Widowed AF

#80 - Chatty

November 24, 2023 Rosie and Jonathan Gill-Moss Season 1 Episode 80
#80 - Chatty
Widowed AF
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Widowed AF
#80 - Chatty
Nov 24, 2023 Season 1 Episode 80
Rosie and Jonathan Gill-Moss

In the latest episode of "Widowed AF", host Rosie Gill-Moss, alongside her ever-supportive husband Jonathan, delves into the heart of what it means to live with loss, in a conversation that’s as real as it gets. Episode #80, titled "A Journey Through Grief and Resilience," is a poignant reminder of the complexities and unexpected turns of the grieving process.

The episode features the powerful story of Rhiannon, who grapples with the aftermath of her partner Leighton's suicide. Rhiannon's narrative is not just about loss; it's a raw, unvarnished look at how grief intersects with societal perceptions of relationships and widowhood. Her story poignantly highlights the need for a more inclusive recognition of diverse relationships in the context of loss.

Rosie and Jonathan also share their experience speaking at a training conference for student nurses, emphasizing the importance of compassion in healthcare, particularly in end-of-life care. They draw on their personal experiences to illustrate the profound impact that empathetic care can have on grieving families.

One of the most striking aspects of this episode is the discussion around the fifth anniversary of Sarah's death. Jonathan's reflections on memory, and how grief changes yet persists over time, are both touching and insightful.

The episode doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of grief attacks and the importance of acknowledging progress, however small. Rosie and Jonathan's conversation is a testament to the unpredictable nature of grief and the value of community support in navigating these challenges.

As the holiday season approaches, they touch upon its impact on those in mourning. Their message is clear: it's okay not to have a "perfect" holiday experience, and seeking simplicity and support is more than alright.



Web: (https://www.widowedaf.com)
Instagram (@widowed_af)
Watch on (YouTube)

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Show Notes Transcript

In the latest episode of "Widowed AF", host Rosie Gill-Moss, alongside her ever-supportive husband Jonathan, delves into the heart of what it means to live with loss, in a conversation that’s as real as it gets. Episode #80, titled "A Journey Through Grief and Resilience," is a poignant reminder of the complexities and unexpected turns of the grieving process.

The episode features the powerful story of Rhiannon, who grapples with the aftermath of her partner Leighton's suicide. Rhiannon's narrative is not just about loss; it's a raw, unvarnished look at how grief intersects with societal perceptions of relationships and widowhood. Her story poignantly highlights the need for a more inclusive recognition of diverse relationships in the context of loss.

Rosie and Jonathan also share their experience speaking at a training conference for student nurses, emphasizing the importance of compassion in healthcare, particularly in end-of-life care. They draw on their personal experiences to illustrate the profound impact that empathetic care can have on grieving families.

One of the most striking aspects of this episode is the discussion around the fifth anniversary of Sarah's death. Jonathan's reflections on memory, and how grief changes yet persists over time, are both touching and insightful.

The episode doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of grief attacks and the importance of acknowledging progress, however small. Rosie and Jonathan's conversation is a testament to the unpredictable nature of grief and the value of community support in navigating these challenges.

As the holiday season approaches, they touch upon its impact on those in mourning. Their message is clear: it's okay not to have a "perfect" holiday experience, and seeking simplicity and support is more than alright.



Web: (https://www.widowedaf.com)
Instagram (@widowed_af)
Watch on (YouTube)

Don't forget to subscribe !

