I’d changed job two years previously and, I have to say, the travelling and working hours were a real strain for both me and my wife Joy, leading to a bit of a cooling off between us. I suppose that’s not unusual in relationships, and all couples experience highs and lows.
At the 2000 millennium I was suddenly struck with the realisation that the chill was becoming seriously uncomfortable, and that it was time to turn the heating up. Romance re-ignited and I fell in love with my wife again. I was so glad of the chance to make her feel cherished at what turned out to be the most critical moment in our married life.
A year after, a minor ailment turned out to be an unrelenting cancer that took her life two years later. The rollercoaster of emotions and upheaval of those two years took me within a whisker of breaking point, to be immediately followed by the seemingly intolerable pain of losing the one I was so in love with.
Not only that, I really couldn’t imagine how I would cope with the sense of solitude of her just not being there, nor the demands of being a single parent.
My children, who were 13 and 14 at the time, have shown amazing resilience. We have cried, laughed, argued, and stayed close through all their growing up and my metamorphosis into a ‘do-it-all’ dad. There have been so many moments of grief-filled lunacy (or so it seemed at the time). I can hardly believe that six years have passed. We have climbed a treacherous mountain and survived.
Looking back, it is difficult to imagine how we have done it, but we have arrived at a place where the views can be wonderful, although there are still occasional storms.
There have been some wonderful ‘Sherpas’ who have helped us bear the load along the way. Care for the Family’s Widowed Young Support has been one, providing encouragement and welcome pit stops to unload and rest, enabling me to remember the love that I had and feel loved by those I still have.
At times I have felt so thankful to God for the opportunity we had to renew our love at just the right time, and to have held the tremendous gift of a fab wife and mum for so long. At other times? Well, I’d rather not say publicly. Thankfully, at Care for the Family there are those I can tell, who listen and understand.