The End?

Family portrait - 2014

Family portrait – 2014

I haven’t written much lately – not on the blog, at least. Most of my writing energy has been expended on the final draft of my book, which, being that it deals with the tumultuous and largely wine-soused course my life has taken since Mark’s death, has taken the place of the therapy offered here.

After Mark survived His sudden and savage illness in 2008, He had one goal: never to let it define Him. He took the pills, checked in for INR tests, trundled down to Oxford for His annual review. He reluctantly acceded to these things because a man with a stethoscope and big glasses told Him He had to.

A less optimistic person may have allowed the regime to take over their lives. But not my husband. It spurred Him on to achieve and conquer. In fact, most of the time He’d have you believe it never happened. (Except in those rare, dark moments of reality which seeped in unseen and made us both sob at the cruelty of it all.)

When I started this blog just over a year ago, it was a giant primal scream into the ether. I had no expectations, just the hope that it might help me cope with the pain of losing Mark.

Turns out, it has.

Thanks largely to those people who have stayed with me, read, commented, understood (or tried to) – and even the odd person who told me I was talking shit – I have realised that I am not alone or abnormal in my grief. And whenever I have felt that I may have stagnated on this journey, I only need look back to my early, frantic posts to see how far I have actually come.

But like Mark with His illness, I don’t wish to be defined as A Widow. I will always be one, but I owe it to Mark to try and live my life beyond that persona.

The book is now finished. My feeling is perhaps so is the blog.

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64 thoughts on “The End?

  1. Well done Lucie….you’ve travelled a long and difficult journey but you’ve done it with dignity and courage. Best of luck with your book lovely, lots of love xxx

  2. Thank you for your blog which has resonated with my own experience so many times. Like you, I have a growing sense that I don’t want to be defined by my unwanted status of ‘widow’ – I wish you every possible luck. You have been very brave to write this blog and equally brave to let it go. I am certain that you (actually we) can do this. By coincidence, this weekend we are having our own ‘Family Portrait 2014’ taken! Take care x

  3. Dear Lucie,

    I think you will be missed on here by many people. The comments have shown how many other widows have taken comfort from your words and thoughts, but also more generally – your thoughts on parenting, on love, on loss, on fear, have resonated. You are such a magnificent writer and I’m looking forward not only to your book, but to the other work you will create.

    I sort of want to say that I feel proud of you, but that obviously isn’t quite right. I feel proud *for* you.

    xxxx

  4. Hi,
    I have tried to comment a few times but was too shy. Your blog has been so wonderful. Like you ,and many others, I’m stumbling on after the sudden death of my young husband.
    Your blog made me laugh, it made me cry but mostly it made me feel a little bit less alone in this. Thank you so much.
    Wishing you and your daughter every joy and happiness in the future.
    Deirdre

    • Hi there Deirdre – thank you for commenting, I too feel less alone knowing there are others out there going through this same hell. We’re in it together – I wish you happiness and joy too. X

  5. Lucie you sound so strong today, I really think this blog has helped you. I have felt privileged to read your blog, with you letting us, the reader- friends and strangers alike, in on your most inner thoughts and feelings. Well done, and I really hope you crack on with life and bring Bea up with a great zest and passion “like Mark would have wanted…” (Sorry! Lol 😉 )

  6. Lucie, I’ve so ‘enjoyed’ your blog and have nodded my head often at your comments, saying ‘yep, that makes sense to me’. I’ll look forward to reading your book and while, selfishly, I’ll miss your blog, I totally get your need to redefine yourself. I have recently met someone new (quite out of the blue) and I feel that I want to be happy again and enjoy life. Too many widows that I’ve come across seem to want to wear the title like a badge of honour and have that define who they are. That’s not me and, from what I know of you, it’s certainly not you. Good luck for whatever comes next my friend. Love the photo too. Lots of love & hugs xxx

    • Great to hear you have found a, ehem, ‘friend’ – I sincerely hope he brings you happiness, Fi – you, me, we all deserve it. Good luck to you, and I know we will stay in touch through WAY. Love xx

  7. Thanks for sharing your story and thoughts on what young widowhood is really like, warts and all. I have never replied on this page with any comments before now, but that is not because I wasn’t interested – far from it. I am just one of the “silent majority”, and look forward to reading a copy of the book when it comes out.