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Hello and a very warm welcome back to Widowed AF, your chatty episode. You are with me, Rosie Gilmoss, and joining me today, as always, is my alive husband Jonathan Gilmoss. So, hello to everybody, thanks for tuning in, thank you for continuing to listen, those that have been with us from the beginning. So we are, this will be episode 80, which is And, you may have noticed, those of you that are eagle eyed, that our branding has changed. And, we're sort of sneaking it out under the radar. Um, and, yeah, we'd love to, excuse me, we'd love to know what you think of it. Um, and we're gearing up for a little bit of, um, Merchandising, but it's gonna be cool. I think I've already said this to you guys before, but you know, repetition. So, we're going to reflect a little bit on Rhiannon's episode. Her episode went out on Monday. Now, Rhiannon is absolutely lovely. She's got the most glorious Welsh accent. And she... Um, really passionately believes in the power of sharing stories and the impact that that can have on other people, which obviously is what we believe here, otherwise we wouldn't be sat here now. So her partner, and actually that draws me to the first issue because in her application form, one of the things she said was that she didn't know if she qualified as a widow because they weren't married. And of course you do. Of course you do. And, um, I think that kind of idea that if you're not married, it doesn't count, it really needs to go away because marriage is, I mean, I like being married mainly because I find it just like, I'd rather call you my husband than my boyfriend, but many people choose not to, and that doesn't make their relationships any less valid. So, but, but, um, going back to, to the episode in hand, um, she. She obviously loved her partner, Leighton, desperately and, um, unfortunately he took his own life and it was a really tragic end. It was, it just sounds like this night from hell, like being in some sort of horror film and not being able to get out of it. He, you know, we're going to play you a little clip actually of the moment when she tried to take him to hospital. I could almost feel the terror and the panic and the desperation as she told the story. I can't even imagine how she felt in the moment. So, I'm going to let the lovely Rhiannon just speak for a moment now.

Rhiannon Williams:

but during that car journey, um, things changed even more dramatically. He was... opening the car door and threatened to jump out whilst I was driving, pulling the steering wheel, pulling the handbrake whilst the car was moving. Um, we nearly crashed the car a few times because of that. Um, one point then when I'd pulled over because he'd opened the car door, he ran out of the car and into some woods on the side of the road.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So, yeah, pretty powerful episode and off the back of it, we did get a, um, I got a message from a guest who I've recorded with, but who hasn't gone out yet. And, um, they asked to be put in contact and I did. And I like to consider myself a sort of widow friendship matchmaker. Yeah. Because quite often people will. Really, really resonate with a guest. It's the shared

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

stories. It's the something in common. Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Well, it's like me and Laurie, isn't it? You know, that episode just... Blew me apart because I'd never spoken to anyone whose story had been so similar. Yeah Um, but yeah, she's as I said, she's a huge huge advocate for speaking about these issues and particularly talking about mental health in men and um campaigning for better really better provision better support when you're in mental health crisis because Essentially, I mean, I'll give you a debrief, but really I would like you to listen. But essentially they presented in, or Leighton presented with her in an absolute crisis, you know, covered in blood and very, very distressed, very agitated. And they let her down. Um, and I don't like to moan about our emergency services, but I do think in this case... He was horribly let down and so was she and the consequences are that you know, he's no longer here but she's She's a Warrior, that woman. I, um, I mean, I'm often in admiration of her, always actually in admiration of her, I guess, but I, I, I did like Rhiannon a lot, um, and I, I, I would recommend you listen to that episode if you haven't already, but it sort of loosely leads me into this idea of campaigning for better help, better care, better support, um, and we were invited to speak at a, a training conference or, uh, like a Yeah, the training conference for, uh, student nurses. So first year nurses. And Harts University had put on this, um, this day really talking about end of life care. They had people in from hospices. Um, we came in sort of half way through. And did a pre I just sort of loose presentation, but mainly a talk about our experiences of being widows. Um, obviously my loss is different because it was so sudden. So I didn't have the palliative care or hospice care. But, I have spoken to many of you that have, so, it went well, didn't it? It did go well, yeah. Yeah, and it was, it wasn't easy, because I've personally, I mean, I did a bit of public speaking at school, and obviously I talk into a microphone quite a lot, but standing in front of a load of um, Students. And, uh, they, um, we were introduced as, you know, they're going to tell their story of what it's like being widowed very young. And we sort of walked out in front of the lectern. And there's a sea of, sort of, twenty somethings looking at us. Yeah, I don't think we qualify as very young in their eyes. It was, it was not, it was good. We sort of, I was really worried that it would need to be very professional, very slick. And actually what people do want is just the human relatable experience. And the thing that we kind of hammered home really was the importance of compassion at end of life. And the importance of treating the family as a unit. And really, ideally not telling people that they're going to die when they're by themselves. That, that, that would be something I would recommend. So it was in no way an attack on nurses or the way the NHS runs it. It was more guidance for what, as they're learning, what, you know, what they may be faced with. And we talked a bit about the coping mechanisms that widows often use and how that in turn may end up with them needing to access NHS care because many of them are not healthy. Um, and how, I don't know, just, just a little compassion and understanding actually goes such a long way and whilst we know that often these people are dealing day to day with death, it becomes part of their work and they must have to become a little disassociated from it. But of course, the person's family, they're not disassociated from it. No, no,

