My beloved husband, Kent, died in January 2012, 3 years after diagnosis of a brain tumour. Our son was 2 1/2 and our daughter 3 months old. He and I were far too young. I am now hurtling through the black space of life without him.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013


I wrote this about the little girl last week on my other blog:

I was crying the other day. In her room, as it happened. She came to the almost closed door. "Me come in?" She came in and stood beside me. "Me rub Mummy back. Make Mummy better. Mummy want big Daddy. Rub Mummy back." She stroked my bare arm. "Me pat Mummy arm." She went and got a stool so she could climb up on to her change table and stand up and look at the photos of Daddy, while I watched. "Mummy not crying anymore."

It happened again a couple of days later. She raced in to the room, saw me, paused to take stock, then came over and sat beside me on the sofa. Not only did she rub my back, she also reached up and put back in to place a little piece of my hair that had tucked in to my mouth. She truly cheered me up. Not just because I felt I ought to. That girl is a pot of gold.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Grief and the black dog

I've scraped my fingers
on the infinite concrete wall
that I have to try and scale
every day.
My legs are aching
from wading through
this thick and heavy mud
every day.
My lungs have filled
with the black water
that I flounder around in
every day.
Please, not another day.
Please, not another day like all these.
Please, not another day without him.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Margaret Drabble

Biographer, author, critic.

“I write to find out what I think, and to sort out more about the world I live in. It’s both what I think and an exploration taking me a bit beyond what I’ve observed. An ability to make connections. When I’m writing things connect in a way that they don’t everyday when you’re just going shopping or catching the bus. They make connections on another level.”

Monday, 7 October 2013

Joan Didion

Author, wife, widow.

"Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look forward beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect this shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be "healing." A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to "get through it," rise to the occasion, exhibit the "strength" that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steal ourselves for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able to even get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself."

From The Year of Magical Thinking
by Joan Didion

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Smashing Apples

The white waves
crashed over the rocks,
froth spilling beautifully
over the jagged edges
and filling the spaces
like smashing apples.
The wind blew through
my coat
finding only bones
and empty spaces
where once stood
you and I.


This loss,
this grief,
is like
no other.
we were one,
now I am
it feels

Without you

It doesn't matter where I go
nor what I do
every night
I lay my head
in a bed
without you.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Mary Oliver

"Come on, take the journey, you, me and all, take the the step. No matter time or distance, all irrelevant.
For a broken spirit the longest journey is to the front door to open it."

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Dinner for Kent

Dinner for Kent                               
Saturday 21st September
Kent’s 37th Birthday

Hi everyone,

As always, I have a few things to say, but thought writing rather than talking tonight would be a lot easier. Thanks for coming. I hope we have a nice time. They say this idea is hard at first, but it gets a little easier over the years, and that it is good to gather together to remember/celebrate/mourn.

Do swap seats over the evening if you would like to, and come round and say hi. I may have to race off quickly with Reuben and Esther after 7.15 and probably won’t manage 35 goodbyes, so hope to catch up with you during dinner. I hope you’ll also find an opportunity to talk with each other about Kent.

We talk about him often at home and Reuben still seems to have some memories of him. I hope that we can all teach them more about Kent as they grow older. Words can’t say how hard it is (though I do try! Thank you those of you who read my stuff) but I miss him so much that my bones ache, and wonder how to do life without him, though we seem to be doing it anyway.

Kent’s headstone is now in place at Whenua Tapu. I’d love you to go and see it sometime.

You have found a place in my heart, and so that place is yours.
It will fly your flag, speak your language, and honour you with festive parades forever.
(- unknown)

Saturday, 24 August 2013


Were we talking about
your forever
or mine?
And what's all this
"until the end
of time"?
Because your clock
has stopped
and mine's
still ticking.
And what on earth
am I going to do
with all of this
infinite love
I still have
for you?

Monday, 19 August 2013

Approaching Midnight

Some things are too painful to put in to this space, and some have never made it out of my journal. This one should perhaps stay there. But maybe, said aloud, the words will diminish the power?

It's in these last moments of the night
the pain comes like a silent killer.
I'm somewhere between asleep and awake,
silent, still, on the edge of oblivion
when the knife that sits always within me
slowly starts twisting
silver and glinting.
It shreds my insides.
I sit atop the knife point of grief
silent, still, waiting for oblivion
tears dropping from the corners of my eyes.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Wiping tears

"On no Mummy." The wee poppet came rushing in to the kitchen. "Oh no Mummy." It's not an uncommon phrase in our house at the moment. "Well that sounds important," I said. I gave her my hand and she led me through the hallway to the lounge. Right up to this picture, and pointed at the young woman.

Oh. Gosh.
"Yes," I said. "She's having a wee cry."

"Nee. Nee. Mummy room." And she bustled off on her own this time. Nee means nose, and she returned from my room with a tissue. And started wiping the tears of the young grieving woman.

I watched, speechless for a while.
"Um, can Mummy use the tissue too please?"
And she handed it to me.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Fine lines

A really interesting article has had some publicity on Facebook lately, and some of you may have seen it. More than one of my friends had a read and shared it round their own friends. I am delighted they care enough, and are passionate enough, about the topic to spread the word.

The article was written by Susan Silk and Barry Goldman for the LA Times. Susan has recently created something called Ring Theory, to help us understand how best to support those going through a crisis. The essence is this: The person suffering most in the crisis is at the centre of the ring, and those closest to them are in the closest rings beside them. The less you know the person at the centre, the further out you are in the rings. If you are struggling with what is happening, and need to "kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, "Life is unfair"" you can only do this to people in rings further out than you. Don't dump it on the people who are in smaller rings and having a tougher time than you are. Dump it on the people further out, and provide only comfort to those further in.

Ring Theory by Susan Silk

I liked this as I read it, and it makes great sense. I intended to share it with my Facebook friends. And then I thought about me.

A while back I got a hug from a friend  - a close friend of mine and close friend of Kent's. I had a tear or two, and then I found myself asking "do you miss him?" You see, noone really tells me they do. Noone tells me there is a huge hole in their life now he is gone, or that they cry about him, or that they think about him or that they get mad about him dying or.. anything. I suppose noone does because it is worse for me. My friends are kind and generous and sensitive and they want to take care of me. Doing any of the above would feel like dumping on me. But actually I would like to hear these things. The idea or impression that everyone else in this world has adjusted to Kent's death or moved on is a dreadful one. And no doubt an incorrect one. But I just never hear it. And generally that means he doesn't get talked about at all.

I don't need people to dump on me. But I need people to mourn with me. It may be a fine line, and some may wobble around the line. But that's OK with me, especially if we're crying together, instead of alone.