Widowed AF

#84 - Chatty

December 08, 2023 Rosie Gill-Moss and Jonathan Gill-Moss Season 1 Episode 84
#84 - Chatty
Widowed AF
More Info
Widowed AF
#84 - Chatty
Dec 08, 2023 Season 1 Episode 84
Rosie Gill-Moss and Jonathan Gill-Moss

Join Rosie Gill-Moss in this heartwarming yet candid episode of "Widowed AF" as we dive into the complexities of widowhood during the festive season. Rosie and her guest discuss the overwhelming nature of parenting, school responsibilities, and the unique challenges of celebrating holidays while grieving. They touch upon the importance of self-compassion and letting go of the pursuit of perfection, especially during emotionally charged times like Christmas.

The episode features a profound conversation with Anna Bignell, who shares her journey of coping with her husband's suicide and the impact it has had on her family. Anna's story highlights the importance of mental health awareness, particularly in the context of men in high-pressure jobs, and the critical need for appropriate support and therapy. The discussion also delves into the significance of keeping the memory of lost loved ones alive, especially during the holidays, through personal rituals and charity work.

Listeners will find solace in the shared experiences of navigating grief, the struggle for self-care, and the journey towards finding a new normal after loss. Rosie's empathetic approach provides a space for understanding and connection, offering a beacon of hope to those facing similar challenges.

Remember, you're not alone in your journey. Tune in for a blend of heartfelt stories, practical advice, and a reminder that it's okay to find joy amidst sorrow.



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

Don't forget to subscribe !

Show Notes Transcript

Join Rosie Gill-Moss in this heartwarming yet candid episode of "Widowed AF" as we dive into the complexities of widowhood during the festive season. Rosie and her guest discuss the overwhelming nature of parenting, school responsibilities, and the unique challenges of celebrating holidays while grieving. They touch upon the importance of self-compassion and letting go of the pursuit of perfection, especially during emotionally charged times like Christmas.

The episode features a profound conversation with Anna Bignell, who shares her journey of coping with her husband's suicide and the impact it has had on her family. Anna's story highlights the importance of mental health awareness, particularly in the context of men in high-pressure jobs, and the critical need for appropriate support and therapy. The discussion also delves into the significance of keeping the memory of lost loved ones alive, especially during the holidays, through personal rituals and charity work.

Listeners will find solace in the shared experiences of navigating grief, the struggle for self-care, and the journey towards finding a new normal after loss. Rosie's empathetic approach provides a space for understanding and connection, offering a beacon of hope to those facing similar challenges.

Remember, you're not alone in your journey. Tune in for a blend of heartfelt stories, practical advice, and a reminder that it's okay to find joy amidst sorrow.



