My husband Brian was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2003 when our daughter Ellie was six months old.
We had been married for a year and together for only two.
Everyone said we were in a hurry, maybe we knew our time together was limited.
Within five years of us meeting he had died.
It was a glioblastoma in the very centre of his brain and he didn’t have many options.
At that time I was left with a business, and two kiddies under two.
Family and friends rallied around but within six months their life was back to normal and our life would be forever brain-tumoured.
I sold our business to a major competitor and was lucky to be offered continued work as part of the sale.
I sold our house, rented back for a bit from the new owner and finally bought a house for my little family.
I continued to work with the help of a nanny and built a career for myself, determined to have more of a story than “the young widow”.
I have since remarried and my kids are lucky to have had a stable and secure life with their stepfather, though they have never known “Dad” and every milestone they go through without their father is distressing to me.
My grief is ever present but luckily these days, 17 years later, the tears are a fleeting visitor.
It’s still surprising to me that with a song or a story they come back so easily.
It’s hard to know how to talk about grief in our society.
We don’t have the right words to console and it’s only through empathy of lived experience that we truly know each other.
Even in writing and reading this story the words are simple, yet so much lies beneath.
I have spent my career experiencing the power of support and learning a trusted peer group can enable.
Whilst I have yet to share that through First Light events, I wish I had been able to access that acceptance and deep understanding in the first years of being a widow in 2003.
I’m excited to support First Light to spread the word.
It’s so needed.