After Matthew read Sandra’s Good Grief! story “Beyond casseroles: a widower’s guide to moving forward” at:
http://good-grief.com.au/beyond-casseroles-a-widowers-guide-to-moving-forward/ he was inspired to get in touch.
In a moment strangely resonant of Sydney’s current lockdown, in April last year he allowed us to publish his grief story. He began a period of intense grieving over the death of his wife, Jenni, in January 2020, just as Sydney’s first Covid-19 lockdown started.
“I was relying on social interaction and all those things that I now can’t do, to help me recover,” Matthew said then.
“With the lock down and the social isolation I’m just lost. The biggest, most crushing aspect of my life at the moment is the loneliness,” he said.
But slowly, Matthew has got the joy of life back, although Jenni is ever-present.
“Thanks for your post on widowed men. I listened to the Ted talk and enjoyed it. (Here is Justin Yopp’s TED X Talk here).
“I’m moving on with life after losing Jenni but a lot of my plans for travel etc. have been destroyed by Covid. Hopefully, those opportunities will come again.
“I have thrown myself into re-decorating and repairing my house with new furniture, a new roof and a collection of aboriginal art. It looks quite spectacular now.
“Jenni would have resisted the changes, but would love the end result!
“I would have been lost over the past 18 months if I didn’t have my group of motorcycling friends who have got me out of the house and into the countryside. They have really helped me to re-connect with life.
“I also joined a bushwalking group which got me out and socialising with new people and led to a few “dates” with various women – although not really leading anywhere.
“On the other hand, I did travel up to Newcastle to have lunch with a woman who had been the partner of a guy in the ‘bike group who had been killed seven years ago.
“I thought it would be useful to talk with someone who had also been on the grief journey. We got on SO well, that we’re now in a relationship – although that’s difficult at the moment with Covid restrictions stopping us from getting together.
“My three boys have been great, although grieving for their mother themselves. They are all in stable relationships and I have even become a Grandfather!!”
Thank you Matthew for sharing this story. Stories like yours give hope to the grieving everywhere – and they show practical steps we can take with the help of others.
To read Matthew’s original story, go to:
Melbourne psychiatrist Dr Michelle Atchison responded to this story with advice for coping with grief and isolation in lockdown, something many of us in Australia now need again. Her advice can be found at: