Widowed AF

#89 - Lisa Aldridge

December 26, 2023 Rosie Gill-Moss Season 1 Episode 89
Widowed AF
#89 - Lisa Aldridge
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Widowed AF , Rosie warmly welcomes her latest guest, Lisa Aldridge. Lisa's story, woven with threads of love, loss, and newfound happiness, unfolds like a novel you can't put down.

Our story begins with Lisa, a vibrant volunteer at St John Ambulance, where fate brings Gavin into her life. Their connection is instant and profound, leading them down the aisle and into a life filled with shared dreams and the laughter of three beautiful daughters.

But life, as it often does, turns a new page. One ordinary day, while working in his unit, Gavin suffers a tragic accident. The details are heart-wrenching as Lisa recalls the aftermath, painting a vivid picture of a world turned upside down.

As the chapters of grief and coping unfold, Lisa's narrative takes a hopeful turn. She dips her toes into the world of online dating, where Chris, her now-husband, emerges as a character brimming with understanding and love. Together, they embark on the challenging yet rewarding journey of blending two families, each with its unique past and shared future.

Rosie and Lisa delve into the delicate art of balancing memories and moving forward. They discuss how maintaining Gavin's legacy coexists with embracing the joy Chris brings into their lives.

Lisa's journey, beautifully narrated in this episode, is a tale of resilience. It's about finding love in unexpected places, the complexities of blending a new family, and the endless capacity of the heart to embrace both past and present.

As the episode draws to a close, Rosie reflects on the universal themes of love, loss, and the courage to find happiness again. Lisa's story is not just her own but a beacon of hope for anyone navigating the waters of grief and love.



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Rosie Gill-Moss:

hello and a very warm welcome back to Widowed AF. You're here with your host Rosie Gill Moss and joining me today I've got Lisa Aldridge. Hello Lisa. And you are not that far from me, are you? You're not, you're, well, I'll say up the road, but, uh, we'll, we'll in an hour.

Lisa Aldridge:

Yeah, absolutely.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Now, Lisa, I, Lori coined the term grief sherpa. And I will never forget Lisa reaching out a hand to me when Ben died. And you arranged for me to come and meet some other widows at a, um, garden centre cafe. And I felt like a rabbit in headlights. And Just a little bit of kindness from those women. Kind of put that little beginning of the ready bread glow, you know, that those layers that you build up to protect yourself And we've stayed in touch and we have both got remarried you quite recently so congratulations

Lisa Aldridge:

Thank you.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

and I realized how little I really knew about Lisa's late husband I don't know whether you've gone as dark as dead and alive yet, Lisa

Lisa Aldridge:

Yeah, I'll have

Rosie Gill-Moss:

You have, yeah. It's the only way, isn't it? Um, I know that Gav died in really tragic circumstances, and I know that he left behind three little girls, who were nine, seven, and six, ten years ago. But I'm gonna let you tell your story, Lisa, and start, you know, as far back as you like, but tell us a little bit about Gavin and who he was.

Lisa Aldridge:

Okay, so, um, I knew Gavin for a few years. We were both in St John Ambulance. Um, I knew of him, didn't really know him as a person. And then we both became youth leaders. He was down in Folkestone and I was in Ashford. And, um, we ended up on a camp, a youth camp together. And we were leaders of the same group. So we got to know each other quite well during the week. Then, um, when we left camp, we had a plug and, uh, he said, I'll keep in touch. And then we met up on the Monday night. I think we came home on Saturday. We met up on the Monday night and that was that.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

There you go. When you know, you know. Right.

Lisa Aldridge:

absolutely. So, um, that was in August 97. Um. He proposed in June 98, the day after my birthday, and we got married in August 20, uh, 2001. Lost the year there for a minute.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

To be honest, I'm impressed that you can recall these. I struggle with my own, um, both wedding anniversaries. Um, so he proposed within a year, so you got, he was pretty certain too. That's nice. Yeah.

Lisa Aldridge:

A bit, a bit quick, but you know,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I, I, I, both, my husbands proposed within a year.

