I try very hard not to ask why Louise took her life. There is no need. I know why. Both the short and the long answer.
The short response is that Louise was temporarily overcome by the bleakest of darknesses which she tried bravely to fight but eventually overcame her. It subverted her ability to think rationally, to lift her head and look beyond the short term desperation she was struggling with, to think about the consequences for myself and the rest of the family.
Monday, 23 March 2015
Louise's death provides me with a new reference point from which I measure the passage of time and my own personal development. In a sense a new self was born on 23rd January; wiser, sadder, hopefully more gentle, loving and understanding and with different ambitions and goals to the one that had existed before. There is no other single event in my life which has so defined and reshaped me - and will no doubt continue to do so in ways which I cannot currently imagine.
Thursday, 19 March 2015
It's curious how misery is so often perceived as being relative rather than absolute. We hear on countless occasions the phrase 'there is always somebody worse off than you'. And we take comfort in this, as if it's a zero sum game - another person's suffering can somehow alleviate our own.
Sunday, 15 March 2015
A few days ago I thought that I was making some progress. Some of the rawness and immediacy of the shock and grief had worn off. There were intervals when I was able to concentrate on other things, slowly re-engaging with some of my interests. I was beginning to lift my head a little, to think about the short term future. I made arrangements to return to work, started to consider what I might do to occupy my spare time and even began to contemplate a holiday later in the year. I still broke down several times a day. The tears didn’t stop and there was obviously no happiness. But neither, for much of the day, was there an overwhelming sense of sadness or despair. I found myself thinking ‘I can survive this’.
Thursday, 12 March 2015
Wednesday, 11 March 2015
That instinctively doesn't sound right does it? Over the course of the past few weeks I've read extensively about bereavement, and coping with the loss of a partner. And one subject that seem to be rarely addressed is the sense of loss the surviving partner experiences for the sexual relationship we enjoyed with our loved one.
Monday, 9 March 2015
Everything that I have read about bereavement suggests that anger is a natural emotional response to the death of a loved one. Perhaps this might be expected to be particularly true in the case of suicide. How could my partner have done this to themselves? How could they have been so selfish and done this to me? How could they have left me with all this to deal with, not just now but for the rest of my life?
Sunday, 8 March 2015
Louise and I moved into our current house less than two years ago. It was the first place that we had bought together as a couple and we intended to stay here for the rest of our lives. I will now always treasure the photo of Louise about to cross the threshold for the first time on the day we moved in. It was just a snapshot taken on my phone but it perfectly captures a moment of happiness, excitement and high hopes for the future life we were going to create together.
Thursday, 5 March 2015
When I was first grasping for language and imagery which would somehow convey the scale of my loss and grief I tried to describe things by saying that Louise's death profoundly affected every aspect of my life from the moment I got up to the moment I went to bed. But of course that is only half the story because it omits the seven or eight hours in between which are the most intimate of any marriage.
Wednesday, 4 March 2015
Its now nearly 6 weeks since Louise died and I still spend virtually every waking moment (and many sleeping moments) thinking about and analysing the events of 23rd January and the implications. Its both emotionally and physically exhausting to focus so intensely on something for so long almost without any distraction. I can't open a book or watch TV because I just wouldn't be able to concentrate. In any event Louise and I almost never watched TV so having the set on would only serve to emphasise the abnormality and Louise's absence. I avoid complete silence around the house with music but can't play my favourite tracks since most would have an association of some description with Louise.
Tuesday, 3 March 2015
One of the many reasons that I loved Louise so much was that she was extremely analytical and reflective. Always thinking, always challenging, always seeking the truth but always realistic and flexible enough to recognise that when she found it there was likely only to be ambiguity and uncertainty. It gave her great wisdom and insight and an acute awareness of and identification with the needs of others. It was what made her so passionate about championing the socially excluded and was partly why she was such an effective and popular doctor. Louise would spend hours at the end of the working day reviewing case notes and re-thinking earlier consultations. This would often give her fresh insight and lead to improved outcomes for her patients, who loved her for it.
Monday, 2 March 2015
It seems that every day I discover new aspects of loss. I was thinking this morning of all the wonderful holidays Louise and I enjoyed together. We were fortunate that we had sufficient time and disposable income to take two holidays and usually a couple of weekend breaks a year. We were probably able to experience more in our 4 1/2 years together than many couples do in twice that time. I am blessed with a precious store chest of memories and photographs, for which I am very grateful.