Some Things I Have Learnt This Year …

Bex Tingey, lost on unexpected adventure. Trying to work out the new normal whilst honouring love.

Written on the one year anniversary of Josh’s death

You are and always will be the love of my life. One year ago, we were happily planning our life together. Little did we know in a split second our lives would change forever.

Our perfectly imperfect love helps me through the hardest of moments. We had our ups and downs but an argument would always end in a laugh. We talked about everything; well, I think I did most of the talking, and you were patient and kind and answered. Sometimes you would just laugh and say, “you’re being annoying.” I would know that was key for I’m tired and need some quiet time.

There was a mutual understanding of what we each needed. I have learnt that no one knows me like you do. Which makes it hard to explain how I feel or when I don’t want to talk, what I need. The person that I still need and want to talk to the most is you. Sometimes I will finish something and think, good, I can tell Josh … I am then quickly ambushed by the nightmare I am living.

The memories, the lessons, the laughs. I am lucky we did so much together. Our memories replay in my head like a movie, precious and painful all at the same time. You were never worried about the small things. Nothing was unsolvable for you. “Don’t tell me the problem; tell me the solution.” I have learnt that even though you are physically gone, you are around, your outlook, your love, your spirit. I can often hear you say, “just relax,” “don’t get involved,” “it’s all good.”

I have learnt that we didn’t need a piece of paper to say how much we loved each other. You showed me every day, and the more I talk of you, the more I realise how rare this is. I have learnt that love never dies. Grief is the love you have to give that has nowhere to go. Every person grieves in different ways because everyone loves in a different way. No one’s grief is less than another’s. It’s just different. I have learnt the importance of listening and not comparing, just being.

Waking up without you is unbearable, yet somehow I know I have to do your living, too. I have learnt that I get strength from you for the things you have taught me, from the activities we did together, from the hard work we put into things. We have incredible family and friends who just do not give up on me. Sometimes they find it challenging to know what to do and say but even when it’s awkward (and it is most of the time), they keep coming back. It is this sort of friendship that helps me take another step when I no longer want to.

Every day feels like February 17, 2018. I replay this day over and over in my head, like somehow, I will be able to change what has happened. This is a nightmare no one should ever have to endure. I often wonder when I will wake up, and you will walk through the door, even a year on.

The hardest thing is that time keeps going, the seconds keep on ticking. I have learnt that time no longer works in years, months. It is just before the accident and after. Time is precious. I hope our friends and family make sure to prioritise and live for the moments. “You never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” Dr. Seuss

I have learnt to avoid supermarkets and home cooking. Supermarkets are full of food I would buy for you and people who kindly say ‘hello’ and then think “crap … what am I going to say?” “Hello” and “I have been thinking of you” is just fine. Please do not compare losing something with me in the middle of the supermarket. I will cry.

Cooking for one. Cooking has always been enjoyable as I know you are coming home to gobble it up … now I just can’t work out how to cook for one. I have leftovers for a month and then they end up in the bin. Such a waste. I have also learnt that if your diet consists of wine and chocolate, you are going to gain weight even if you are walking every day.

I have learnt that by talking of you, I keep you alive. It seems odd to think people would avoid talking of you as it may upset me. I have been talking of you for eight years. In fact, I was rarely not talking of you. It seems odd to just suddenly stop. It doesn’t hurt me more; I am always hurting because you are not here. I have not forgotten. When people speak of you, it makes me love you more. They tell me things about your kindness, patience, love, antics, adventures and your love for life. Sometimes I become upset, not because I do not wish to hear these stories. In fact, I love hearing people’s stories. I miss you and wish we could make more memories.

Learn more about Bex and Josh’s story by listening to Bex’s conversation with Becky Aud-Jennison on The Death Dialogues Project podcast

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