When we are widowed, everyone is aware of the biggest loss – the loss of our partner. But there are secondary losses as well, and one of these is the loss of role.
When my mother died, my father never really got over her loss. As well as losing the person he’s known since childhood and he’d been married to for over 60 years, he lost his role as her primary carer, and I believe that this had a huge impact on him. He lost his reason to get up in the morning, his reason to look after himself so that he could look after her. And it broke my heart.
I helped Tim in his business as a bookseller. People in the village would said ‘oh, you’re the bookshop, aren’t you,’ and it surprised me how much of a loss that was for me.
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.