About a year after my wife was killed, I was asked by some newspaper or other to write about my experience of dating as a widower. Having not written a word of fiction or fantasy since leaving high school, I politely declined the offer and rolled my eyes at the assumption that I would be back in the game so soon.
Last week a clock started ticking for widowed parents and bereaved children when the UK Government introduced some of the most indecent and unnecessary benefits cuts imaginable, cutting the support provided to widowed parents and grieving children at a time when they're likely to need it most.
On this particular occasion we had invited someone else who was suffering into the fold. The former England captain and widowed father of three, Rio Ferdinand, was joining us to find out more about how we processed our loss and helped our kids through theirs.
It occurred to me the other day that I don't really see myself as a 'widower' anymore. Nothing about losing my wife feels any different, but it's only really when I have to fill in the marital status section of some sort of form that I think, Oh shit! That's me!
I opened the box of Christmas decorations as carefully and as nervously as an archaeologist might approach a long lost haul of Anglo-Saxon treasure. This, to me, was much more precious; a collection not of gold but memories, a time capsule of the way things used to be, before.
I say marks rather than marked because ever since she died I have always found myself in the habit of speaking in the present rather than past tense and despite her tragically no longer being here on this earth, the 27 October will still always be that day of ours. It will never cease to be.
Soon after my wife was killed in November 2012 I decided to start a blog. Through it I would create a record of raw and live grief as it happened, as well as documenting my attempts at somehow rebuilding my life after the shock of becoming a widower at just 33.