look back at 2016, the second year of grieving the death of my partner, orchid, glasses, MacBook pro, apple iPhone 6 plus, me my grief and i life goes on, grieving book
A look back at 2016 aka the second year of grieving the death of my partner. Photo: Mark Alexander @lostpeony

2016 was quite the year for me. It was the second year of grieving the death of my partner. An anniversary which I expected to go better than the first one, except it didn’t. Things fell into place later in the year though. Here are the more important moments of 2016:

Not the best of starts to the New Year

I was “in a good place” at the end of 2015 and decided to take that feeling to the next level. Out of all the things I could have done, I went on a date! It was a disaster. It sent me back to feeling lonely, abandoned and it made me feel sad about my future.

Lesson learnt: Feeling happy and content with yourself is your responsibility. Don’t fool yourself in thinking that letting someone else into your life will wipe out your worries, insecurities and vulnerability.

An unexpectedly harsh and emotional second anniversary

The second anniversary of my partner’s death was much MUCH harder than I expected it to be. I was just over my dating disaster when it hit me. I took flowers to the grave and “had a chat” with my dead partner but it felt different, much more difficult than the first one. I cried my eyes out and it took me months to deal with the sadness.

Lesson learnt: You can be happy and live your life but your loss is a much bigger part of you than you think. You learn to cope and you learn to put it “on the back burner” but the loneliness and that empty feeling never go away. They always find a way out, uninvited and unexpected. The best you can do is accept that and give yourself time to deal with it when it happens.

The best summer ever and the beginning of the new me

Things picked up and the summer of 2016 was one of the best summers of my life. Correction: it was the best summer of my life (so far). I was happy, content and very productive. The weather was good too and I spent quite a few days at Holkham, enjoying the sunshine and writing. In fact, that’s when most of the planning of Me, My Grief and I: LIFE GOES ON happened.

Lesson learnt: Happiness is free, just like the sun, the air and the sea water I enjoy so much at Holkham.

Productive autumn

A big part of coming to terms with my loss was finding another purpose in life. Something worthy of my time and efforts. I started with Lost Peony which inspired me to document my grief journey and share it with you and those who are grieving the death of a loved one. It felt right and it made sense.

Lesson learnt: Don’t pay attention to criticism and advice from people who have no idea about you, your feelings and your ambitions. Do what feels right and things will fall into place when the time is right.

Book launch

Me, My Grief and I: LIFE GOES ON is the biggest achievement of my life to date. I feel very privileged that I am able to share my story with others who are grieving their loved ones.

Lesson learnt: Believe in yourself and put your love and energy into something that’s worthwhile.

Quiet and reflective Christmas

I spent most of the Holiday Season at home reflecting on the year so far and on my life since the death of my partner. It was good to look back and take the time to appreciate that rollercoaster of a ride that I have been on for the past 33 months.

Lesson learnt: It’s OK to spoil yourself and celebrate your achievements. It motivates you to keep on going and achieve more next year.

2016 was vibrant, productive and happy. It’s ending on a high and I am excited for 2017.

I wish you a patient New Year!

Be patient with yourself in the coming weeks, months and 2017!

Mark xx

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