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're here with Rosie Gill-Moss and oh you jumped in too quick. I couldn't see you as well. We were so slick. This is the first episode we've done in Riverside together which is the online studio we use. So we're sitting opposite each other in the same room, but talking to each other via video type call, which is weird. Um, but it means that you guys get to see us. So, and we know how much you want to see us. And as our former guests and friend of the show referred to it. During this over scheduled Season of Sparkles, here I am! So, welcome back. Thank you for tuning in. Um, we are going to be having a bit of a chat about our weeks, um, about the over scheduled Season of Sparkles. Because any of you out there with more than one kid, or even with one kid actually, um, man alive. Those emails keep coming, don't they? I think I was six from the school this morning, if I'm honest. We were sitting here and our phones were pinging in unison with parent mails and things. So, uh, yeah, and I had to, you know, I was the mum who had to admit to forgetting the pound this morning for the crazy hair day. So I must remember to take some loose change up later. We weren't allowed, we had to pay online. Oh, and yeah. Honestly, there's such a gap in the market for these apps for schools. Says the man that designs tech. Um, but yeah, it is, it is. I don't want to be a bar humbug, but I think widowhood does suck the joy of Christmas out of you, if I'm honest. And I also think life, I mean, it just, it's very difficult to feel all festive and jolly when You're the kind, the rememberer of the pounds, that's, that's me, I fail at that, and you're thinking, and then they decide they want to write Christmas cards, and one of them's got to make a nativity scene, and then there's a, a, a, a diva meltdown because there's no speaking role for year ones and the nativity, and so, and we're kind of rushing towards the end of it, our kids break up next Friday, and you think, oh great, we'll get a bit of respite, but of course, Then comes the pressure to be perfect. And actually in a very seamless segue, I spoke to our previous guest, Anna Bignall, about this idea of perfection. And. being a little bit kinder to ourselves and I'm really really trying this festive period because normally by now I've got two trees up, the front's done, um, I'd like to say the presents are out but that would be absolute lies, um, but I've normally got myself into quite a state about what we're doing and have I got everybody the right thing and It really, really doesn't matter, does it? No, no it doesn't. And the self compassion thing is quite, um, yeah, it's quite a thing. I think we forget about it quite a lot, to be honest. Well, we're sort of, the idea of self love was what we were all supposed to feel. And self love, um, I don't know, it's a bit icky, isn't it? And I found self compassion works much better. And I used to go to, um, well I still don't go to yoga classes, but you know, or even doing them online, and they would say, What's your intention? Set an intention for the class. I don't know, I just don't want to be a bitch this week. I just don't want to cry all the time and be horrible. Um, and I've sort of realised that what I'm wanting is What I really am seeking is some, some compassion for myself, so self compassion, and some kindness to myself, which in turn will project into compassion and kindness for the people I love. And primarily that has to be and is my, my family and my close friends. What you've got left, you give to the rest of the world. Um, and that can be quite difficult because lots of us are working and, you know, many of you guys are solo parenting and, and man, that's, that's tough and we're also grieving and particularly if your late partner liked Christmas or even if they didn't particularly, it can bring up all sorts of. Of really, really tough feelings. And it can feel like the rest of the world is living in this wonderful, sparky Christmas bubble. And it's not real, really. The astronomical scenario was massive, and the Christmas it was It was just sparkles. It was, the house was, that would have been decorated a week ago. Um, and I think it's in Holly as well. Yeah. She gets quite giddy and she gets excited about it. And then she used to have to beat herself up cause I'm like, no damn, because she expects more, but that's what mom did. Yeah. And it's things like the elf. Um, so if you're listening with children in the car, just turn this bit down. I did it years ago when I only had the boys and I've done it sporadically since, but I just haven't got the. Wherewithal, I haven't got the energy and I just can't be arsed this year. And I feel like, and I did actually sit the kids down and say to them, look Christmas time is wonderful for you guys and I want it to be really special. And we're doing lots of really fun things and we're, you know, we're seeing their favorite people in the world, my mum and dad on Christmas. So. Just sort of said to them, but it's an enormous pressure because I have to ensure, we have to ensure, you know, that everybody's got the right presence and cards and, um, all the costumes are ready for the plays and all that sort of stuff. So I said, I'm going to cut myself a bit of slack this year, guys. And to be honest, they were brilliant, weren't they? Yeah, we've got one tree up. We've got one tree up and half the decorations outside. We're going to put up some wreaths and then I might show you a little. Montage of the festivities at Gilmour's house. Um, and if you are watching this in video, you lucky things, you will see that I am clad in sequins. I'm just debating the appropriateness of wearing them to interview a widow at 1230. So I may, well, so just to bring us back onto topic, we had an interview from a really, really incredible woman called Anna on Monday. It was probably the most challenging episode you've ever had to edit. I think, would I be right? It was tricky. Yeah. It was spread across four takes. We had a few issues with tech. So, and you also had two ladies that like to talk, so it's quite a long one, but it's also a really important one because it is, it's a suicide episode. So do be careful. Um, but it talks about the, or we talk about the sort of, um, The pressures that, that everybody is under at the moment, but often men, and men in quite powerful jobs, who don't really feel that they can show a sign of weakness and admit that they're having difficulties, and how that can manifest into them kind of internalizing it, and the consequence of that, tragically in this case, was that he took his own life. And two little girls, twin girls, are growing up now without dad. And I did ask Anna, I asked her to just sort of talk to me a little bit about how you, how you convey a suicide death to children of that age. I think they were seven, the girls. And, I don't know how you do really. It's such a complex and difficult Type of grief because in a child's mind they've chosen to leave and that's very difficult to to unpick but Anna is very very on it and she's very Protherapy and talking and actually one thing she did ask us to mention today was um, she I can't remember the wording, but that CBT was not for her. And, um, she actually was pulled up on it by somebody who is a CBT therapist. And firstly, I mean, if that's all they took from the episode, I mean, that's a bit of a shame really. Um, and secondly, uh, it wasn't Anna saying that she doesn't believe in CBT or doesn't believe that it is appropriate. for use with some people, merely that it didn't work for her and I, I can attest to that it doesn't work for me either. Yeah, and it's, it's the thing with all kind of therapies, there's so many different variations. Um, keep on trying until you find the one that works. Like talk therapy works really, really well for me. Yeah, same. And actually, I think people admitting or openly saying, Oh, I tried that and it didn't work. Means that people who perhaps have tried a type of therapy felt it hasn't worked. And then I thought that therapy is not for them. And I'm talking about me here actually, because this is exactly what happened to me in the early, early days. I had a really terrible therapist and I thought, Oh, well, so I'm not doing that. And whereas actually, if you're aware that there's different types and that it's quite normal for one type not to work for you, it might encourage you to look elsewhere, try different ones. Throughout the episode. One of the, um, things I really noticed was her. Um, commitment to keeping his legacy alive and we're just going to play you a little clip now because Anna did ask to add a little bit to her episode. So this is, this has not been aired yet. So this is fresh. So just have a little, a little listen to Anna's voice now. She talks about, um, how she has attempted to kind of create a legacy for him.

