Winter Solstice - Love and Light After Loss

Hello there,

I hope that today, where you are right now, things are going ok, a bit easier, a bit more bearable. I’m home in my little spot, high in the Alps. It is good to be back here, after a year of moves, changes, endings - and a beginning.

I remember last year, here, grieving badly for Tom as I recalled the horror of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, 2021. This year, I am stronger, though will never, ever stop loving Tom or missing him in my life.

My friends, in the Autumn, by chance, I met a widower who lives nearby. His beloved died of cancer in the month Tom was diagnosed with his cancer - the start of our final months together. Slowly, the widower and I, started to meet up - for a drink, for the theatre, a movie
dinner - it was intentionally slow and steady - us both wary, mindful of the minefield that grief brings with it and the love we hold close for those we lost and those we will always treasure.

We have both been through the wringer, both understand the contours, the pits, the gullies, the highs and lows of life after losing the one person that made our lives complete. We share those scars, that knowledge and can talk freely about our lost loved ones with an ease, with a confidence and with respect. It is strange, lovely, comforting all at once.

This week, I met his family and he met my friends here. There was a universal welcome for us both - which is precious.

We established ourselves as “together” and it feels tender, special, a tiny flame of hope in all that has happened to us and all that lies ahead as we step forward.

I did not think such a thing was possible - I marvel at my good fortune yet I know how lightly this is held. Life has a way to shut things down without ceremony, without warning, as we all understand and know so well here. It is good to have this feeling - even if it is only for a short time.

I remain here for another five weeks - friends, long booked, are joining me for skiing and time with the mountains. Important, unbreakable commitments that I look forward to very much.

My widower returns back to the UK - so he and I will be parted by distance but close through calls and text messages. We have many plans for February and hope to return here, together, in March. What a change that will be - after all this long, long time.

I share this with you, my fellow travellers, as I know how much you care, how you have walked with me through my darkest moments and held me close as I struggled with even breathing after Tom died.

The Winter solstice means the long nights and short days are reversing, oh so slowly, but reversing all the same. It means that Spring is nearing, that the earth will once more burst forth with new life and new hope.

I feel, for me, the same thing is happening - that after the shadows, the silence - I am stepping back into the light.

This not only about my new relationship but also because grief’s challenge is, for me, additionally its healing. It has made me stronger, wiser, tougher. It has made me more aware than ever of the preciousness of life and the importance of celebrating in the here and now, not in the eulogy when it is too late - those in our lives that we love.

I post this also to share that, for me at least, there is hope following the very worst that can happen. Those long days and nights, in the silence of that rented home I shared with Tom, when I howled his name into the void and begged him to return. Those later months, when I wobbled along, figuring out the messes one by one, a time when all I wanted was to go back to where we had once been.

To now - to being settled in my new home in the UK and to being here, once more, surrounded by my beloved mountains, white with snow. To now, to the early days of a new relationship, to the hope that the future is looking good again in all manner of ways.

I would not have believed anyone who said to me, this time last year, that I would have got this far today. But through grief, guts, no choice but to get on with it, your support and a shot of good luck, I arrived in this moment.

This post comes with love to you in this season of memories, when the absence of our loved ones can be even harder to bear. I will always love Tom, and I also know, with his blessing, I can also live and love again.

Peace be with you all, my friends - and here is to a better 2024 for everyone.

Your fellow griever and companion on this road,

Vancouver xxxx


In this heartwarming post is the beauty that can be found in grief, in that we count our blessings that we knew great love, we don’t take anything for granted and that life and people are precious. We continue bonds with those we have loved who have passed and through the darkness will enter into the light with the promise of hope, love, new friendships, new found strength and survival.
I sincerely wish you a loving, bright and happy future.
The song that comes to mind and makes me smile is “I will survive”
Lyn xx


@Vancouver you’ve made me sob, but with happiness for you.

You are very eloquent and all your feelings come over to us.

Enjoy your skiing


Hi @Vancouver,

Thank you for sharing such a candid and eloquent post. It gives me a glimmer of hope for a future.

My very best wishes to you.


@Ava2 @JerryH @Paddy53 @Sarlyn - my friends, thank you for your lovely messages and for your support on here - it means more than I can say. Here’s to us, here’s to healing and to hope, today, tomorrow and next year xxx


@Vancouver it is so lovely to hear such a great and hopeful update - wishing you all the best with your new adventures.

Take good care,

Sue Ryder Online Community


Sooooo pleased for you both, blessings to you :heartpulse::two_hearts:

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It’s odd how it all works out, really so happy for you. You inspired me when I joined, hat off to all of you and yours. Best wishes to you both xxx

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@Vancouver :heart:
I wish you happiness in your new chapter & thank you for your words of hope & love. Today has been a day of tears & wishing I could turn back the clock. I can’t look forward without him & I struggle each time I see our two children & our grandchildren, he was so proud of them all, he was looking forward to having this Christmas with them all.
Good luck for the future


Aw … yeh they missing out on so much … but so are we … i think so many of us are struggling ! I am. So many sad memories. I didnt want any of this ! We had no choice ! It was out of our control ! I was always able to help my husband through things but this time i couldnt and that’s what makes it so very hard to deal with for me anyway !! Xxx


Bless you, my dear @Walan - you inspire me, too - that’s the beauty of this site - friends standing side by side as we walk this long, long road. This comes with loads of love xx


@Vancouver I have only just seen your post and I’m so pleased for you. I wish you all the best for 2024. I hope life is good for you and it keeps getting better and better. You have come sick s long way and give me hope for brighter days.
Best wishes to you x


@Vancouver so happy that you have come through this terrible journey and have some joy now xxxxx


Hope ypure having lovely holiday my friend :slight_smile: and not feeling too sad today … at least you got some sun - its dreary and grey here !!! Xxx

@Deb5 it has been a packed day . He is always in my mind but we have been entertained today . Went to playa del ingles today walked on the beach and sat at a bar for an hour or so bombarded by lucky lucky men but had a great street entertainer to listen to . Before a taxi back

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Aw … good :wink: Lucky lucky men ??? Glad its been ok for u though xx

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my dear @Ali29 - we have both come a long way and still, ahead, miles to cross but things do get easier, a little by a little. I will always love Tom, and miss him, but life pulls me forward to a new possibility of love and companionship. Grief will accompany me as I go - but I recognise its ways and means now - which helps. I hope you are having a good day there x


Hi @Vancouver,

I thought it really interesting when you said “Grief … but I recognise its ways and means now”.

I have suffered from depression pretty much since I was a child and have had a couple of very severe episodes in the past. But I reached a point where I got to knew its ways and means and from then on have never feared it. So I certainly still have my lows but I know them for what they are and so am able to navigate them. I have felt that this too is what I am seeking with regards to grief.

Thank you. x


Yeh i was intrigued by that too ? I tend to just get angry about everything when im not coping x

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@debs yes they were very persistent I bought two magnetic phone holders and some shades . Then there was a beggar too xxx

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