a grief journey

Maryalicia Post shares the story of the loss of her husband Jack. She chronicles what the first year after his death felt like.

This is a journey of how she coped, the unexpected things that gave her comfort and the things that came as an unwelcome surprise.

ticking clock

The last hours together

The holidays were over and Jack was back in hospital. Surgery has been ruled out now, the cancer having ‘galloped away from them.’ Chemotherapy was making him ill, doing more harm than good they said, so it was ruled out too.


The first month

The funeral, the cremation, the ashes scattered in the sea… The flowers, the notes… nothing touches me. Tears are superficial. something more is needed… a scream that doesn’t stop. …a shriek. Some day when I am less sad, I will cry.


The second month

Two months have gone by. Spring flowers. What a chaotic surprise. It should not be spring. What makes them think winter is over? Tears have caught up with me, though not the tears I expected.


The third month

In the garden yesterday, for a few minutes, feeling the sun on my shoulders, I forgot Jack. How guilty that made me feel. Heartless. I must be searching for light… wriggling to crawl up, out, of this dark place.

tarot cards

The fourth month

I visited a  fortune teller. She  told me Jack was watching over me. I could have told her that. And although it was comforting to hear her say it, I won’t go back for more.  There is no comfort that is  ‘enough’.

pork chops

The fifth month

In the supermarket the other day, staring at the pork chops neatly wrapped, I couldn’t remember whether I liked pork chops or no. Someone did. Was it me? Was it Jack?  I can’t remember which was which now.

bed sheets

The sixth month

It’s been half a year now…half half half. What progress? There has been no grand awakening. I’ve not yet thrown back the covers eager to meet  a new day. But I haven’t pulled the covers back over my head and stayed in bed.

sheet music

The seventh month

I’m surprised that grief follows me everywhere…whenever there’s a break in my day up it pops and replays like a tape…or more like a music box; it’s a delicate tinny sound that carries, penetrating, cutting through my thoughts.

sun over sea

The eighth month

Have I left it too late to bargain?  Why didn’t it occur to me before,? I should have begged for his return.  Suddenly my eyes keep searching heaven, searching for him. Why am I beseeching heaven? His ashes are in the sea.


The ninth month

I wonder if I have ever been such a good friend as mine have been to me. I doubt it. They have been so patient, phoning and calling in – not giving up, undaunted by my sad face and tear filled eyes. They deserve better for their efforts.

red christmas bauble

The tenth month

It occurred to me early in life, probably when I was eight or ten, that if you are already happy you don’t really need Christmas and if you are not happy it would be the saddest time of the year.


After words

Two years ago, on a winter walk with Jack, we passed a garden where a blanket of snowdrops spread over the roots of an old tree. I thought it was beautiful. For me, Jack planted snowdrops in our garden.

maryalicia post
Maryalicia Post is a travel writer. When her husband Jack died, after 30 happy years and a lot of travelling together, she knew her hardest journey would be learning to live without him.
She chronicled the journey though the first year of grief in a poem called ‘After You’ which was published as an illustrated book by Souvenir Press, London.  Recommended by the British newspaper columnist Bel Mooney, After You is also one of the texts ‘on losing a partner’ suggested by Cruse, the UK bereavement support group.
In this series of postings, written for the readers of Aftering, Maryalicia describes how her book took shape, in a month-by-month journal of that daunting first year.
After You is available through Amazon. Maryalicia’s travel website is at maryaliciatravel.com