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

in most times, it's the first time they're coming down that particular tree. Well as I explained it yesterday, it's like everyone's been pushed towards a cliff. Yeah. And they're going to get pushed off, but they can't

Rosie Gill-Moss:

stop it. Yeah. Yeah, it's this kind of freight train cramming at you and there's no, there's nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. And it's coming. Now, I'm going to just mention because, um, Mr Gilmoss was very brave actually, because today is the fifth anniversary of Sarah's death. And I think to stand up in front of people and talk about your experience yesterday took absolute balls of steel. So I'm publicly saying well done to you. Thank you. And I guess I wanted to try and use today to perhaps talk to you a little bit about Sarah because we've, you've told the story of her demise. Um, So five, five and very, very beautifully and very motivat. And we talk, um, about Sarah and Ben quite a lot on here, but I just wanted to kind of gonna interview you now, but talk to you about how this five year milestone has landed, because it seems to be a big one for a lot of people, doesn't it? Yeah, yeah.

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

It, it hit me like a, um, the freight train like a, like a freight train. And it was, um, Maria. Sheoot beautifully put it after even after eight years the memories are so crystal clear. Oh, yes, she did. I she did. Yes is That's true. And it's one of the things because I'm back in therapy And it's one of the things I was talking about this week is the The clarity of the memories that I think I've said to you like I'm closing my eyes and I can see The scenario, and I can, I can almost smell it, um, and I've not had that for, for quite some time. And it's just everything seems bigger, like I was with the girl for 20 years. Yeah. So like she's been gone a quarter of the time that I was with her. And

Rosie Gill-Moss:

now Holly's been, had less time than she had her. It's, it's all these, Yeah, all these,

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

all these tick boxes. And, you know, and Holly's growing into a, you know, beautiful little teenage girl now.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, we have a ten, a ten year old teenager, yeah.

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

Um. Who, her mum would be incredibly proud of and, you know, it stings.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, it does. And that's the thing, it comes out of nowhere and I thought I was coping quite well with my grief until five years hit and then I think that was a sort of unraveling almost for me because I think it was that point I really started the grieving process, you know, the real tricky stuff that you don't really want to do and I know that you've been really proactive, but you are an anomaly in many ways because you're a man that will go to counseling without being pushed and for you it really helps you kind of stack your feelings and that you kind of I've been in, it's kind of long, oh as you can imagine, poor woman. I did ask her actually if she has an extra wee to bix on the days I'm in. But, for you, you tend to do sort of condensed bouts of it, don't you? Get your thoughts stacked up and then step away until you need it again. Yeah, and then

