Sometimes it can be dead good

Author: Ruth Nelson (Coventry)

For me, life changed quite suddenly in June 2004 when I awoke to find the man I had married, Tony aged 37, dead in bed. I was left to raise our 2 children then aged 8 and 3 by myself. Now over 6 years on, the 3 of us are still here. Definitely on a different journey in life to the one that I had planned, but also having experienced deeper depths and higher highs than I had imagined. You know I have found so many gifts in this experience:

- The gift of knowing that Tony is in heaven. He had given his life to Jesus in his teens and had also worked in Christian youth work for over 10 years. I remember my daughter saying that no matter what pain we were going through “I know daddy is in heaven having the time of his life”. And yeah, some days that was easier said than others.

- The gift of getting rid of unwanted telesales phone calls. I remember a few months after Tony’s death, my son answering the phone for someone looking for Tony to sell something. He told them “My dad’s died, but my mum’s still alive. Do you want to speak to her??” When the phone was passed to me, suddenly the person had nothing to sell!

- The gift of friendship. I am so thankful for the people who have been there for us. To listen, to tell stories about Tony, to cook, do some practical stuff and to give my children some “man time”. I think some friendships changed as sometimes it was difficult to be in a room full of married couples which can often happen in a church type situation and some friendships deepened. One of my great friendships has been with someone who themselves was widowed about 3 years ago (she is in her 60’s) and we have given mutual support. We have a meal together each week and I love the fact that some of her widowed friends sometimes make the food for our dinner – it’s an unwritten bond amongst us.

- The gift of new purpose. As my life changed, I realised that I had to set out new priorities for my life and what I wanted to achieve from it. I was doing things on my own and steering a new course – who was I and what was my purpose. There were still days when I felt that I had to live all my life in that day because I had seen the fragility of life, but slowly I have learned to find a balance to life; that the only moment in life that we can hold is this one now and we need to live each day with a sense of purpose.

- The gift of knowing that no matter how black our grief feels or how hopeless life seems that God is there even though we sometimes do not sense that. And that this can happen over many years and in different occasions. Its a gift that has been painful to take, but one that I have needed to learn in my life and has so greatly enriched it.

- The gift of wanting to help other people who have been bereaved. I love being able to have the privilege of doing this. I have walked with friends through their losses and helped where I could. One of the things that helped me initially was getting some support from the Christian family charity “Care for the Family”. They have a project called “A Different Journey” and for the past 2 years I have become a telephone befriender for them and also help facilitate on different support days that they do around the country. It is such a privilege to help other people in this way.

Sometimes it can be dead good

You know in life we are given many gifts. Some of the above are not ones that you would put on a Christmas list. But to truly get the most from each gift and make sure the sender knows we have had the value for money from the gift, it does need to be unwrapped and used a lot of times. Only then do we fully get the intended benefit from it. This journey of bereavement is not one which I would have chosen, but I can say I am glad for the things I am learning along the way.

If you want to find more information about “A Different Journey” they can be found on www.careforthefamily.co.uk and click under Living with Loss or telephone 029 2081 0800

Care for the Family: www.careforthefamily.co.uk. Care for the Family is a national charity which aims to promote strong family life and to help those hurting because of family breakdown or bereavement.