Lisa Aldridge:

So we got married, um, Roe arrived in two th in December, 2003. Um, Ashley arrived in February, 2006. And Kira arrived in September 2007. Everything was just, you know, normal family life. Um, Gavin worked in the audiovisual industry. He, um, he worked for a few different companies locally. And, um, but he also had his own company running in the background, hiring out PA systems and such things. And then, um, The companies he was working for were taking advantage of him because he was good at his job and he was working stupid hours, working away from home loads all across the world and earning rubbish money. So I said to him, why don't you just set up your own business and do it on your own? And he was like, Oh, I don't know. It's risky. So while I was on maternity leave with Kiera, I asked my boss if I could go back to work full time. Um, so we could pay the mortgage and said to him, how do you notice and do it on your own? And he did, and I never went back to work full time.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I love that. I love that you did that for him, that you gave him that opportunity. I think that's really cool. Can I just ask you about the Irish names? Because I'm not, you,

Lisa Aldridge:

My mom's

Rosie Gill-Moss:

your mum's Irish. That's, I was just thinking as I wrote, attempted to write down these names, I will check the spellings. Um, I was thinking, oh, I've never made the connection that all your girls have Irish names, but anyway, that's a, that's a, uh, uh, another tangent. Sorry.

Lisa Aldridge:

All right, it's

Rosie Gill-Moss:

But I love that you put, you know, you put yourself out on and out there and went back full time to give him the opportunity to chase his dream. Um, and the reward was that you never had to go back full time, which is, it's wonderful. So I, I, I love when couples support each other in their ventures. Um, yeah, anyway, carry on.

Lisa Aldridge:

all right. Um, so his business did really well. Um, he got his own premises and then, um, had to move out of that within six months because the company was growing and he needed stuff and it was all going really well. Sorry. And then, um, he was working, um, So you have this big unit out at Bethesda, um, so you could have, um, you had some vans, they're going and taking stuff to jobs. So you could keep those in the unit overnight once they were loaded. Um, and they had a workshop and an office and a client room and, you know, loads of, it was all very nice set up. And his brother was working with him and my dad and his dad. And then a few people he'd met through the industry were working for him as well. So it was all, and I was working for him.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Everybody's mucking in. What

Lisa Aldridge:

yeah, it was doing really well. And then, um, it was the 30th of November, um, 2013. We were sat on the sofa on the Saturday night watching telly. And he said, I think I'm going to buy a new car. So I said, all right. I'd had some inheritance money from my great aunt and uncle. And, um. Gavin was car obsessed and, uh, land drivers were his thing. So, we'd got a Discovery and he'd seen this, um, new Discovery that he wanted to buy. So, we had a look at it. The best thing about it was that it had a heated steering wheel. I said, yeah, okay, you can buy one.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

colour was it?

Lisa Aldridge:

Boom. I said, you can buy the car, but don't tell me that we haven't got any money and that we can't go and spend money in Tesco's buying the food we like and that sort of thing. You're going to spend that money on the car. So he said, okay, I'll take the car, the Discovery we had, I'll take it to the office tomorrow and do a couple of little bits on it before I sell it. Yeah, okay. So, the Sunday morning, it was the 1st of December, um, he got up and he left for the office, it must have been about half twelve, one o'clock, something like that, and we had lunch before we, before he went, and, um, we had toasted wraps, I know this is really random, and I made him one. And he ate it, and I made him another one. And he said to me, I only asked for one. So I was like, oh well, take it with you, because you'll probably be hungry. So as he went out the door, I gave him the other wrap, and he laughed at me. And he said, I'll see you later. I said, don't be late, because you're always late. Terrible timekeeper. So he laughed, got in the car, and off he went. The girls went out, um, with Gaz's mum and dad to, um, St John Carol concert. Um, in Ashford. And Gav's brother and his other half. And I went shopping with my sister and my mum. And then, um, Gav's best mate, Pete, who was also another guy from St John that we knew. He, um, he used to store his caravan at Gav's unit. We stored ours there as well. And, uh, he said to me, I'm going to pop down the office and, um, Get my caravan, sort my caravan out for the winter as Gav's down there. So I said, Oh, yeah, right. No worries. This was via text message. Anyway, about, um, I don't know, three o'clock, half past three, we were getting back in the car from town and my sister was driving and her phone rang. So my mum got her phone out of her bag and she said, Oh, it's the office. And I thought, Oh, it's Gavin. Phoning my mum and my sister to say, Can you get this for Lisa for Christmas? As he usually did. And she answered the phone and she went, Oh, hello Pete. And I thought, why's Pete phoning from the office phone? That's very odd. And then he said, um, I heard my mum say, Yeah, we're with Lisa. And my whole body went on edge. He said, An accident? Yeah, okay. Okay, we'll come to the office. And she put the phone down. So I said, what do you mean an accident? So she said, I dunno, Pete didn't say anything, just said we need to go to the office. So my medical brain went, why aren't we going to a hospital? Why are we going to the office? And so my sister then said, I dunno how to get to the office. So I'm trying to give her instructions while my brain's going on overtime.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Lisa Aldridge:

Anyway, we go on the a, I dunno if you know the A 28 out Rushford towards

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I mean, I do, but

Lisa Aldridge:

going down the eight and she's going rather fast. And there's a police car in front of us on blues. So I said to Andrew, don't get arrested. We need to get to the office. So I said, right. About another hundred yards down this road, turn left, and the police car put his indicator on. So I said, follow that police car. And sure enough, the police car was going to the office. So anyway, we got to the office, and I've never seen so many blue lights in my life. Police cars, fire engines, ambulances. There's, it was just. Something, well, that I don't want to remember really. Anyway, Pete came out of the office with a policewoman and he said, Oh, this is Lisa Gavin's wife. And my heart just sunk. And she said, Okay, come with me. We've got in the back of this ambulance. And, um, she said to me, There's been an accident. So I said, Yeah, I know. Well, my heart's going now, telling me. And, um, she said, The car's fallen on Gavin. So I said, okay, so I screamed, my mum was with me and I screamed and I said, I need to see him. And she said, you can't see him. So I said, but I need to see him. So she said, you can't, you need to be calm. So immediately I just switched everything off. I said, yeah, I'm perfectly calm, let me see him. So then the doctor, um, I didn't realize the air ambulance had landed in one of the fields locally and the air ambulance crew were there. And the doctor from the air ambulance came in the ambulance to speak to me. She was lovely. And, um, she said to me, the team were working on Gavin at the moment. So I said, okay. I said, is he going to die? So she said, I don't know at the moment. So I said, okay. So she said, well, I said, can I see him? So she said, yeah, you can see him. So my mum came with me and the crew were there and everything. You can imagine all the stuff was out. They were working on him. And I just held his hand and said to him, you can't go, we need you. And, um, and then I had to go because they were trying to do different things. So I went back in the office and sat there and then about five minutes, or I don't know, it might've been five minutes, might've been half hour, I've no idea,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

might have been five hours, Lisa.

Lisa Aldridge:

came out and said to me, there's nothing else we can do. And, uh, I just said, so he's dead. And then I said to my mum, how am I going to tell the girls that dad is dead? And I don't remember a lot else after that. Um, I had, well, I stayed at the office because then I had to wait for him to be collected. The only saving grace is that, um, there's CCTV, because of the job he did, there's CCTV all over the office. So the whole accident was recorded by CCTV. So

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh my

Lisa Aldridge:

to know whether there was an inquest,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

There's no ambiguity or anything.

Lisa Aldridge:

It was on camera. My brother in law has the CCTV. I've never watched it.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Do you know, I was going to ask you and my blood was sort of going a bit cold and I was thinking, no, surely she didn't watch it, but I've heard weirder. And

Lisa Aldridge:

brother in law very switched on about such stuff. He was able to immediately download the tape and, or whatever it is, and give it to the police so that there was no, um, Yeah, so, um, I had to wait for, You know, everybody to come and do what they needed to do, the police, the, um, the actual wait for his body to be taken and all of that stuff,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

it's just even saying those words, like the kind of almost casual way we can say, you know, I just had to wait for his body to be taken. Oh my god, like, at what point did we think we'd say those words in our life? You know, especially at our age. And when you said earlier, well just this moment ago, how do I tell the girls? You know, that got my blood cold as well, because it is that immediate thought, isn't it? If you have children, how am I going to tell them? Um, who's got them at the moment? Were they at school?

