Hi all,

I thought that you have had enough about reading about how I have been using walking to help me with my grief journeys and let you into the world that lies behind my mask. I have been writing about my grief journey, mainly to try and understand my own feelings, but like my walking stories that I have posted here, writing and reading is helping me. So with that in mind, allow me to share my feelings, if nothing else it will let me feel that I’m not alone in the way I feel.

I have been posting on other media and bereavement sites and have noticed that people have been engaging with how grief has been affecting both me and my family. It is also blatantly obvious that either more men have lost their lives or women are the only ones to share what bereavement means to them.

It’s important to say at this point that these views are entirely my own, I’m not a bereavement counsellor, so if these blogs help, then that is good, if they don’t, then I sincerely hope that you take what I write in the good faith it was intended.

I suspect that as men, we are pre-programmed to just suck it in and not show our feelings, but in my opinion, that’s just rubbish. I feel the loss so deeply that I can’t just hold it all in and carry on. I have tried to be the “Tough Guy” but it’s just dragging me into a well of despair, I’m staring down the barrel of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, reclusiveness or just putting it simply, I’ve lost my way, but to reassure you, I’m not going to do anything stupid, I have a loving family that needs me as much as I need them, so we are all ok on that front, but having said that, I can clearly see how that line could be crossed.

I set up with the family Micatravels as a charitable cause to promote awareness and raise funds so that people can be aware of the terrible effects of Cholangiocarcinoma and Sepsis and research can be supported so that one day a life can be saved.

This is the main driving force that is keeping my family and specifically me on the path of hope. I need to do it for my wife, my family need to do for their mum and the siblings for their sister, but, and this is a big but, whilst we bury ourselves into the charitable cause, bluntly, its a distraction and just masks the heartbreak that we all feel.

An example of this, is that Mr. Tough Guy (me) has taken nearly a year to recognise that I need help, not from those that I love so dearly, they are also going through grief, but from professional people that are either well trained or unfortunately have suffered loss themselves. Their anonymity will give an unbiased view of the road I’m travelling along, hopefully I will be able to show my feelings, wishes, and maybe hopes to them and get an understanding of how to deal with my feelings. Grief is a job you are thrust in without and training and you can’t learn the job without a mentor steering and guiding you.

You can’t rely on your heart or head to steer you, frankly you are too screwed up to make and sensible decisions, your heart is broken, your head is trying to process your feelings and at the same time keep yourself alive, life goes on, and you simply have to do things to keep going. It might be trying to work to earn money, it might be the things you took for granted, like shopping, cooking, cleaning even remembering birthdays or bills that need to be paid and in the early days, you have to sort out the funeral for the most dearest person in your life. You have cope with this when every sinew in your body does not want to do it or even believe it.

Once you get past these “hurdles” you then have to deal with guilt, for no reason other than you are getting on with life of sorts, is not right.

Betrayal is another feeling, what right have you to laugh, enjoy or even think of future. Perish the thought of a distant contemplation of a companion in later years, how could you even think of that! You can’t “move on” that just forgets all that you been through with your loved one.

Finally, judgement, what will people think of you if you just get on with life or even just cope. What is a respectable time for grief at the end of the day? If she is in an immortal sub level somewhere and when your time comes, your souls collide, if you have stepped out of line, made a few silly mistakes or fully “moved on” whatever that means, will you live the rest of your immortal life living with the upset of knowing that you didn’t stay true to your love of the life. Who knows, I suppose there is only one way to find out and then you can’t go back or tell others.

So as you can see, I am not capable of making a sensible decision, well not yet anyway, that’s why I need help. I’m pleased to say, that after a long time of convincing myself that I didn’t need help, I finally got the call from a bereavement counsellor and have a time slot to share my feelings.

So with this in mind, I thought it might be useful to share my journey with you, after all, I’m just another heartbroken husband thrust into a dreadful life, but I’m too tired to suck it up anymore and be Mr. Tough Guy but feel brave enough to share my journey with you for no other reason, than I can’t be the only husband that has lost his wife and lost his way.