Anna Bignell:

I guess I wanted to talk about keeping, what I'm doing to keep Rich's memory alive. I don't want him to be a statistic. I really want, I'm keen to make sure that his name is a lasting legacy for him. Um, and that's done in, in an everyday sort of, I feel like talking to the girls about how, how many wonderful memories we had together. I think that's kind of giving them then permission to feel able to talk about their dad as well

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Do feel strongly about myself and many of our guests have, have done really incredible charity events. I'm thinking Stephanie Hills and her ball. Um, I'm thinking Dan Frost and his running and, um, You know, actually, shall we, shall I, shall I just mention my name? I might put the medal behind me, actually. You should, you should. I might do that. Um, yeah. I guess everyone's not aware Rosie did a marathon. Nobody says rant. Rant, rant. Oh, cause, jeez. I, I got round. Um. And this idea of wanting to publicly do something to raise awareness of either the way they the condition from which they died, which may be mental health, it could be a terminal illness, or also just raising awareness of them. You know, I did some I raised some money for, um, for Holding On Letting Go, which is a local charity very close to my heart. Um, I was actually there on Sunday doing some, um, working with the children, because they offer Uh, two day, um, workshops for children who've lost somebody close to them. And they are incredible. They really are. If you live in, in, in the Kent area, I can't recommend them enough. You are, once you have been supported by them, you are part of the family, which gives me goosebumps, but yeah, they're, they're a really nice crowd, actually, um, sorry, I've completely digressed, but that was, that was a way I felt I could leave a legacy for Ben because it would support children who may. Going through or have gone through what my kids have gone through. Um, so however you may do it, whether it is just talking about them, having photos of them, whether you are doing incredible things out there for charity, however you are doing it, it all counts as keeping their legacy alive. So, uh, many of you will be thinking of ways of perhaps you couldn't keep your, like, the person that you've lost, um, sort of immortalized at Christmas. And some ways that, um, we've done it is we've done Christmas decorations with, you know, their names on, and I've got a little photo. I think probably the only picture in existence of, um, my former life as a family of five, and it's not a particularly flattering photo. Tabby is mid vomit in it, but it goes on the Christmas tree every year. And I took it with me when we went abroad for Christmas and it's, I still have it and I'll share a photo of it and it goes on the tree and it just makes me feel a little bit more connected to him. And I send presents to his mom and you know, we, we, we. Sort of keep the connection to his family alive, which is part of what I feel the legacy is, but I'm lucky enough to be blessed with a, uh, a decent mother in law, so I don't know what all of you are. Um, I mean, we'll talk a little bit about what we've been up to this week. Um, it's not, it's, it's been busy. Of course, it's been busy. We're in the, uh, the countdown to Christmas, but it's been sort of manageable. Well, I've been busy in the office. Um, as people might have noticed. Well, the new website's, oh, this is that permanent feature. Everybody. There we go. I'm not gonna echo as much now, mum. Really echo. Um, and the launch of the, well, it's not the launch of the newsletter'cause we haven't done one yet, but we started to, uh, invite you people to come and sign up for our, um, newsletter. Yeah, I wanted to talk about this actually. We have, um, we're sort of. This year was a, kind of a year of experimentation, really, in terms of the podcast, because we had no idea that it was going to become I still feel really kind of self conscious saying it, but the success that it has and that it would have such a broad reach and, um, we've decided to level up a bit. So we're going to just, it's going to become more, um, we're going to have, like you said, we're going to have a really good website that which we're hoping will become a sort of, um, one stop shop resource for people. So if you know of anybody who is going through something like this, you are able to say, Oh, this website will have. Signposts, resources, blogs, um. Your stories, everything. Yeah, all your stories will be there. And, um, so, we were talking earlier, this is, I think this will appear to dark, appeal to the dark, humid among you, but, we were going, we were discussing categorising them, and like, we're going to have to categorise them by how they died. I mean, that feels so brutal. But useful, because if you, you know, if you, uh, in a similar situation to Anna, like we've had messages through, of people saying they are in similar situations. So you're going to seek out those stories to get the, the feedback from it. But we're, you know, it's this um, it's the, because the last two presentations you've done for the nurses and for the solicitors, one of the key elements in there is when you land in this shithole, Um, you're in a foreign country with no guidebook you don't speak the language, so. Yeah, we were going to try and create this place that does have all the information that's helped us. So. Again, we're, we're, we're open to suggestions and ideas and many of you have blogs and we will put links to them because you've all got a really valuable voice and the story to tell and support. And yeah, I, I, I'm excited. And of course the big one is merchandise. So a few of you may have noticed that our branding has changed. Um, we decided to have a little reboot and even if we say so ourselves, it's. It's, it's pretty cool. Um, so we've got some, we're in the progress of creating some merchandise for you. Um, we're going to start small. We're going to start with some little enamel pins. Um, we're just trying out supplies and things at the moment and hopefully in the new year you will, we'll, we'll model some of our own t shirts. And if you would be interested in buying them, then that would be fantastic because, um. We kind of got to recoup our costs a little bit, so, um, because it doesn't, we do do this completely voluntarily, so, um, it would be nice to keep the lights on, as it were. And if you would like to be added to our mailing list, the link to join is on our Instagram, which is, um, Widowed underscore AF, or the website, which is www. Lalalalala. I'll just say that. Um, we're going to populate it with some pictures and all sorts of stuff. I say we, like, this guy's got anything to do with anything on the internet. Um, but yeah, we. We're realizing now that there is a need for this and a more sort of national coverage because obviously we recommend people go to WAY