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, 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.


  1. I would never say I was particularly close to Kent. I didn't know him as well as Michael did, or his closest friends, and nowhere near as much as you, but I really, REALLY liked him! Sometimes now, for whatever reason, I am reminded of Kent, or just find myself thinking of Kent and the unfairness of this huge mess and the pain I feel, and how small that is in comparison to your pain, and, Angela, I cry pretty much every time! I am crying now. I miss him, his smile. I feel like when we visit you, (which will be soon!!) I don't know what to say or do. I'm afraid to do the wrong thing, and to hurt you more. I wish he was there, to complete things. But he isn't, and we are all slowly adjusting to that. I am so proud of you, in every way. I hope you can see and feel how far you have come in your grief, and that you can say you are better now than you were a year ago, and that you believe you will be even better a year from now. I hope you are truly moving on, step by step. I don't think anyone who was Kent's friend has stopped mourning. So don't worry, we are there with you. xxx

    1. I think I know it happens. But it is kept from me.

  2. Angela - so, so really bothered me (and still does I suppose) that people stop talking about them like they never existed. I know it is a case of people trying not to be upsetting or not knowing what is the 'right' thing to say, but 'something' is always so much better than nothing isn't it, as clumsy as it may feel for people. I love it when someone shares a memory about Mike or just mentions him in passing, it brings him back to me for a minute. Sure, sometimes it can bring tears, but often in a welcome way, and it is all important acknowledgement of their lives. I also know that in a vain way Mike would hate to think he isn't talked about(!) Thanks for sharing this thought, the more people that know the better x

  3. I miss Kent too, every time I see you and every time I think of you three. The wrongness of his death never goes away.