I have 3 more stories about my battles, they might be useful to post, who knows hey.


I admire your post so sorry for your loss. I lost my husband 18 months ago the first year every one told me how strong I am how do they know I was a wreck still am some days. I’m a nurse so I suppose everyone thinks she can get through this how wrong I went down hill never thought I would get back up I accepted help and counselling it’s not took away my pain but I’m functioning now. I’m glad your accepting help I hope it helps
Take care

Hi Kim

So sorry, about your Husband. Firstly, only we know how hard it is, it’s different for everyone, but loss physically, mentally and emotionally, are heavy burdens that we wear all the time and when our distractions have ceased for the day, they all come out to gnaw at our hearts. For me and I’m sure for many, these are the hardest times.

Lately, I try and embrace rather than fight those feelings, I write, I talk, I listen and I try and understand and I’m trying to learn. I have lost the one true love, like you, and I read so many stories, they all hurt, they are people like you and I, in pain, suffering and powerless to find hope.

I wish I knew the answer, but writing about my feelings helps. The thing is, and this is something we would never want, we have first hand experience and that unfortunately makes us experts. I’m just trying to share what I have had the misfortune of experiencing, if it helps others then it sort of helps me.

But to be honest, I’m just trying to get along like everyone else, but it’s not going to define me. I have to turn my loss into good somehow.

I hope and pray for peace in your life.


Hi Mike

So sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing your journey and. I would like to read more when you are ready.
I suspect most of us put up the “I am ok” mask when in reality we are not, only to get the comment back “you are doing really well”.I have difficulty registering that this is forever and how I navigate through that.
It’s good to share our experiences and thoughts, it’s why I come on here. I know I am not alone. Thanks again.


Sorry the reply was to Mike

I’m glad that you are not trying to be Mr Tough Guy. We are all human beings and we all have feelings. Those who love deeply - whether male or female - are going to hurt, badly, for a very long time. All of the thoughts that you are having we can identify with. I know my husband would want me to be happy. But what does that look like? I think back over the 34 years we were together and all the things that we packed in and dread the thought of that length of time without him and alone. I’ve always been one half of a couple - and loved it that way. Life just doesn’t make sense does it? I hope that the counselling helps you. I have had some and it does help me. The main issue is that we are still waiting for a cause of death (yes after 6 months we still don’t know) and so it is hard to make sense of anything - with or without a counsellor. I can understand why you are focused on the charity you have set up. I just wish I knew what I could do in a similar way - I want to keep my husband’s memory alive but still feel in limbo.

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Hi All,

This is another bit of me trying to understand my feelings by analysing things, or over thinking more like it. I have tried all sorts of ways to get in control of my feelings, so just take this extract as another attempt to work things out.


This is an extract from my journal, which attempts to plot my path as I journey through the wilderness of grief. I do hope that I can read this in time and see how far I have got, maybe experiencing happier thoughts, maybe even find the things that are important to me, but maybe not. One thing I do know is that I can’t go on this way, to be honest, the future scares me, old age, illness, never experiencing some form of companionship, just can be summed up in the phrase, “what’s the point”, I do hope that things change, but I have to try and un-mash my mind, quieten my heart and come out from behind the mask I hide behind.

My journaling attempts to be a pragmatic look at grief retrospectively, but I am writing it as I live it, which makes it a factual and not storyfied, but it is a part of my life story, so I will try and portray the facts positively as it is for the most part a negative journey. Most books, but not all, it’s fair to say, that I have read are a list of feelings that historically people experience, a form of warning you what to expect. Yes they do offer hope under the banner of “acceptance” but not as it really happens. More of an accumulation of research rather than written from the point of view an actual griever. I hope I can show it as a real life experience, well as best as a novice writer can do.