and, um, and obviously I've just mentioned Holding On, Letting Go and there's Winston's, which there's, there's lots and lots of grief charities and support out there, but it can be very, very daunting trying to find it. And lots of these places are very tragically are very oversubscribed. And when you are seeking help. As we know personally, you know, and you're not getting it, it can feel very, very demoralizing. So the idea is that there will be instant help available as in you can get some coping strategies. But also, we're going to put as many support charities or organizations as we possibly can think of. So that if the first one can't help you, there's another one to try and you're not left there thinking, Oh, I've got to start again. And to be honest with you, the reason that I feel this way It's incredible connection to the, the, the team at holding anything go is because I was that person. I was, I'd called the doctors, I called cams, I was in crisis. My kids were, were, were desperate. I was desperate. And it was that horrible feeling of having doors closed, you know, there's waiting lists or no, sorry, we can't help you. They're the wrong age or it goes on. And they. said to me, you, you're going to be okay. We're going to help you. And those words just never left me. So yeah, I've gone off again, but you know what I mean? It's, it's, the idea is that if everybody wants to help when somebody dies and nobody really knows what to do, and by creating a body of work. Through what, through the contributions that our guests have made, we should be able to put something together that is really helpful. Yeah, yeah. But we are taking it easy, um, until January, I have to say. We will be putting out two episodes, um, but, yeah, the socials and stuff, we, we try and, but it's, um, It's, you have to dig quite deep to find the extra energy. It may become a bit more formal, not formal, but a little bit more co operative based around the website as I automate you guys. And I'll just keep sending you pictures of my sparkles. Yeah. That seems to work, doesn't it? Um, so yeah, um, if anybody is desperately interested in my gynecological issues, I'm disappointed to report that the coil is still in situ. Um, and I have been referred to a, to the gynecologist at the hospital because I've got to have it done under general anaesthetic. So it's, I'm not in any discomfort or any pain. It's not causing me any issues. Um, but yeah, for anybody that's embroiled in my. Very menopause journey. It's still going. But I did have a really great consultation with the, um, the practice nurse at our local GP surgery. And I gotta say, she knocked the private gynecologist that I wasted money on out the water. She was so much more knowledgeable and helpful. So, uh, yeah. Things have been I'm, I'm two weeks into what I would say is feeling quite positive. There's been no major Dips in mood, no major outpourings of grief. Um, a little bit of crazy tidying, but that doesn't do anybody any harm in the long run. Uh, so, I'm feeling okay at the moment, tentatively. And, um, It's nice, but I think you'll probably relate to me, many of you, if I say it's very difficult to enjoy because you're always waiting for the next, um, dip in mood or the next tragedy to happen. So we survived, Monty and I survived ice skating though, so that I did, I was convinced that we were going to lose some, a finger in the process at least. And actually, oh yeah, actually, although I probably will speak. To you all before then, but, um, my eldest and I are going away for a couple of nights next weekend. So John, John's going to be, um, daddy daycare. And so please send your love, solidarity and support to him during this challenging time. We'll be fine. I'll just wear them out every single day. And then, yeah, yeah. That's it. Like I said, easy, really compare the kids to dogs, but yeah, get them out for a run. You'll be fine. So, essentially, we'll kind of leave you on that note, really, but, um, yeah, if you have the time, I would recommend listening to Anna's episode. It is difficult because it's a suicide episode, but it's also an episode where she talks about turning tragedy into, into something Positive, you know, but with the charity work and, and also this idea of us being called brave, um, and then many of us will say, well, I'm not brave because I don't have a choice. And I disagree. I think you do have a choice. I think you do. I think it's a choice that you make. And people that come on here and talk to me have all made that choice. And I'm sure so many of you listening have made that choice. And in a seamless, seamless plug. Um, actually, um, Monday's, um, interview with Jen Planned. Jennifer Planned, not Jen Planned. Sorry, Jen. Um, she speaks quite heavily about the, the, the, the choice of happiness. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I've Been trying to kind of hack my brain a bit because it's actually, we're in control, but, um, our brains like to think otherwise. So just really, and also, I also will actually just before we go, just a, just a disclaimer. That's a lipstick rolling on the table. Um, the sequence. It's a facade. I am wearing sequins because it is a an opportunity to show off my sequins because I've accumulated quite a few over the years and B it's just it kind of forces me out my jogging buttons and things but also it it it's that fake it till you make it if I put on some sparkles there's some festive cheer and so please don't be under the illusion that I am you know you What's, uh, elf, because I'm not, I'm not, sugar for breakfast is fine. Um, yeah, so don't be under the illusion that all is, all is, all is well. Um. Um, when you see the sparkles on the outside, you know, we're, we're, we're treading water just as much as everybody else. So lots of love to all of you. And, um, we will be back on Monday with Jane's episode, as Job mentioned, and probably a little quick wash up chat on Friday, because that's the last day of term and there'll be something on won't there? I've even looked at next week's schedule. There's lots of Santa hats, Christmas dinners and mince pies involved, I think. And pounds, pound coins. And pound coins, yeah. Yeah. I'll drop a bottle. Yeah, oh yeah, yeah. That's great for us actually. So we get rid of all our booze. Anyway, I will stop rambling into the microphone and let you guys go, but have a pleasant as possible weekend and remember that you guys are not alone. We are here in your ears whenever you need us. Take care. Bye bye. Hello, it's me again. Um, just when you thought you'd heard the last. So I'm going to play you now a clip. It's a, um, a sort of add on episode. Anna contacted us asking to add a little bit of more information to her episode. And whilst we really struggled to sort of edit it in without it sounding a bit clunky, we thought for those who would like to hear it, we'll play it now. So if you're still with us, here's Anna.

Anna Bignell:

um, I guess I wanted to talk about keeping, what I'm doing to keep Rich's memory alive. I don't want him to be a statistic. I really want, I'm keen to make sure that his name is a lasting legacy for him. Um, and that's done in, in an everyday sort of, I feel like talking to the girls about how, how many wonderful memories we had together. I think that's kind of giving them then permission to feel able to talk about their dad as well.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah

Anna Bignell:

Um, but then also the kind of wider stuff around, um, I did, um, well, actually one of his colleagues, amazing colleagues set up Ramble for Rich last year. Um. And that was amazing, so many people came along to that. And I feel like I'd like to do it again, and maybe, you know, in time, it'll be my girls leading it. We did also something this year in the summer called, uh, Pitchside for Rich, which was a family fun day. And they're kind of getting excited, and actually even, they both said to me, Why don't we combine the two next year? And we could do a big long walk, and then end up, and then have these huge bouncy castles, and all this fun fairground rides, and You know,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

You could walk to kent to widstock That could be your charity walk and I promise there'll be bouncy castles

Anna Bignell:

Um, Yeah, and also, I guess for me, yeah, I want to talk about, um, supporting, um, demystifying the myths around suicide massively. Supporting mental health for my children going forward and giving others, others ideas and support. Um, and yeah, just so you, to remind you, I had talked about, um, medical negligence claim. But for many reasons, that's, um, that's not going to come off, I think for, for so many reasons. I think it could be a massive fight on my hands. I've got two reports, one of which is fantastic. Well, fantastic. It's, it's maybe not the right chosen word, but in terms of it highlights, it's It highlights the bad practice of the psychiatrist. But there's an issue of duty of care on his behalf, so we can't use it. The other report I've got is terrible. Like, absolutely diabolical. Like, I don't know who, I don't know how he's qualified to write it. Not only is it wrong in content, it's actually just a really diabolically written, grammatically structured report. Um, so actually, for me it's not about I want to just, um, I want others to take accountability and that's really important for me. And I want to, um, I want to make a complaint. Um, I know others probably have done in, but it's important that I do that.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

well, yeah, I agree with you and I I also agree with making formal complaints when you are treated Inhumanely or where there is negligence, you know, I don't agree with ambulance chasing lawyers and that sort of thing But I think in a situation like yours, you know where there clearly was a negligence then You're entitled to, at the very least, write a letter of complaint.

Anna Bignell:

Yeah, and that's my intention. 100%. Um, I guess, yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I think, I think something that would be really kind of valuable, actually, Anna, is this idea of, um, how children cope post suicide, of a parent, because I think this is probably the big one, really, for most people who will be listening, is how, how you explain that away, and how you, um, enable them to go out into the world without feeling like one of the only people that was meant to. them the most, left them. Um, and I think perhaps if you are able to give any hope to parents who are going through what you're going through right now, um, I mean, I'm, maybe that's something you'd like to add.

Anna Bignell:

absolutely. I think, um, it's very isolating, this complex grief, um, that we're going through. I think I shared before, I'm, I am in contact with others in the same, sadly, in the same situation. And that's, um, been a huge strength for me. Um, sadly, they also have children. So in terms of, um, my girls knowing other children in the same situation is, is important, not to be bread and butter, but actually, you know, there's nobody that's lost a parent in their school. Um, so I think it's important that they, they realize they're just not completely alone in all this,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, I absolutely agree. Much like we try and find our tribe within the widow community, it's important for them. Yeah, and I mean, it's, I remember one of my kids saying to me once quite early on, have you got any friends whose husband hasn't died? A few,

Anna Bignell:

Yeah, and it could become the norm. Yeah, because I mean Even, I, I went to this brilliant weekend away where they did get to meet others who'd lost, um, lost a parent. And some, some families do spend a lot of time and they holiday together year in, year out. Um, and I definitely want a bit of that.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

but not, not full, full throttle.

Anna Bignell:

not full throttle, no. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

a bit. So I did a couple of the holidays and, um, and I created, but what you tend to do, I think, is you create your own circle, you know, and they're the ones that stick around. And I've got a WhatsApp chat, um, that's been going five years and it's, it's, we, we, we're really. You know, we live far away from each other, we don't meet up as much as we like, but it's, uh, it was called the widowed witches originally. But yeah, I think finding, finding their tribe and realizing, and I think much like you're saying here, you know, shaking off this stigma around mental health and suicide and not demystifying it is, is it, because I nearly said normalizing and I don't, I don't necessarily want to normalize it either. But, um, as I mentioned to you, I'm sure in our, in our interview, a good friend of mine recently, her husband took his life very suddenly. And. Um, the ricochets from it just, you know, the waves just go further and further because as well as the horror of the grief, there's so much guilt surrounding it. Everybody thinks they should or could have done more.

