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.

Monday, 28 January 2013


I went to Harvey Norman today to buy a new charger for my phone. I could see Kent everywhere. He was always easy to spot. Checking out the flat screens, admiring the new phones. Guiding me over to the laptops to show me some cool ones he thinks I might like, dreaming about buying one one day. On the way out having a test-sit on a sofa, me knowing the verdict on its comfort simply by the look on his face.

It's my Life

Actually, I was anxious about crying at the cemetery on Sunday. I can't really say I'm private about grief when I write a blog about it, but I am certainly private about crying. I even write a bit about it in my own journal, but I don't expect you will see any of that here. During perhaps the hardest part of our little ceremony on Sunday, when Thalia sang, I sat with the little guy who told me part way through, with great concern, that the head was falling off his little wooden toy. So once again, as at the funeral and as in life, my grieving was distracted by the need to attend to my children. Thank goodness for that. At home I do find times to grieve properly of course, but they are the reason why I have to dig my way out of the hole.

I did cry a little on Sunday. I also made some conversation, enjoyed the antics of my kids, got a job done (planting a plant for Kent) and was held by some of my friends. It occurred to me that this is what my life is. A great big package of grief that travels alongside of me as I live out the other parts of my life.

The small sense of calm that this idea brought me was exploded in the following days as both devastation and anger hit in waves higher than I have ever seen. But I suppose that's the point. The waves went out to the horizon for a bit, I still cooked dinner and changed nappies and got out of bed every morning, and so the co-habitation of these two parts of my life continues.

Sunday, 20 January 2013


It was January the 17th the other day. Thursday. Like all other Thursdays, and all other days, I lived it knowing you were gone. I woke without you beside me, got up and got the kids their breakfast without you. We lived our day without you there, and I tucked them in to bed and kissed them good night and you did not. I went to bed in the silence of you not being here, and curled up in the dark without you. It was a bad day, just like all the other days. As it happens, I have been doing this knowing you are gone for 365 days. So we lit a candle for you this morning, and played a song. I sat at your grave under my big black hood for a long time, and later, with nothing else I wanted to do, I baked a cake. There is not one piece of me that misses you one drop less than it did 364 days ago.

It's been hard to know how to write over the last month, though on some levels I have wanted to. I always say that I miss Kent every day no matter what the significance (or not) of the day. But yes, Christmas was hard, the lead up especially. As well as missing Kent I missed the joy and excitement and let-go-of-your-worries-for-a-bit that December brings. Christmas Day was primarily another day without Kent, that's always the most significant thing, with Christmas just thrown in on top. On the day he wasn't there to (amongst a million other things) help me with my cooking, help Esther open her presents, play with Reuben and his new toys, hold my hand when we walked round the lake, and talk with me in bed about what a lovely day we'd had. I've tried hard to fend off envy of "everyone else" having holidays, time at the beach, family fun, taking a break, getting away from it all. I think over the last month, the difference between what my life is, compared to how it was supposed to be, has become even bigger, bigger than it has ever been. I suppose December and January will always bring this.

And January has brought memorial time, and marking of the 1st anniversary. In some ways it has meant very little; it was another day without him. They say that time heals, but I don't believe healing comes in one year increments, so the 17th was just another day in my journey of learning how to live like this. I am anxious about the idea that having done one year, it should be onwards and upwards from here. As I have said to some of you, I feel I have barely started this journey. I do give a nod to the young widow who commented that the first year anniversary was, for her, a positive day. She had survived the first year, and darn it, she would survive more.

One year also represents to me Kent being further and further in my past, which is a concept that terrifies me. The idea of him becoming a memory, and not a part of my current life, appalls me. Perhaps one day, as each year passes, I will think of it as one less year until I see him again... but I'm not sure that should be the focus or the attitude for a long time yet.
This afternoon we held a memorial service at Whenua Tapu. Peggy read a few remarkably appropriate words from Kent's 21st speech. Thalia sang Into The West (sung by Annie Lennox for The Return of the King), and we planted a small memorial garden.


400 times I have lain down in our bed without you. 400 times. I don't think I ever really realised there were SO many days in (a little more than) a year. I have recently taken down the calendar that I looked through a year ago, and discovered how long, blank and empty a year looks without you. 

And tomorrow will be another tomorrow without you.

Baking on the 17th of January                                

How wonderful life was, when you were in the world

Into the West