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

process and do the work. Do the work. But I think I was also saying to you, it's been a bit different this year as well in that. Um, rather than just waking up and feeling like shit, and the world can burn, and the kids are so abrasive, and everyone's so abrasive, and everything else, I recognise that actually, no, no, no, no, this is rooted back in grief. I know what the feeling is, it's no one else's fault but mine, it's not gonna go away, so I might as well just strip my day away, and just sit with it, and then hopefully it pops away. And if I'm honest, today, so far, we're not at quarter past seven tonight yet, but, So far, the visions are still there, the thoughts are still there, but it's not quite as, um, Overwhelming. Loud. It's a bit, a bit like being sat next to a massive speaker and you're like, you want a little break from it. Um, the music's still playing. It's not quite as loud. But it's not taking over and because I've been doing it all, well pretty much all month, getting better and better at it, like now I can just do some editing this afternoon and probably keep my nose clean. I should

Rosie Gill-Moss:

hope so. Um, it's also something that is related to a terminal illness, I think, as well. Because with a sudden death, and I'm using my personal experience here, because, you know, all about me. Um, I had the 11th of March, where my life was this kind of enviable, happy life. And then I had the 12th of March, where it wasn't. And it was a very sudden break. Whereas for you, you... This week is the beginning of the end. The beginning of this week is where things really started to deteriorate and I'm and so You haven't only got the moment that she dies playing in your head. You've got the deterioration the agitation the discomfort having to You know this idea of everybody looking to you for help because you are the fixer in the situation and the vulnerability of actually Not being able to do anything so It's It's not just, not just a day, is it? It's a, it's almost a week of, of...

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

Yeah, it seems to be from the moment we got her home from hospital. Um, that, that seems to be absolutely scorched into my mind. I can remember each individual day, the fights to get the district nurse in and out at the 4am in the morning because she was in pain and just the absolute, what felt like a clusterfuck and I didn't know what was going on. But then, you know, um... On the Saturday morning, when I got the call and the hospice said actually, you know, it's, it's not something in the meds, it's internal agitation. And, and then you moved on to the, and a lot of the, the, the proper end of life track, because once they change the meds it's, it's just, you're just waiting for them to go.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And that must be so horrible because, you know there's no other option, you know there's nothing is going to change the scenario. And you just have to literally sit and watch them die. I mean,

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

I'm... And you have to lie to them. And say, it's okay, you can go now, it's okay. You don't fucking want them to go. No. You want to go back to six months before when they weren't ill. Or maybe even a year before and go, no, like, go get this checked, get this done, and like, the tracks will be different, but... You know, we can't do that and that's, that's part of the acceptance

Rosie Gill-Moss:

and... And that's, that's the bargaining, isn't it? Because, um, in this sort of, the five stages of grief, which, um, do exist, just they're not linear. There is that bargaining and I thought, oh, um, I thought I'm done with the bargaining because you do a lot of that in the early days, but then you, you don't start, because there's still a bit of, well, if I'd said this, or I've done this, or if I hadn't suggested we learn to scuba dive on honeymoon. And, so the bargaining does continue, even though you're not... Bargaining with the fact that... Yeah, it's a different,

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

it's a different stage of it, yeah. Um, but I, you know, I've, I've, I've, I've been through acceptance, I've accepted there's nothing I can fucking do to change it. Um, but, it, it's, it's surprised, it's caught me by surprise this year. Um, but then maybe because of my battles with COVID. Yeah. Um, I've had a little bit of time off and now's the right time to... I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

don't know. No, and we're kind of, we're winging our way through this as much as you guys are. And we're kind of, you know, being touted as experts here. But this is our first rodeo. Um, I was widowed for the first time in March 2018. You were widowed for the first time in November 2018. So it's, it's not something we have. Um, years and years of experience of what all we can do is share our experiences of what it's like and things that have helped us, um, in the best way that we can. Um, and hopefully bring you a little bit of that kind of dark humour that, uh, gets so many of us through. Um, it was one of the things we actually said at the conference yesterday is, you know, dark humour is a coping strategy and, um, you've, it's, it's not being disrespectful. It's not. It's, it's just sometimes we will say things and people look at us like. And then you realize that you're in the company of, uh, normals.