“It is said that there many stages of grief, some follow a formal route such as shock, denial, anger, judgement, bargaining, guilt, envy, loneliness, depression, acceptance even post traumatic disorders to name just a few stages. Each one of these stages can sub divide into physical and emotional feelings they can cause insomnia, fatigue, feeling worthless, illness. You may feel, isolated, vulnerable, reclusive, the need to punish yourself, maybe gain or lose weight.

The one certain thing is that you will feel heartbroken and that there is no point to things without the one you love by your side. You will go through all the above at different times, sometimes you will dwell or get stuck at a stage, you may revisit the same feelings several times over. The important thing is to recognise that it is ok to feel like this and there is no order or timeframe. It will take as long as it takes. Don’t rush to fill the space, the void in your heart, you cannot just fix this or replace the feelings or just forget and move on. The pain you feel is the one you have loved and lost impacting upon you. Try and embrace that pain and learn to live with it instead of running away from it.

Understand your mind has to heal, your heart need to mend, your resolve will be challenged at times, but remember it’s not your fault, so don’t punish yourself too hard or too long, be kind to yourself, your loved one would not want to see you suffer all the time.

Nurture the memories that you made together as they will help soothe the pain. Talk often about your feelings, don’t suppress them or blank them out, they won’t go away until you face them. Open your heart to the good that has happened in your life and the good you can still do in honour of the one you have lost. Keep their memory alive in your heart and they will lead you through this pain, above all, listen to your heart.

I write all this and you may think that I have conquered my feelings and moved on. Well I haven’t, I have learnt to outwardly project the former image of myself whilst I learn and deal with all that I have written, but I and getting there slowly, and writing helps me process the feelings, so perhaps by the time I finish this book, I will be in a better place and if so, my writings might help others understand the ups and downs of this unfortunate journey that you find yourself on. Nothing will ever replace the one you have lost or the life you had, quite rightly so, but you will find a new way, a different life, maybe even a good friend to share new memories, or just simply allow you some eventual peace and contentment. I do hope so. Xx”

So you can see that I’m trying to cover the typical feelings, to be honest these are all the things I feel most of the time, but with some positivity, well that at the moment is the bit which is tongue in cheek, but I know I have to find it somehow, somewhere, sometime.


Hi Jules,

it must be awful not being able to know the reason behind the loss of your husband, it was different for us, we knew the outcome and that made it easier to work out what we will do in the future charity wise. I too dread a future without my wife, but I am getting used to it of sorts. Even saying that makes me feel guilty.

Like you, I was one half of a couple for nearly 50 years, right from school days, so I feel like a two legged stool at the moment.

But to be blunt, I am lonely, and don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone. when I say that, I don’t mean I want another relationship, that’s not what I’m after, but to have a warm friendship where you can live independent lives but share things away from that independent life, like dinner, going on days out, dinner, cook meals for each other, stuff like that, but at the end of that , we have our own independent lives to go back too.

A companionship of sorts, but even that will be to stronger a term. its not fair that we should be banished into a reclusive life without friends. I certainly don’t want labels, strings or commitments, just someone to share things with at times.

Saying that instantly makes me feel guilty, betraying and I then judge myself, so its clear I’m not ready for that, but it would be nice to think of a happier life at sometime and that would be the wish of my wife. I did promise not to get married again, and that I stick too. I don’t need that, I have become independent, so that’s how things will stay.

I can’t be the only person that has thought of these things and thought about being alone in the future. It just feels so wrong like I’m trivialising my 39 yrs of marriage, I’m not, I just lonely and hate the thought that I will be like this until my time is up.

To use your words, life does not make sense at all.

I think I know that she has gone, but I thread her into my life everyday, through my stories, conversation, actions and of course the charity, so that has allowed me to carry on a little better, as she is virtually with me all the time and that acceptance has helped.

Counselling, hmmm, mixed feelings, every week I cry and feel awful, but I suppose that is part of the process. the judgement issue has been talked about and with me, it goes like this.

