Losing someone you love is difficult enough, living without someone you love is heartbreaking enough, living day by day is exhausting enough without the added frustrations and torments contributed by those who exclude and patronise those living with grief. The patronising comments and exclusion are usually unintended, I know. That knowledge does not make the sting any less, though.
There is a lot I have discovered since you took your own life. Firstly, while there is no hierarchy of death where one is better than the other, it's safe to say that living a long life is at the top while a short one is at the bottom. I don't know where suicide sits, but it's safe to say, it makes other people REALLY uncomfortable. I was advised against telling people how you died. And in the initial bizarreness of picking your burial plot and coffin (and being asked whether Robert was an eco-friendly man), I erred on the side of caution. But by this 30th day, I have realised when the worst, most devastating thing possible happens, you lose the energy to maintain any artifice.
Whether it's through writing a will, making financial plans, planning for our future care and support including through making a Lasting Power of Attorney, or deciding whether we want to join the organ donor, all of us can increase the likelihood of getting our wishes met and reduce the chances of life after our death becoming even more difficult for the people we care about.
Over the year I had traveled thousands of miles to discover new places and things only to truly discover myself. The incredible evolution I underwent has shaped me in to an almost recognizably conscious, empathetic, joyful person from where I started. The greatest journey any human take is that 13 inches from your head to heart.
From the moment I was handed your death certificate, I have had to reluctantly crawl and claw my way back to what non spouse bereaved members of society would call 'normal' whilst crippled by nerves and anxiety, my physical and mental health continually hanging by a thread during a drunken haze of euphoric reflection.
Tell them that at thirty-one years old I was the happiest man alive when I married the love of my life. Tell them that I was utterly bereft when I lost her at thirty-three. Tell them I've thirty-five now and depressed. Tell them that I put a good face on but that the truth is that things haven't really got much easier. Tell them from me how hard it is to be a bereaved single parent.
Grief is entirely individual, and the grieving person has to respond to their grief in a way that is relevant to them. How they respond may change over time. The difficulty with the platitudes detailed above is that they infer a judgement about how the person is grieving, the time they are taking over their grief, or how they are feeling.