Anna Bignell:

absolutely, and I think I've learned through my reading and accessing this course I mentioned about from the Museum of Happiness, which was, which was amazing. One of the things that we looked at was the science of self compassion, and actually this was an unknown Territory for me. I didn't know much about it. I kind of thought it was to do with self esteem. But actually, I mean, it's the benefits of self esteem without the kind of, um, judging, putting others down. It's kind of viewing, viewing yourself as being important and actually having some self worth. And that's OK to recognize that, particularly after a horrendous tragedy and trauma. Um, so I guess it's just OK just to realize that it's. It's okay to comfort myself when I'm, when I'm in this much pain, because if I'm just going to continue to, um, to judge and criticize, then that's not going to help anyone at all. Um, and actually I want to be such a good role model for my girls. So I'm not talking kind of, um, spa treatments and things. Um, although that is nice and actually that's, that's, that's, I do, I have done that more so this last year and a half,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I, uh, I've got a confession. I don't like spas very much.

Anna Bignell:

you know,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

No, I don't. Yeah, and it's the whole walking around in a dressing gown that's not yours and they're normally a bit tepid. But I do know, there's a very good thermal bath place in London that sometimes I do treat myself to a little trip there. You go in for 90 minutes and you come out like a new, literally, because you've been in the water for so long, like you've been reborn. Um, but you're right, it is that, and I found the term self love made me feel a bit sick in my mouth. And so I work towards self acceptance, and accepting that I have my limitations, and I cannot be everything to everybody all of the time. And I cannot be perfect, you know.

Anna Bignell:

Mm,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

My house is never going to be perfect. I have four children. It's just letting go of this idea of perfection and giving yourself the same kind of kindness that you would give a friend. Cause you know, if you popped in to see a friend and like they hadn't hoovered, would you care? I mean, it depends.

Anna Bignell:

at all.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

But it's the same with the grieving and the processing of the grief and the way you might behave when you're grieving. You have to view yourself as, I mean, I look back as almost like a little girl. I think of that girl back then. I don't feel like I was a grown woman when it happened to me. I feel like I was a girl. So innocent.

Anna Bignell:

Mm, Yeah, I know what you mean. Definitely. It's definitely the before and after, isn't it? Like I feel a completely different person. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

But yeah, you're right, the self value stuff, you know, it is going, actually I'm just going to go out for a walk or a run or I'm going to go lie on the bed. You know, in the middle of my own privacy, I'm just going to go and sit inside for half an hour and then come back out again and just giving yourself a little bit of kindness and compassion and as if you were a friend and it's such a cliched and sounds so trite to say it because it's such sort of

Anna Bignell:

it does.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

but it, it, you have to like the person that you're living with because you're living with yourself like you can't, I mean, I've tried out running myself. It doesn't work. Um, and I think this is where men. Perhaps fall through the gaps a little bit, because the idea of self care and talking about their feelings and granting themselves some breaks from work or time to decompress, you know, they don't go on spa weekends do they? I mean, a lot of them go on golfing weekends, I am aware, but it's um, perhaps that's, that's something that perhaps contributes to this feeling of isolation.

Anna Bignell:

Mm, Absolutely. And I guess if I can do anything, like I can't, I can't save Rich. I wanted to, and I think I was trying to for the first probably good few months. You know, I talked to my counselor as if he was still here, you know, um. As if I was, and because I, I was in that place for so long, I was, I was, I realise now, you know, there were so many red flags that I didn't join up at the time, but I was trying to save him, and actually I did all I can, and I, so desperately sad, and, you know, every single day I wake up, you know, with a shock and horror of it all, my reality, but, you know, I, I know that I did so much, I really did, and um, with complex grief, as others who have told their story to you. You know, so many complex emotions, you know, surrounding the, as you've said, guilt, regret, remorse, you know, absolute anger. And it's, I feel fortunate in that we left, um, our last words to each other were of, were of kindness and of, of love. Um, I just, he, he, I'm comforted knowing that he would have heard those last words from me and, and known that, um, because it

Rosie Gill-Moss:

going to clip, I'm going to use that as a clip, that's nice. Um, I completely agree with you, my last words to Ben, somewhat ironically, were I love you and be safe darling. Uh, but yes, I've spoken to people who've left after a row and they've gone out and had car accidents and I know,

Anna Bignell:

to sleep. Yeah, horrendous. And I know other people who exactly the same. Um, so I guess I feel fortunate in that, in that regard, in that

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Funny describing yourself as fortunate, isn't it?

Anna Bignell:

No, I'm one of the lucky

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Lucky me!

Anna Bignell:

Yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yes.

Anna Bignell:

burden or additional guilt, you know, um, because I already am filled with the should haves and could haves and what, what, what I would have done and that, you know, that I could have had a potential different outcome. I feel what I can do now is, you know, the stats are really, really strong in terms of particularly, you know, anyone that's lost a parent, but particularly lost a parent by suicide, you know, they're really ugly, raw, grim, it's a grim read. It's, you know, risk taking behaviors, you know, eating disorders, particularly for girls, you know, self harm. And I just thought, What, what the hell am I going to do to make sure my girls, that doesn't happen? And I, I mean, they're only nine and who knows? I might be looking

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, I'm always looking for things. I think we will never, we'll never stop.

