Since Claytie died, I have done a million things that I have never done before. I have dealt with things on my own that I never imagined, and the boys and I have been through a bunch of stuff that we didn’t see coming. I have had to manage all of it, because now I am it. I don’t have Claytie to back me up, to counsel me, to be my driver, my confidant, my financial advisor – my everything. I have had to learn to rely on myself for a thousand things a day that he was always there for. Of course I have my boys, and all sorts of support.. but it’s not the same. How can it be!?

One thing that has been a god send, has been ‘The Echo Chamber of Misery’ (not it’s actual name!) or ‘Sad, Weird Widow People’ as the boys call it! – one of the widow support groups that I joined about 4 months, in the middle of the night, after my world imploded. There was definite trepidation when I first joined… who were these people and what could they possibly know about my world!? Would it be helpful or just a waste of time?! But I have to say, it has been absolutely one of the very best things I have ever done.

There is always someone online – any time of the day or night, that you can vent to. I can say things to this group that I couldn’t say to anyone else, because they understand. I don’t have to censor myself incase I hurt the feelings of one of my loved ones when complaining about their foot-in-mouth commentary on a public platform. These people are also living what I’m living. They don’t sugar coat answers, and chances are they have felt the same way in a similar situation. There is good advice, virtual hugs, and in the case of the local group, actual hugs from people I now consider some of my closest friends.

The local group have been perfect for me. I have met people one-on-one and spent hours longer chatting than I could ever plan for. We have been to coffee catch ups, Axe throwing (not my sport!), Christmas catch ups, very drunk sleep overs, drag shows, brunch and lunch. Each time I have been to a get together I have had to put my anxiety to the side and be brave. It’s really hard putting yourself out there but I have absolutely benefited from the challenge. I have met a whole lot of new people that I otherwise would not have. Some I have quite liked, others that are not my cup of tea, but there is now a core group that are MY people. Between us we have daily conversations about all kinds of things and I love them!

There is also my Tuesday Trivia Crew – an ongoing weekly thing that I have written about before. I look forward to Tuesdays in a way I never thought I would. It’s one of my very favourite things and I drive an hour each way to get there without any hesitation – others in the group drive even longer! We are the ‘naughty table’ in the pub, and spend almost the entire time laughing and being inappropriate. Not all of us in this group are widowed- we adopted two awesome fellows in about week two or three of going, and they are now very much part of the group. All people I wouldn’t have met had it not been for the support group.

I keep coming back to how lucky I/we have been. Even though our world has changed so devastatingly and completely, the people around us have made all the difference… especially for me! I am so very grateful to have so much love and support in my crazy new world xx

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