When my husband died in April 2006 he was 36 years old. He had no previous ill health, no warnings, no preparation. My son was a few months off his 4th birthday. I was in a state of shock and disbelief and it took every ounce of energy to hold myself together. I don’t have family here in Australia and although friends were very supportive, I felt lonely and isolated. As the reality set in I began to search for a support group, but there was nothing for people in my age group (36) with young children.
I knew that it was up to me to give into the hopelessness of my situation or to find a way to help myself and hopefully others like me. Ten months after Nick died I began facilitating support groups in my local area. Maria joined Ever After a few months in. She felt passionately as I did about helping others in our situation. Our friendship was and continues to be a blessing.
My life changed forever on the 3rd of August 2006, when my husband died unexpectantly. I was 35 years old and 12 weeks pregnant with our first baby. Six months after Dan’s passing I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. As the months progressed I was busy learning to be a mother. I found my emotions were all over the place, it was part grief and part being a new mother. Grieving and caring for a baby was exhausting and I found I had little time for myself.
I was surrounded with plenty of loving and caring family members and friends, yet I felt lonely and empty inside.
I found it difficult at times, I couldn’t just get up and leave, I had a responsibility now, I had my baby son depending on me.
I wanted to be a great mother, I wanted my son to grow up in a happy, positive and loving environment.
I knew I needed to talk to someone about my grief. I attended my first Ever After Widowed meeting just after the one year anniversary of Dan’s passing. It was a relief to be amongst people who truly understood my grief, emotions and the day to day living of being a widow and single parent.
Aisling & Maria's Story
In the beginning it was impossible for us to imagine ever being happy again or to believe anything good could ever come from our husband’s death. We both made a conscious decision in the early days knowing that this experience can leave you to spend a life time being angry and bitter or you can choose to work towards an environment of acceptance and healing. We began a journey of self discovery opening ourselves up to many forms of healing.
While neither of us can pinpoint the exact moment of that shift in our feelings of grief, what we can say is that over time the dark days become further apart and slowly the rays of light began to filter through.
There came a time when that first waking moment wasn’t filled with memories of our loss. Gradually we began to participate more in living and experienced more moments of happiness. The dark periods didn’t linger as long, as the fog cleared the world looked brighter which showed us we were healing. Now we can smile at our beautiful memories rather than mourn our loss.
Our husband’s lives ended far too soon. The best tribute we could pay them was to live full and happy lives for ourselves and our children.