February 25:D-day No 5

Five years. Half a decade. 1,828 days. 157,939,200 seconds. 2,632,320 minutes 43,872 hours. 261 weeks. Whatever unit of time I use it feels too bloody long since I distractedly said goodbye to my husband as he left the house in a flurry to go and play tennis. How can I have survived the half decade that I have since Colin’s heart stopped working at 3.01 on a south London road on Saturday 25th February 2012. When I saw that policeman’s uniform through the windows of my front door I didn’t think I could live a minute without him let alone five whole years. The 25th of February 2012 is the day that my whole life changed completely and forever and somehow this year feels worse than year one, two, three or four. The world has spun me so very far away from him now and the pain may has multiplied with every eon. And now sometimes he feels like a figment of my imagination.

So I do. I imagine him in our lives everyday. I imagine how he would enjoy the funny, enlightening and sometimes baffling conversations I have with my girls. I imagine how he would be part of so many small decisions about their wee lives (ballet or tap, Irish or highland, packed lunch or school dinners) and also the great big, huge ones (money, wills, education). I imagine him proud of them reading books to themselves, being kind (every so often in Isla’s case), being so keen to learn everything and just proud of them for being fabulous.

It was so hard to imagine life without him in those early moments, hours and days and now it’s hard to imagine him here. Enjoying it all.

What is real and not imagined though is that I am grateful his death has changed me for the better. I wish he hadn’t had to die for me to realise that life is not about the things, the stuff, the car, the house, what other people have and don’t have and is their life better than your because of it. My world now is so much more about the people I fill it with. His death has made me full of empathy for others where perhaps I didn’t always put my feet in others shoes without opinion and judgement. His death has made me aware of the mortality of everyone I love and also myself. I would feel I’ve done a bad job of being on this earth if I didn’t do my utmost to raise col’s wee beings to be amazing people. He was so they shall be too. I hope with all my heart.

A tough weekend and a tough week. You hear less and less from people as the years tick on. In year one I would probably have held a bitter grudge. Now I just nod to myself and think it’s only because they just don’t know how this death of a partner and intense grief thing works. It’s hell. It’s ongoing and it doesn’t melt away as life goes on. And now, clear my throat, it is time for my crusading bit. I am glad my friends (well some of them) don’t know how widowhood can be, how it is all encompassing. I wouldn’t want them to. However, just in case the worst does actually happen to any of those I care about I am appealing to everyone out there to send a letter to their MP. It takes two seconds on this link I am sharing. One day that could be you or someone very close to you receiving a policeman’s knock on the door or some bad news delivered by a harassed doctor. Current plans by the government will rob those who do (after April 6) of much needed funds, compiled from the deceased’s NI contributions, and it makes my head spin with devious way it is happening to those who do not even know they need it yet. Rant over.

11 Replies to “February 25:D-day No 5”

  1. Nicola, I have been thinking about you as I knew 5 years was coming up for you. It is 5 years for me in June and as you say for some reason it is as painful as ever. It is gratifying to read your comments because as we know nobody knows until happens to you. Your blog has and still does help me enormously. I too will be putting pen to paper as I was unaware of this and it is so unfair.

  2. You have the right to rant as much as you want Nic! I know you have and will raise Col’s wee girls to be amazing people… how could they not be with you as their mother.
    Sam x
    PS: As I cant write to an MP I’ll ask my rellies to x

  3. Hi Nicola

    I am half a decade like you how have we survived ?

    Keep up the good work I can relate to all you say and do ,

    I am an older widow but a widow is a widow and I had the sudden death like you .

    Best wishes

    Sylvia X

    Sylvia Brooks
    Sent from my iPad

  4. Dear Nicola, I was thinking of you on 25 February, as I knew that that was the anniversary of your awful day. I am coming up to five years too and like you I had a sudden death. Michael died in his sleep of a heart attack on 3 June 2012, the day of the Queen’s Jubilee. Every time that I see a photo of the flotilla on the Thames that day it makes me so sad. I agree about people who have not experienced the death of a spouse simply not understanding the devastation it causes to the survivor. You are lucky that you have your and his two wonderful girls to live for. What a lovely photo.
    Cliona Howell

  5. Hi there, I came across your blog tonight by chance and was struck by the similarities (unfortunately!). My own wife passed away aged 32 in Feb 2012 also, the 10th, after a 2.5 year battle with breast cancer. I have 2 boys, who were 2 & 5 at the time.
    Here in Ireland the situation with welfare is that I receive €50-60 in total per week until they are 18. We have some funny rules around co-habitation, but I’ll cross that bridge when it comes to pass.
    It always feels like the government attitude to widow(er)s, is that they are all elderly. The reality is that the cost of these payments to widows with u18 children must be minuscule in the wider scheme of welfare costs, yet there are so much more emotions involved than any other form of welfare.
    All the best, Paddy

  6. My goodness, what is it about 2012?! A bad year for all of us. I was most struck by the early part of your post (having already written said letter) about how ones life changes and we get even more life now because our priorities have changed / are different. On another post you referred to non-widowers being able to go back to their life without the awkwardness of acknowledging death and I thought “oh yeah, i’d forgotten that most people feel awkward about death” – because like you, my family (me and my 3) talk about it a lot, it’s normal and therefore not a big thing, which is def for the better! Anyway keep up the good work (prompting smiles for us). 😊

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