If she is in another world, and I see signs, have feelings etc that makes me wonder, like this for an example, I have just got a new push bike and on my first ride, I picked up a white feather on a spoke on my back wheel. it stayed on there for 12 cross country miles. To me, its a sign of approval and that she is accompanying me on my travels (I have stuck it safely behind a cover on the bike now) dot judge , but that’s what I think, so who knows if when you pass you are still out there in some form. Well, say for arguments sake, I fell for someone in the future and eventually I passed and somehow found my wife out there, I would feel as though I had let her down, betrayed her. So rather than risk that, I would keep well away from the line.

That will mean I am destined to always be alone and unhappy. The counsellor suggested that I went to a church and sort the advice from a man of cloth who would have a better opinion on this.

Well I am considering doing that, but the reality is that no one will actually know until its your time, so I’m not sure what to expect as an answer. So I’m 50/50 on counselling.

It just goes to show that when you were a couple, all you ever needed was each other and it was taken so much for granted, when you are sprung out on your own, well what a big hole you are left with.

Those that loved whole heartedly feel the pain more as you say, and that’s true, but we have practised the art of love, its in us printed through the middle like a stick of rock, and I feel that I need to love and be loved and is that wrong, Well guilt , betrayal and judgement will have their fair share of thoughts on the matter.

Writing, sharing and charity work helps me, but helping others also drives me. Its unfortunate that because we have lost, we are know experts in the aftermath, so I’m trying to understand that so I might help others, desperately trying to change the negative into a positive, which in turn might help me, sounds selfish, but its not, we are all just trying to find the path aren’t we and provided I don’t hurt peoples feelings, force an opinion or build regrets, that can’t be a bad thing to try can it.


Hi Viv,

Thanks for replying, yes that is definitely the case, “yes I’m fine thanks” well its easier to say that and act the way that you know people want to see. But we are far from that. Same goes for the “you are doing so well”, well I’m not! but if I say it enough I might start to believe it myself.

I totally agree with this it what it will be like forever part, but what do we do, Viv, I wish I knew.

I have rambled on a bit below or above?? and put some more of the madness in my mind down as well.

it is good to share, but blokes aren’t good at that, well I’m happy to share, I feel stronger by sharing, I’m proud of the life we had and I have done nothing wrong. I just loved and honoured my wife all the way to her last breath and will honour her memory from now on.

we are not alone, we are united in grief and supporting one another makes us strong.

Thanks Viv for sharing.

I know exactly what you mean. I know for a fact that my husband would not want me to lead a lonely, miserable life. He would have given up his life for me and would be so upset if I was unhappy. I try to think of it the other way round and what I would want for him if the roles had been reversed. I would not want him to be in this pain - so I’m glad he doesn’t have to go through this - but how would I feel if he found someone else? I guess we then apply what we know of human emotions of jealousy etc. and how do we know that is the case once they have left their mortality behind? I don’t know how we see a future where we don’t have someone to share things with and talk to and get a cuddle from when one is needed. To me, that is less than half a life because life is all about love. Could I even begin to contemplate it? Probably not. I guess what I would be looking for would be the easiness I had with someone who grew up with me - and that’s not going to happen. I read somewhere, someone who made sense saying that when you have another child, it doesn’t mean you love the first one any less, you have the capacity to love the next child just as much without diminishing the relationship you have with the first. I get that but does that apply to partners as well. I guess it still doesn’t answer the issue about what happens if we are to be reunited at some point. Others say that if someone comes your way you should grab happiness whilst you can. Like you, I don’t know the answers. It seems an impossible situation. I think it’s hard when there could be another 20 or 30 years stretching ahead. If only someone had the answers….


