Grief is a strange beast. You expect and acknowledge the waves of heartache, tearfulness, abject sadness in the first few months after losing your loved one. You expect the same knee-jerk reaction on anniversaries because these are vivid reminders of past fun, joy, and loving times. You also expect that the grief will never ever disappear because you have lost a very important part of you – it is surely like losing a limb – you accept that it has gone and you have to adapt to living without that part of you.

You don’t expect the grief to hit you full tilt again over three years later.

I have had a rough few weeks. I couldn’t tell you why. I just find that I have hurt more and missed Rowie more in the last few weeks than I thought I ever would again. I wake up in the middle of the night; cold fingers of fear grappling at me. I then find it virtually impossible to go back to sleep again and if I do, the sleep is broken and restless. The fear that wakes me isn’t the ‘reliving the accident’ type of fear or the ‘raw fear’ when we waited to hear if he was alive or not. It is like I am looking down a long, lonely tunnel with no foreseeable end – to coin a phrase, ‘there is no light at the end of the tunnel’! When I get up in the morning the pain eases a little because in the cold light of day nothing is ever quite so bad as the “darkest hour just before dawn”. I can function OK. I get up, go to work, function well at work and come home again – but I don’t feel ‘happy’ at any stage throughout the day. Nothing excites me any more.

For those of you who have travelled the same road as us, I am sure you have experienced the same thing.

I am horrified to think back to my grandmother who lost her eldest son in an accident. She lived until she was ninety six – probably a good eighty years after her son died. How in Heaven’s name did she manage to live that long without him? She also outlived her younger son, my father. Imagine losing two children. I find this thought crucifying.

I am still pushing forward; I know that Rowie is around us. There are days when I feel like I can almost touch him. I see his face more clearly again. There was a time when I lost sight of him; couldn’t bring him into my mind’s eye without the visual stimulation of a photograph. Again, I’m not sure why this happened, but I am glad it has passed.

I am sure this new, intense grief will pass also. It is almost cyclic in its happening. I am sure Rowie wishes he could give me a great big hug and tell me everything will be OK. I know it will be OK in the end; but it’s a long, lonely tunnel.

I am grateful that he chose to be a part of our lives and I am grateful that we had nearly seventeen years of the fun, loving essence that was Rowie.