    • Hiya Phil – thanks for remaining in the ‘silent majority’ all this time and for your lovely comments about the blog. See you at a future WAY event no doubt. Love to you and your girls x

  8. So glad to read this positive and uplifting post. It’s so good particularly to hear that you feel you want “to live your life beyond that persona” of being a widow. Such a significant thought, and statement. Once again I honestly echo this with my own feelings 100%. Sometimes I think our feelings of loss and abandonment are so overwhelming we forget we are daughters, mothers, friends, aunties etc. etc. to a lot of other people. We are individuals! I feel stifled and sometimes suffocated with being a widow. The weight of all my baggage feels like a huge backpack I’m carrying around with me (the kind you see on a 19 year old heading to Thailand on a gap year). I want to dump it and run for the hills…..

    I wish you well. Will miss your blogs and hope we can keep in touch.

    Zoe xx

    • Zoe, I recently posted on an online widow forum that I was ‘sick of death’ and I think that’s what you’re saying here too. It does start to consume you, and I feel as if it might well do unless I pull myself out and focus on something else. I am so grateful for this blog and the wonderful people I have met through it but it is time to move on. I too hope we can keep in touch. I’ll send you an email so you have my personal one! Love and thanks X

  9. I haven’t said much lately but I’ve still been here following along. You know everything has a time and season, serving a purpose for good or ill. This place was a tool you used to begin your ascent from the darkness of your grief. If you don’t need it anymore then it is best that you set it down. You’re in my thoughts love. I wish you well. ❤

    • Thank you for all the support you have shown over the past year. Your comments have always been right on the money and much appreciated Lori. Much love from this side of the pond. X

  10. Thank you for sharing so much. It has been bitter sweet to hear about the life Mark had after we drifted apart and all he has left behind. You are amazing. Much love jenni

  11. Mate, u are tough as old boots, u just didn’t know it. You’re pulling yourself out one day at a time and doing the best job u can to carry on and be a BRILLIANT mum. Your an inspiration and I know mark would be so proud of u. We stevenses love u two nuts muchly xxxx

  12. Dear Lucie…

    Gosh, what a great post! I’ve sometimes felt as though I had no place being here, not being a widow (my own thoughts, you’ve always been most gracious and welcoming) but your experience has pulled me up sharp, and made me reassess my life, and I believe I am a better wife for that. Thank you for sharing yours, Mark’s and Bea’s lives with us. All the very best for the future, and I can’t wait to read your book!

    Much love
    Pru xx

    • That’s amazing feedback – thank you Pru! I’m so pleased you’ve been here, widow or not, you’ve offered comfort along the way for which I am eternally grateful. Sending you much love X

  13. I am sorry that you are thinking of ending your blog. I am only 8 months into widowhood and just recently found your blog which has been a bit of a lifeline. But I completely understand the need to move forward and hope to get to that point myself someday. Perhaps you can wind down your posts gradually, say monthly and then quarterly, before stopping altogether, so as to continue to be a beacon for those of us who are behind you. You need not write something with which we might commiserate. I, for one, am looking for hope and inspiration, and I would really like to know how other widows continue to successfully navigate themselves out of this wretched hole and what it is like as the years go by. On the other hand, don’t let us drag you down. You must do what you must do. Good luck to you on the rest of your journey. Thanks so much for sharing up to this point. I’m looking forward to reading your book.

    • Hi there – firstly thank you for the lovely words about the blog, I am so pleased it has been such a support to you. 8 months is still very early on the road (and I used to hate it when people said that to me, but turns out they were right.) If you don’t mind I’ll email you on the address you have supplied, that way we can keep in touch? Much love x

  14. Oh Lucie. I knew this day would come. I always read my emails in anticipation that there may be one there from u. I totally understand that u are moving on from this. I do intend to purchase your book as I think it will help me and feel I’m still in touch. I’m still at the point of throwing wine down my neck at every available opportunity. I keep saying to myself I’ll stop tomorrow but when evening comes It’s just too lonely and it helps , at this moment in time. Hopefully not forever. I’ll miss u Lucie Take care and live your life knowing that you’ve helped so many thro their grief by sharing yours. Love and great big hug xxx

    • Lynne, I hope the book will illustrate that you are not alone in all the behaviours you have mentioned and will provide some comfort. We never got round to that dog walk – perhaps now the weather has improved we can get out into the sunshine? Love xx

  15. Your blog allowed me to visit a point in my life that I never knew really, my mother being widowed with me so young. She endured it and has gone on to have a long life, married again, have other children and grandchildren. She is now widowed again in old age but loves her family and the life she had and has. I know there is one thing she would change if she could but she retains the memory of the love of her life and the time with him with great fondness and clarity.