Anna Bignell:

I know, I know. I just, that's why I actually, when this opportunity came up about, um, the resilience training. Museum of happiness. I just, I just loved it. I really did. It was, you know, the science of self compassion, gratitude. And actually I realized, I suppose I'm recognizing some of the strengths around that I have that helping me in my healing process, that I am quite a curious person. I like to say curious than nosy. I like, I am. That keeps me going. I'm interested in other people and what's out there, you know, um, adventures ahead. And hopefully that will not stop and I want to role model that for the girls. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Well, I'm looking at my notes here and I'm, you know, I'm saying that you grabbed every opportunity and you took it to help heal yourself, um, because you didn't want it to define and break them. And I, it's something that we've, we kind of go by as well as this idea that it is a terrible thing that happened to you, but it doesn't define who you are. But we know, we know kids are horrible. We know that, you know, there's even a risk they'll get bullied about it. I mean, how do you protect them from that? But, and I have a very close friend whose husband, um, died from suicide several years ago. And, um, and she's got daughters and she's, you know, she works really hard to help them build up those, those pillars of resilience. But as the, um, Um, very eloquent actually, Vicky Patterson, I think it was, saw a clip of her talking about, it was PMDD in particular, but it did remind me of all the kind of grief and mental health is where you, you build up this stacking of, uh, dopamine or good things to make you feel good. And then all it takes is one bad mood to come and kick down that sandcastle. Um, so I think by building up this, I love this Museum of Happiness idea, um, but it's, it's a process, isn't it? You have to. These layers have to be built up and set in stone almost, it's, it's, it's not an overnight process, you can't suddenly decide you're

Anna Bignell:

time. And I guess for me, I could be Consumed with and like others may well have felt this or still do with the feeling of Yeah, just kind of beating ourselves up about Or feeling I'm feeling a sense of unfairness about the world you know what's wrong with the world in terms of seeing others and they're going forward with their lives and and You know, we're missing out with that person every day gets further and further away from when they were last here So I guess that's why I think counselling for me, but also just talking and connecting with other people all the time, reading podcasts, which have been, you know, your podcasts have been amazing, really.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I, I do appreciate you saying that because it is what we set out to do was to be that kind of voice that you needed because it, it's very lonely being widowed and it's even lonelier being widowed by suicide.

Anna Bignell:

yes, yeah, it absolutely is. And I, that's why I want to break down the stigma, because there is such stigma, you know, I, I'm shocked still, I work in your, in, um, healthcare and, and there is. There is stigma around it still and around friends and family, you know, it's just an unknown people don't, I think there's still this sort of notion that they were selfish in some way and, you know, that's absolutely not the case. People who do this are very, very, very unwell and they're emotionally in so much pain. They just want to get rid of that pain momentarily. Um, not, not forever. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

But it's a permanent solution, isn't it, to a temporary problem? And I think by sort of incrementally letting out your mental health problems, whether that be by going on a walk and listening to a podcast or talking, you, it, and even saying the words, I feel suicidal. Now, I've never said those words very out loud, really, um, because I'm not, I'm not depressed and I'm not suicidal. Um. But periodically, I just feel that way. And I managed to say it to John, and he kind of recoiled from me, you know, because it's the worst thing in the world to hear somebody you love say. And I then managed to sort of write, because I'm much better to write than speak sometimes, and, and explain to him that I had to just say those words, because otherwise they just circulate round and round. And I think allowing your friend who may be in a mental health spiral, or may be really struggling, allowing them to say, I just don't want to be here, I want it to end. But also understanding that they probably don't mean it. I mean, if you think they do, then obviously take action. But, often just saying those words or writing them down is enough to release that feeling. Um, but of course, men in particular are told that that's not how you work. You know, you don't go to work and say, Oh, I'm really struggling with my mental health today. It's not, it should be, but, um, yeah. I, we're getting better, aren't we? But we're still not there.

Anna Bignell:

no, it's a long way to go. I think I'm, I'm, my intentions are to, because Rich, as I shared, shared previously, that he worked for really toxic work, um, you know, in really toxic work situation, um, he was in, and there are many others who are, are feeling, feeling that. Um, thankfully the person who was, um, his manager has left. However, I don't, I don't know the circumstances around that and I don't think I'll ever get to know, unfortunately. But what I do intend to do is meet and find out what exactly they're doing for mental health policies. And I want to hand in, be involved in changing that.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, that's amazing.

Anna Bignell:

and It's not enough to be told. Yes, we're doing something. I, I, I absolutely want to know. And,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

him in the eyes, don't you?