Hi Jules,

Yes I totally agree with you, especially about the role reversal. I would hate that someone would be with my wife, it’s like the feelings when you have broken up and you see the one you love walking with someone else, but would I want her to have the pain that I have here, well no, that would be selfish and spiteful. So I have to accept that she must find a way of coping and if that’s with a good friend then she should do it. The fact of the matter is we don’t know what life on the other side is, and can only judge things on how we feel in the mortal world.

I think I’m just going to let fate, and destiny guide me and hope that if anyone did become a friend they will accept that I have a history and I’m not going to put my passed wonderful life on a book shelf never to be read again. Who mows what time we have left, I might have 20/30 years, but it might end today. I’m not worried about the end, it’s the bit in the middle that roubles me and the thought of not sharing it in some way drags me down.

We shall just have to see what happens and how we feel won’t we.

Take care and try and have a peaceful journey.


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I agree - the end doesn’t bother me apart from I’m watching my mother and his mother suffer and so the quicker the end the better. As you say, it’s what comes in between and how long the ‘in between’ is. Supposedly, we have more to do on this earth before our time. Just not sure what that is though (apart from supporting my children). Take care

Hi Mike

Thanks for replying, I enjoy reading your posts you articulate well. It is refreshing to hear the male species pour their hearts out.

I read your post to Jules about another relationship and I totally relate to this. I don’t want to spend the rest of my time with nobody to share my life with even if it’s just a few days a week. I am nowhere near that yet, but maybe in time. I think at some point we need to move through this and find our place. whatever that may be.A couple of days after my hubby died, a white dove sat in my garden and looked over at me for a good few minutes. I have never seen a dove before (well not free), and I live in a city, so more likely to see pigeons! It was amazing so I went off and googled if that was a sign and what that may mean. It comes back as new beginnings, and I have taken that on, we don’t forget, how could we, but we have a new beginning.

I have a thing with signs, I have had feathers. I recently had my driveway and garden flagged something we had spoken about before my hubby died. After it was finished there were at least 10 feathers all over the front, I also took that as a sign of approval.

Take care.

I keep getting white feathers over my garden - 20 or 30 at a time and one floated down on me when I was outside somewhere else a couple of days ago. Also just had a robin come and sit on the fence and look at me. Who knows but it’s nice to think that it could be something!

Hi Jules

It’s lovely when you get them isn’t it. At first I questioned it, but then I started looking round and I couldn’t see them anywhere else, so why lots in my garden. The other thing I noticed there are always lots of feathers in the graveyard, I take it as a hello, so I always say hello back.

Hi Viv

I have had several feather episodes, one was when I was talking to my neighbour, she saw it, it landed behind me and blew right up to my foot! I picked that up and kept it.

But this is strange. You have too believe this and it was witnessed by my neighbour as well.

I have recently finished walking 1000 miles for our charity, and I planned to do finish this on our anniversary at a special place, this is all going to be part of a story I’m writing. I was saying to my neighbour that I needed to do 5.7 miles to complete the 1000 miles, and I did 5.74 my the place I wanted to do it.

This is the strange thing, my watch is a smart watch and receives messages on it. As I was saying the mileage to to my neighbour a message came up saying 5.7 miles to to finish the walk.

My watch cannot dictate, I did not have that message on any connected devices and it has disappeared.

I had to show my neighbour as I didn’t believe what came up.

So there are many signs if we chose to see them. It’s all about opening up your heart and mind isn’t it.

Take care Viv



Yes Jules

That’s a lot of feathers.

I totally agree, and I welcome all the signs.

Take care



That is brilliant, I am very open to these messages, but I have had things happen before my hubby passed and always when I was doing my family history, something I am interested in. On those occasions it was smells. My hubby smelt them also, so he knew I was interested, so it does not surprise me that I am getting messages now. My daughter has had the smells since her Dad passed and always on the chair he sat.

You wouldn’t believe this.

17 mile ride today, and when I got home this was on my bike. She must be with me.

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Oh wow, what a gift and you were only just talking about feathers. Well if that isn’t a sign I don’t know what is.