    I hope you and your daughter will now be able to steadily rebuild your lives as she has done.

    I look forward to your book.

    • Your comments have always made a lot of sense to me and this one is no exception. Thank you so much for all the support you have shown throughout. Love to you. (And your mum…)

  16. Lucie, as so many others have said I have “enjoyed” reading your posts and I will miss your posts. You have said so many wonderful, heart wrenching and honest things and have resonated so much with my own experience since suddenly losing my husband too. Your posts have made me feel more true about my feelings than other online forums for the bereaved.

    I take this opportunity to Thank You and to wish you well in your future with your daughter.
    Xx

  17. Lulu,my lovely girl. Feels like this an important time for all of us.I could never have imagined, for example, that I would be sending you a post from over the ocean in Canada…never considered that we would ever be further apart than an arms length, but here we are..we’re doing it, and for me, touching base with my sister, your aunt,represents a huge and wonderful step.
    I have found it very moving reading the heartfelt messages you have received today and over the harrowing months you have been writing the blog. You have touched so many people and I know that they have touched and fortified you in return.
    Lizzie and all your family in Toronto send you love and hugs. We can’t wait to see you and the gang next week. Special snugs, your Moot xx
    ps Hope there’s not too much washing piled up when I get back!! xx

  18. I’ve only just discovered your wonderful blog and I’m sorry you won’t be doing it anymore (sorry for me, not you). My husband died suddenly a year ago (well, in 2weeks it will be a year) so much of what you have said has resonated. I’ve laughed and cried. I’ve sat here nodding and smiling. Mr Rioja has also been my best friend since Bob died.
    I honestly thought I was going mad, feeling worse now than I did months ago. I’ve avoided other widows/widowers. Not joined any groups etc. didn’t think I needed it. Most other widows I’ve met have been in their 60s or 70s. I was almost 50, not really old but too old for WAY . we had been together for just over 30 years ( all my adult life really) I barely know how to function without him.
    Sorry, didn’t mean to give you my life story just wanted to say that Your blog has really helped me, so thank you
    wishing you the best for the future (I’m def. buying your book) x

    • That’s such a sad story, thanks so much for sharing it. I’m glad some of what I’ve written has resonated. Wishing you strength for the upcoming anniversary – I hope, like me, you find it’s not as bad as you think it’s going to be – after all, it’s just one more day without our spouses – and every one of those is utter shit. Thanks for the support, I hope the book also resonates in some way. Much love and luck to you friend. X

    • Sorry for butting in, but you’re not too old to join WAY. There are lots of very young widows, but also lots of us in our late 40s, and you may find that the support offered will help, as we all ‘get it’. Hope you don’t mind me commenting and hope the anniversary is not too hard for you xx

  19. Go carve a future to be proud of – you deserve happiness, your daughter deserves happiness and though I never met Mark (my loss I think), I believe the man you have described would say ‘Fuck it’ – “don’t forget me but don’t let me stop you living”..!! Good luck Lucie and I wish you well with the book – this is the beginning.!
    James

    • Thank you sir, I do believe you’re right about Mark (and yes, your loss never to have met him, you would have loved him!) Sorry to hear you’re facing sorrow in your world at the moment, sending you a big hug and strength. X

  20. I’m sorry to read that this may be the last of your blog, having followed you for about six months. You express brilliantly, wittily, achingly, the utterly hideous unfairness of bereavement. Wishing you all success with your book (I’ll be buying a copy – hope you’re on a royalty deal!), with your other writing, and all the best of luck as you carve out a life in your new family.
    Barbara

    • Aww Barbara, that’s lovely, supportive feedback, thank you. I will be checking in every now and again, and I do hope you find some comfort in the book..thanks for the support. X

  21. Dear Lucie, I’ve shed many a tear over the past year as I’ve followed your blog with a heavy heart. Today I shed tears of hope. More than anything, I wish you and your daughter happiness. With great admiration, Sonia xx