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

The unwidowed.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And I'll tell you what else I heard a phrase of this week, this is tangent time, is micro friendships. Have you heard the term micro friendships before? No. No, I thought this was quite nice. And it's sort of friendships that you have, perhaps, um, at periods in your life that, um, You know, you support each other or that you check in online, you know, like I guess maybe like online friendships or the kind of instant bond that you might make with a nurse in the hospital, but you don't necessarily stay in touch, but you've formed this. You don't forget them. You remember the name of the nurse that holiday friends. Yeah. Yeah. Although my, my, my holiday friend is still my friend. Um, but yeah, it, yeah. I think these kids sitting in the audience, and I say kids, there was a wide range of ages, but some of them were quite young. And I think for them, it was probably quite shocking to see People, I guess normal people who'd been, who'd had two tragedies happen. Because you're aware it goes on in the world, of course you are. But hearing it first hand is different. And we had this lovely young girl, or young woman, sorry I should be patronising, come up afterwards. And she said, um, that her dad died when she was ten. And, Her parents were separated, so they never spoke about it, and she only went to see his gravestone five years later. And she sort of said, thank you for doing this, thank you for talking about this, because it's, the silence is the worst thing. Yeah. And we, we had quite a few people sort of comment and thank us for sharing our stories, and I guess because we're quite used to doing it. I mean, we both got a little choked up actually during the presentation, but it's... You forget, I suppose, just how shitty it was. Do you know what I mean? It's when you recount it, you're like, Oh yeah, no, that was quite horrible. Yeah,

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

yeah. But that's also part of your grief journey, is to acknowledge it was shit. Yes, and

Rosie Gill-Moss:

how far you've come. And that's why the idea of standing at that top of that mountain, or halfway up the mountain, or three steps up the mountain, wherever you may be on your mountain, just have a little look back and see. And even if you just got out of bed this morning and brushed your hair, It's progress. It's all progress. What if you got out of bed? Yeah, I mean, yeah, the brushing of hair is debatable. You'll end up with, um, like dreadlocks underneath. That's why we had to shave out Ollie's hair, because you've got a dreadlock under it. It's not child abuse, it was necessity. Um, and actually I think that's sometimes when it can feel really difficult when you get a massive grief attack because you have climbed up that mountain and many of us have done that whilst dragging children and trying to earn a living or pay a mortgage or, you know, all the external stuff that comes with that. That's why when these grief attacks land, they can feel so shocking. And it's a bit like when you, as I've sort of discussed, you know, when I'm putting all my scaffolding in and building these layers of dopamine to keep my mental health good, and then the kind of sandcastle gets kicked down. Um, and it's a bit like that with grief, because you think, hang on a minute, no, I'm doing okay. You know, I've processed a lot of grief, I'm in a really good place. And then suddenly you are. Heartbroken with grief out of the blue. And it feels like, it feels like an uninvited guest sometimes. But I think

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

that, um, I think that's struck me this time. And actually my counselor helped me like sort of clarify in my mind a bit more was, um, cause it feels different this year. Um, it's still there. It still stings. It still hurts. I don't really enjoy it. Um, I don't really, I don't enjoy it

Rosie Gill-Moss:

at all,

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

um, but it's the case that no matter how far up the mountain you're going to go. It's always a bag that you're carrying, but you're more, as you progress up the mountain, you get fitter and able to carry it more or, you know, we, you sort out some other bags so you can put that inside a different bag that I can go for hours with an allergist,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

