After Karl died, I cherished our early conversations.

They allowed me to gently pry open my aching heart, invited acceptance to enter, and encouraged me to ask for and accept help. And they opened up new places where grief crept in. Writing from a holiday in Vancouver on 18 May 2016, I mused, “Today I had a real insight into what a huge loss it is to lose your intimate partner. To lose being cozy — without asking or having to ask.”

Months later, a widowed friend, Liz, told me how her husband foreshadowed on his deathbed how she would miss the “everyday-ness” of his presence in their long and happy marriage.

I found myself echoing Liz’s words when I wrote to Karl on 28 May 2016: “I just realized how much I miss the daily reality of you. Even when I travelled, I could rely on it — and you were always there.”

tell me what you need

I was not always successful in asking Karl for help, as sometimes I lost confidence in the authenticity of our communication. Karl reminded me, at the end of May 2016 that, “You need to tell me what you need and when you need it. Then I’ll do what I can.”

As well as my acceptance muscles, I had to practice exercising my “help-me” muscle so I could ask others.

In early June 2016, I cried:

I honestly don’t know how people in my circumstances manage without some valid/validated contact with their dearly departed. For me, it’s everything.

Fremantle, 1993