  22. Hey lucie, like Barbara I’ve been reading your blog for about 6 months (8 months since Bryce died of an aortic disection). Your narrative and the stories of others have been so reassuring, comforting, confiding. We are not alone, there are sadly quite a lot of us out there and we are just one group that make up the diverse world we live in. No one wants to be a widow but it sounds like we have all experienced good men. I will miss your entries, but will look out for you book. Go well.
    Carmen

    • Hey Carmen…hope life is bearable for you at the moment, love your comment about us all experiencing good men, we should be very grateful for that. Love to you for the future, I’ll be checking in every now and again on the blog so do say hi again! Xx

  23. my dear Lucie,

    since I found you and your blog, I have been so very thankful that you and your beautifully expressed thoughts and feelings were a touchstone, a place to come to where I always knew I would find what I needed. I thank you so much for giving me and so many others the reassurance that we are not alone. I thank you for your personal messages of love and encouragement. I thank you for how much you care about others, and sometimes have made me laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of circumstances that catapulted us into a place we never wanted to be. I just went through the 1st anniversary of Hughs death – ouff – the “day” was okay, but the aftermath was beyond horrible. now I see this entry and I can only feel happiness and such hope for you and your baby girl to keep moving forward into a big, full life in which you can live joyfully albeit still missing your Mark, still taking grief’s hand when she bids you come take a walk to be where you need to be for awhile. it all gives me such hopefulness that someday I will be able to do the same. as I move forward i know i will revisit your incredibly helpful entries for comfort and encouragement. i am over-the-moon happy for the impending release of your book – can’t wait to read it. be well, be happy, and live life OUT LOUD.

    much love and thanks, my Friend

    Karen xoxo

    • Karen you have been such a great friend in all of this, I have appreciated each and every one of your comments and do hope I will continue to hear from you even if the blog is less frequent. I wish you nothing but good things for the future, we deserve it dear Karen! and we owe it to our beloved men. You’ve survived the anniversary, head down for another year, we’re all together in this and I’ll be willing you on from e sidelines! With much love, xxx

  24. Lucie – I’ve only been following your blog for a few months, but what an inspiration you’ve been. Your words have rescued me from drowning many times, and I’m sure they will continue to do so, even though you’re done sharing your trip through grief. There have been so many things you’ve said that have stuck with me – I think at one point you posted that you missed Mark, and “nobody else would do”. Whenever I feel that way, that line jumps into my head. Because that’s really what it is. There are tons of people around offering hugs and support, but none of them is the right person. You have such a knack for hitting the nail right on the head.

    I was so happy to read this most recent post, and see that the time has come for you to put the blog to rest. I was just saying to a friend the other day that I wished I could live the rest of my life for Andrew, thinking of him, missing him, and never moving on. But at 35, with so many years ahead, that’s just not possible. At a certain point, your life needs to be lived for you, and you need to define yourself by more than what you’ve lost. It looks like you’ve hit that point, and I think that’s just amazing (although honestly, in this blog I think you’ve defined yourself as more than a widow – that’s probably what makes your writing so good. You come across as a person first and foremost, and a widow second). In a weird way, and although I’ll miss it, it’s comforting to see that you no longer need the blog.

    All that to say that I wish you the best of luck in your next adventures – and I will absolutely be reading your book!

    xo

    • Stephanie! What an amazingly lovely comment, and so life-affirming! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. We have so much more life to live and owe it to our magnificent, courageous men to do it with gusto, even if sometimes we don’t want to or feel capable of doing so. I wish you so much luck for the future and thank you again for your endorsement of me and the blog. It means a lot. Love Lucie xx

  25. Lucie,
    I have really enjoyed your reading your blog and found it really helpful- my partner died 7 months ago. I love the way you write. Sorry your blog is coming to an end but completely understand why it is the right time for you and glad that you’ve found writing the blog helpful. I hope that you are able to use your writing skill and talent in other ways. I am really looking forward to reading your book and I wish you and your daughter all the best for the future.
    Nina x

  26. Well, I’m a bit late to this one, but what a lovely, uplifting post. I am so chuffed to read this, though I shall miss your blog… which seems rather wrong to say, but is testament to your writing, courage and vigour, and also demonstrates the support you have picked up along the way. You’re a strong woman; you proved that to us (and probably yourself, too) as the blog moved on. It’s nice that it has so clearly helped.

    You are truly an inspiration. The very best wishes to you and yours… don’t be a total stranger now, will you!

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