This post has been really hard for me to write as grief is such an overwhelming experience that everyone deals with differently.
It feels like forever and yesterday
I remember saying that to my incredibly strong, courageous friend Katie not long after her husband was killed.
It feels like forever since we heard his laugh, since he gave us advice, since he was there open arms for a big hug, since his impressions, since he quoted ALL the films.
It feels like yesterday I got the call to say he’d been killed. A call I never in a million years expected to get. I know I heard the words but it didn’t compute.
This weekend will be two years since Garry died. Two years and it still doesn’t feel real. I don’t know that it ever will.
I’d never experienced grief in this way before.
I had lost people that I loved but always after they had been poorly. Always with the heartbreaking knowledge that it was inevitable. And as broken hearted I had been each time I had to say goodbye to someone I loved I’d always had time to process it.
With Garry there was no time. He was stolen from us by someone who wasn’t paying attention. An arrogant series of bad decisions meant that Garry went out one evening and never came home.
He didn’t get to watch his little girl grow up. She was 20 months old when he died.
How do you explain to a toddler not old enough to understand why Daddy isn’t coming home?! She knew he was missing – he was such a huge part of her world. But she didn’t know where he had gone.
How do you grieve your soul mate when you still have to get up everyday and look after your baby!?
It still catches me off guard.
Did that actually happen?!
Katie and I have gone through the best and worst times in our lives together. The thing that has cemented our friendship has been that we experienced those highs and lows at the complete opposite time to each other.
Katie was pregnant with her daughter when I suffered a miscarriage.
I had my daughter two weeks after her husband was killed.
I’m not saying we were there for each other as we should have been and I’m not saying our decisions during that time were always right. But being able to deal with those life changing situations and still have a really strong friendship at the end of it is only testament to the kind of friends we are.
I’m proud of how we navigated our grief and were able to be really honest with each other to make it out the other side.
There will always be part of me that worries Garry never fully forgave me for being so unsupportive of Katie’s pregnancy. At that time I was grieving the baby I’d never get to meet. I wasn’t a good friend at that time. Not nice to be around. I hope he understood that I was lost in a kind of grief that is very difficult to explain unless you’ve been through it. It will be one of my life regrets that we never had that conversation.
I’ve talked before about being inspired by strong women.
Well this one is the strongest I know
I know you don’t think that you are strong. I know that a lot of times over these past two years you have felt like life will never be the same again and you’ve wondered what is the point.
You have worked so hard to make a new life for your daughter and I can’t tell you how incredible that is.
I’m in awe of you.
To be able to have the courage to find the happy for her and for yourself is amazing. I learn so much from you and am so incredibly lucky to call you my friend.
I want you to remember every time you doubt the decisions you make for yourself and that precious little girl that he would be so proud of you.
He would be proud that you have started a new chapter and you strive to make sure she has a happy life.
And for everyone who has questioned your choices – it is not their life to choose.
It’s not their grief.
He wasn’t their husband.
She isn’t their daughter.
I defy any of them to have coped as well in their darkest days as you have.
Still think you should write a book about all the ridiculous, ignorant things people have said to you since you became a widow.
You’ve managed to remain honest, funny, beautiful, brave and loving when your whole world fell apart. I’m not sure you realise what an achievement that is!
Only you know what is best and I’m sure there will be mistakes along the way but as much of a superwoman as you are you’re still human.
Let it go.
No one else is walking in your footsteps so no one else has the right to judge.
And though you may have to walk these steps yourself to move your family forward know that you have a tribe of friends surrounding you.
We’ll be there for every step. We’ll pick you up every time you fall.
You are a Queen.
I love you x