. But as this model showed me, my life got bigger around it. My grief is still there, and always will be, but I have changed and grown.
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.