but I had a coffee with a friend this week and she's not a widow, um, but like so many of, of you, of us, you know, she's a mum and it's life is quite difficult for so many people. Um, and she just said, I'm just, Cutting down, I'm seeing my, I'm spending, I'm concentrating on my husband, my kids, my, you know, making sure that he's got enough work coming in. And everything else is just separate. It's just, you know, you don't need to bake the PTA sale, um, you don't need to find a donation. You can let these things go. Some, it's, I say this, but I did. I didn't bake. They're pretty cool. I made some snowmans for the bake sale but my Amazon cake tin hasn't turned up which is probably an indication of how much baking goes on in this house. So, uh, they're on a par with the cat cake I made for Hector, shall we say that? Um, But yeah, you can let things like this go and you can cancel arrangements and you can do your shopping online and you don't have to feel really festive and go and see the Christmas lights and all of that is okay. And if you've got kids and you're worried about them missing out, this is the opportunity to ask somebody to help and say, are you going to see the Christmas lights switch on, would you mind taking so and so? Or, asking people to come with you, safety in numbers. But this is a really, really challenging time for a lot of people, Christmas. Even people who aren't widowed, it brings out... a sense of isolation and loneliness in so many, all the comparison, you know, the, the, the matching pyjamas and the picture perfect Christmas trees with all the beautifully wrapped presents beneath them. It's intimidating. And if you're struggling financially or you're grieving or you're struggling with your mental health, the prospect of trying to do that is completely overwhelming. I don't know whether you will listen to me better than you might listen to yourself, but I'm sort of telling you that the kids don't care what wrapping paper their presents are in, and the Christmas dinner can come in a packet from Tesco's or Marks and Spencer's. You don't have to make everything from scratch, it doesn't have to be perfect. And that's something that I'm still working on. Um, but yeah. This is your friendly neighbourhood widow saying, give yourselves a break. Um,

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

and I, and I was like, if you want to build up the guts to do anything, it is to ask for help. Mm. Even if it's just, can someone just get us a pint of milk? Or, put the bloody tree up. Yeah, can someone help me put the tree up? Or, it doesn't matter what it is, just, if you give people specific tasks that they can do for you, they will, they will, especially in the early months, if you're in the early months, just write a list of shit you want to get done. Put it, give it your best mate, or your mum, or your dad, or whoever. Um, is your, your, you know, your side rock in that particular instance. And they will distribute it to your friends and they will take so much stress away. And they'll be happy to do it as well. And they will be happy to do it because that sometimes is easier than coming round for the awkward cup of tea. You know the one. Yeah. They don't know what to say, they feel

Rosie Gill-Moss:

uncomfortable. And what you'd actually probably rather is they, excuse me, wafted the hoove around and, uh, Exactly. Stuck a meal on for you. It's a bit like when you have a baby, isn't it? You know, if you're going to turn up and see them, bring, Um, food or offer help.

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

Yeah. Offer help or feed, feed them or, um, clean up for them or something. Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I, I, I'm just not saying take mine, even though

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

it's really, really difficult. So just find a way of getting normal tasks that you can't face. Out the door, through a trust of a friend, um, and, and, you know, let your little community, your little, um, support blanket community help you right now.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And we do, that sense of community and support is so important. And we hear varying degrees of it in our interviews. Some people are absolutely wrapped up in love and support and cherished. And other people are kind of left to fend for themselves. Um, and that's, that's very scary. And, um. I hope that most of you are wrapped up in love, and if you're not, message me and I'll send you some. Anyway, on that note, I think we are going to wrap this up so we can try and get it out today, which is Friday. Um, we have got some really cool, um, new cards, which have got like QR codes on that take you straight to the website. And the new website is, it's, it's a work in progress, but it's out and it's working. So if you want to go and have a little look at that and admire Mr. GM's handiwork. And, um. Yeah, let us know. Uh, Woodstock, I know, I know, I'm, I'm slow. I'm trying to get myself geared up to get this going. As soon as I have more info, I will share it with you.

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

And don't forget, like, subscribe, follow, give us a review, anything else you can do. Tell us

Rosie Gill-Moss:

we're pretty, we like that.

Jonathan Gill-Moss:

To help us, um, help us get inside the, uh, algorithms. Whoever

Rosie Gill-Moss:

they are. I don't know. I don't know. I don't understand any of it. Anyway, lots of love to you all and we will be back on Monday with a lovely episode with the charming Scott. So I will be back with you then and until then take care of yourselves everybody. Lots of love and goodbye. Goodbye.

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