Anna Bignell:

completely, I do.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, I wanted to look the guy who'd been the skipper on the boat in the eye, and he wouldn't take my calls. I didn't get his numbers. It wasn't actually until the full inquest. Oh, that's my, that's naughty. My phone was on, do not disturb, sorry. Um, and I didn't get to until the inquest and, um, It was difficult, but I then, for me personally, I lost a lot of the anger I felt towards this guy because, um, when they laid out what the, the, the sort of story of the day, you know, yes, he shouldn't have, there were, there were problems, but I don't know, hearing him talk and seeing that he was visibly distressed by it. Helps. And I just think, why didn't you pick up the phone earlier? Cause that would have hurt. I have so much anger towards this man for like two years. I think it was before the inquest. So, um,

Anna Bignell:

That's a long

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, and I think actually you're, what you're doing and what, and you know, what I oversee them reforming their mental health policy. I think that's amazing. I think that's really amazing. And I think that if you do go ahead and do that, I'd love to hear about it afterwards. And, and I, you may or may not be aware that I am about to branch off into a whole new. Style of podcasting as well alongside this. So we're going to be talking men's mental health, women's mental health. So there's so many opportunities that I'm going to try and create for us to talk about the issues that people don't talk about enough. Um, and kind of, you know, much like we've shone a light into the darkness of widowhood. Um, there's, there's many other areas and. You are doing so much by talking about it and I, I, I do think that the men and women who come on here and talk about suicide loss are, we're, talks actually done for us about this but I don't, you know, how we don't like to be called brave and strong because we didn't have a choice. I disagree. I think we did have a choice. I think we had the choice to lay in bed drinking gin. Um, and letting our kids raise themselves or be taken away, or we have the choice to get up every single morning and take care of them and try and do some good in the world. So I think actually you're not given a choice, but you then have the choice of what you do next.

Anna Bignell:

Yeah, that's true. You can't, you can't, um, you can't ride the waves, but you can learn how, I know, what's that?

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I don't know. I don't know. Why is my ground on?

Anna Bignell:

yeah, yeah, yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh God.

Anna Bignell:

to surf.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

you've got nothing right. Actually, Liz Towner, who was one of my early interviewees, her son has a podcast called, I don't want to misname called Boys Get Sad Too, and, um, obviously his father, um, he, he lost him to suicide too, so, it's, it's like the children of, um, The children are now starting to talk, so I have a, I have a little gem of an idea where I'm going to bring in some, a special offshoot with, um, adults, but who lost parents when they were young and, and how it impacted them on their life. And what I'm hoping is that it will give people hope that actually this terrible thing can happen and they can still be okay. Um, but until I do the interviews, I don't know. But from what the people that I know, um, and actually I have recorded one, they, they generally seem to be okay. And they generally seem to

Anna Bignell:

I mean, sorry

Rosie Gill-Moss:

No, no, no,

Anna Bignell:

You know what? I, I've actually I've been really comforted by that. When I've found, I mean, people have, um, a lovely school mum came forward and told me I didn't know when it happened that she lost her dad when she was 13, 14. Um, and she's an amazing, very well adjusted, um, happy. person. Um, and actually I know, you know, very, one of my best friends, husband's, his, he lost his dad at a young age. One of my other good friends lost her, her mum. And I look at all these people and actually they, they've, yeah, they are more than all right actually.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, and they're generally quite compassionate and kind, and whilst you would prefer them not to go through this process to get there, Um, yeah, they, I, I think what this will be will be a message of hope to people who are in that, at that point where they're thinking, The worst things happen to my kids. What do I do? Um, and just to know that all you've gotta do, I say, well, you've gotta do, it's easier said than done some days, but all you, all you've gotta do really is just show up. And I felt that whenever everything else was lacking,'cause you know, I wasn't my best self. Um, they were fed, but, and they were, they were in bed in a safe home and they were, they were loved, you know, and, and actually that's what you can struggle to give your children sometimes when you're grieving, is to be able to give them love'cause you're hurting so much. But, um. Yeah, I, I think, I think, yeah, I think you're awesome, you know, I think you're awesome, and, um, we will, we can put in, I'll get John to decide what to do with this, whether it fits in,

Anna Bignell:

Yeah. Yeah. Thank you.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Um, is that everything you wanted to

Anna Bignell:

there's, yeah, I just was going to say, I mean, my friends, some of these people I was talking about, like they'd be more than happy. I mean, I could, I could give you all their numbers, you know, in terms of your next podcast,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, please do.

Anna Bignell:

be absolutely prepared to talk to you.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, I'd be fascinated to, thank you.

Anna Bignell:

there's also my sister in law, um, told me about Aileen, is it Aileen B? I don't know how to pronounce her name, Irish comedian, and she lost her dad to suicide. And, um, you know, she's, she's quite a well known, um, comedian. Um, she's, I'm trying to think what she's done or she actually did something because my sister in law's an actor, so she knows, I guess that's why she knows her. Um, but she's written a very funny article about the loss of her dad through suicide. Yeah, I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

it to me if

Anna Bignell:

Guardian. Yes, I will do.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, and I think it's We say kids are resilient a lot, which always feels a bit unfair to me, because they shouldn't have to be, but, but they, they are. And, um, it's, we were just talking, Monty and I, yesterday about his dad, you know, stood in the kitchen and, and it's, it's become something, I don't know, they become kind of like a part of your family in a way. It's, it's, it's odd how, how things change over time. But. If that's everything you need for today.

Anna Bignell:

Um, yes, I think so. Yes,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Take care Anna, lots of love.

Anna Bignell:

Have a good weekend.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And you darling, bye.

Podcasts we love