My dear friend, Jo, lost her husband just before Christmas. You may remember her sharing her experiences on a previous post ‘Everybody Says One Step At A Time‘.

Jo is incredible at sharing how she is feeling and inviting others into sharing their own thoughts and emotions, especially in this tough time. She was one of the first people to encourage me to check in with myself early on in the lockdown. I asked her to share a few of her experiences and battles fought over these last few weeks…

As you may know from my previous blog I lost my husband Derek just before Christmas. Then, came the virus, Covid-19.

In early March, I made the solo trip to our apartment in Spain where we should have been retiring to this year. It was an emotional but comforting visit, it was our happy place and I found peace.

I was due to travel back on Monday 16th March, however, the Valencia region went into lock down on Friday 13th. The rest of Spain followed suit on the day I was due to travel. I was lucky my flight went ahead, but all the peace I found was suddenly replaced with the panic of going through this stress on my own.

At this point the UK hadn’t any restrictions. I self isolated for 7 days as a precaution but I really didn’t think it was as serious as it was, until we went into lock down too.

In a way I had already been isolating myself. I hadn’t really been out. I went only to see family and friends and had a few things planned in April that would have been my first baby steps into joining the real world again.

In a way, lock down has given me the perfect excuse to retreat back into myself, and I know that’s not a good thing. There have also been some emotions that I have felt that I am quite ashamed of but I will share them with you:

1) Anger/Selfishness
I am quite ashamed to say when I got the first message about the ‘Clap for the NHS’ my first reaction was no way! I still have a lot of anger over Derek’s treatment that I have not had chance to resolve, so the hero status was not something that I was prepared for and initially made me very upset and angry.

I then had a good word with myself, this was not about me this was bigger than me and my feelings and they are currently putting their lives at risk. So I stood, at my first floor flat window, and clapped on that first Thursday and every one since.

2) Jealousy
Thankfully, I have been able to continue to walk to the church to have a chat with Derek. On my journey, I have seen couples walking together hand in hand enjoying the sunshine and I have been jealous that I will never be able to do that again. I read the headstones of peoples ages, much older than Derek (who was 59) and it feels so unfair. These are people’s loved ones and I was feeling hard done to!

I went to see two very good friends in their garden (social distancing of course) and they told me how they had been passing the time and I felt jealous, jealous of our best friends! It was only a brief feeling and would have been solved by a hug but we can’t do that at the moment can we?

3) Grief
Grief is a hard journey currently compounded by the inability to properly interact with our family and friends. Irrational thoughts and feelings are natural but seem so much worse now because you can dwell on them. Finding yourself unexpectedly alone is bad enough, but having something like this to contend with alone is tough.

I’d be lying if I said I was okay, but I’m getting there with help from family and friends. I miss him and nobody replace that feeling (although I did send him a message to say that he must have known what was coming and got the hell out!)

I still WhatsApp him every day, sharing what I’ve been doing and getting these irrational thoughts out of my head. It’s like my daily journal and it helps. Everyone will be experiencing their own personal battles and feelings, I hope me sharing helps and reminds everyone that it’s OK not to be OK, especially now more than ever.

Once again, thank you to Jo for her beautiful way of putting things. Inspiring as always and a true asset to our Stop The World Community.

Love always,

Lauren & Jo x

Jo took this gorgeous picture of a tree blossoming in our hometown earlier this month.