My first husband died very young and very suddenly. We were together quite a while but married only a short time. Years later I married another lovely man and we now have a beautiful daughter. I learnt a lot mostly about myself from that experience but here are some altogether unexpected lessons from my grief experience:-

1) People get uncomfortable when you mention your first husband’s name especially if your husband is in that company….. I’m thinking, he was a huge part of my life, part of your life too if you are my oldest friends, why wouldn’t I mention his name from time to time?. So here’s the deal – I don’t love my husband any less because I have wonderful memories of someone else and other times but sometimes people seem to feel that might be the case.

2) I will still remember his birthday and his anniversary. Please don’t be surprised. Please don’t be that person who said ‘I assumed you wouldn’t want to mark it now you are remarried’. I will always remember it – being lucky enough to have found love and happiness doesn’t wipe out what happened, I still remember it and I respect his memory enough to want to mark it.

3) I do still visit his grave from time to time – see no 2 above!

4) Some friendships will disappear too. You don’t just lose a person you lose a group of friends in some cases, maybe you just don’t fit, maybe you remind them too much of times gone by, maybe it was him they liked. It’s fine, I learnt to accept that it happened for reasons I didn’t and won’t ever know.

5) There is so much loss that sometimes other peoples’ backs are breaking so much they can’t help you, all they can do is cry with you…. And actually that really helps too after all.