Sunday, 22 February 2015

In the Beginning There was the End

Louise and I met relatively late in life, in June 2010 and were married in September 2011. Louise was an inspirational doctor working in general practice in a socially deprived area of Bermondsey. She cared passionately about people and making their lives better, instinctively supporting the underdog and seeing beauty and goodness where others saw none. She was much loved by her colleagues for her intelligence, commitment,  energy, enthusiasm, willingness to help others and sense of fun. She was also hugely popular with her patients, giving unreservedly to provide them with the best possible care, often at the expense of her own wellbeing.

Louise was also a talented painter with a particular love of watercolours, she loved cycling and running - she had completed the Coast to Coast cycle ride twice and the London Marathon - and also enjoyed, birdwatching, gardening and choral singing and undertook nature conservation voluntary work. She was a much adored Aunt by her six nephews and nieces and almost equally loved by her numerous god children. She was increasingly politically active in an effort to maintain the values and services of the National Health Service to which she was so committed. Louise's energy, enthusiasm and zest for life left many people trailing in her wake.

Yet on Friday 23rd January 2015 I came home late from work to discover that Louise had taken her own life at the tragically young age of just 40. Unseen other than by those closest to her, Louise had also fought a long battle with extraordinary strength, determination and tenacity against intermittent but insidious depression arising from what had been diagnosed as bi polar disorder (Louise sometimes characterised her condition differently but whatever the description the impact and outcome was the same).

This blog is part of my attempt to come to terms with the loss of my beautiful and much loved wife and an effort to reach out to others affected by the loss of their partner in such devastating circumstances. It will record my journey through the early days of grief and my attempts to make sense of and adjust to the new realities of my life as a widower at the age of 46. If just one other person in a similar situation reads this and finds some comfort in my words, perhaps in the knowledge that they are not alone in their own distress, then at least Louise will, indirectly, still be reaching out to help people even now.


  1. You're helping us. One at a time. My husband was 35, also in the medical profession as a pharmacist. I met him for a date at his grave for our 3rd wedding anniversary ... we didn't even make it to 3 years. I'm on day 56. Keep writing. It helps. We both seem stuck processing everything logically to a fault and also not being able to express anger at our loves. I'm angry with myself instead which means I feel extreme guilt for every action I took or didn't take in the weeks leading up to his death. Glad I found you on Alliance of Hope today and will continue to read your posts. Xo.

  2. Steph, I am so desperately sorry for your loss and the fact that you had even less time with your husband than I had with Louise. I often find myself trying to bargain with God - 'couldn't we have been given just another 5 years/2 years/even 6 months together?' Lots of people find that anger is a natural and helpful emotion but it just wasn't one which was present in either Louise or myself and certainly wasn't ever a feature of our marriage so I guess it isn't so surprising that its completely absent in me even now. I won't tell you that you mustn't blame yourself because I know that's pointless, we do anyway. When people tried to reassure me that I had done everything I possibly could I just felt that they weren't listening to what I was trying to say to them. But I am slowly learning to live with that guilt and to understand that, as Louise herself put it in her farewell note, 'ultimately no one person can fully hold another'. I very much hope that you are able to as well. My heart goes out to you Steph. I know that its very early days but unlikely as it may feel at the moment you will find the strength to come through this and, in time, rebuild your life. I hope that the days are gentle on you in the meantime.