Lisa Aldridge:

they were so, oh yeah, I hadn't,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

it was the

Lisa Aldridge:

so they were at the carol concert with Gavin's mum and dad. So when we got there, I said to Pete. So Pete, at this point, bless him, he's um, yeah, one of Gav's good friends that he met through St John and he's a paramedic. So he got to the office and found Gavin and called help and phoned um, 999 he's a paramedic and so said we need the fire service, we need the heart team, I need the air ambulance. Yeah, so, in, in sense of Gavin having any chance of survival, Pete was the best person to find him because, you know, and

Rosie Gill-Moss:

He knew what to do.

Lisa Aldridge:

it was, it was instant, in the game quest they said it was instant,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, and do you know what? That is Again, it's this weird world we inhabit, but just to know that it was instant is I mean, when, same, kind of similar situation with Ben's inquest, when they said to me they thought that he'd inhaled water and it would have been very instant. I kind of felt this Not a relief, but a sort of The thought of them struggling to breathe, you know, desperately trying to, it's, it, that, the thought of that just haunted me. Can I, can I ask Lisa, do they know what happened?

Lisa Aldridge:

Um, so the, um, At the inquest, um, I didn't want to go to the inquest, but Pete was called as a witness.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Right.

Lisa Aldridge:

Because Pete had to go, I felt like I should go to support him because he's such a good support. And, um, at the inquest they said it, um, it was accidental death. And my dad is a mechanic by trade. So my dad stood up in the inquest and said, can I ask what happened to the axles that the, um, the car was on? And apparently the axles that it was on weren't strong enough to hold it, so they'd collapsed and that's why it had fallen on him. But

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And discoveries aren't exactly small, are they?

Lisa Aldridge:

I had to, um, show all his business bank accounts and, um. You know, it's like when the

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Why? To show that he hadn't

Lisa Aldridge:

they weren't sure if it was suicide.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It's a complicated way to do it.

Lisa Aldridge:

Yeah, I know. So, but obviously, you know, it's it happens, doesn't it?

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, oh gosh.

Lisa Aldridge:

I could show that, you know, there was no. Yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And that's always a relief as well.

Lisa Aldridge:

and having listened to a lot of podcasts, I know there's lots of things that people have found out.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yes, I'm forever grateful that I never found out that he wasn't the man I thought he was. So, you're there. Your husband's dead. You know, the worst possible thing that you think can happen has happened. Um. And you've got to, you've got to tell those three little girls. And you did tell me their ages. Let me just, 7, 9 and 8 were they?

Lisa Aldridge:

9.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I was close, I was close. That saved me turning back pages and making loads of noise there. Um, and so that's, I mean there's never a good age. But those are pretty sticky ages, aren't they? Because younger than that, and you can sort of, Justify that they will probably be okay. than that, they are mature, more mature and more able to access, you know, support and talk about their feelings, but that age, you know, they're, they're in the midst of primary school, like they're living their best life. And we talk about this a lot of how the horror of the death of a parent is used in children's books, in Disney films. And it's something that we, or most of us grow up in fear of happening. And. To see or to be aware that this is, to be in that moment when it's literally happening to your children. You feel so lost and so desperate and I'm sorry to drag you back into it because it's making me feel emotional thinking about it myself. But how on earth, how on earth did you tell them?

Lisa Aldridge:

Well, when we were at the office, I had to contact Gav's mum and dad and they were at this carol service. So there was all of us trying to find their mobile phones and

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Of course I switched off or on silent.

Lisa Aldridge:

eventually we got hold of someone else in St John that we knew would be there. And he got the message to them, because they had the girls, so they left the girls with another family that we know well from school and St. John. And, um, they came to the office. And then, um, said family stayed there with them for the rest of the St. John stuff, and then dropped them to the middle one's godmother. Which was unusual for them to go to her house and have a couple of hours of craziness. So she.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So you're keeping it kind of normal, they've got, you know, you're keeping that innocence as long as you possibly can here,

Lisa Aldridge:

Yeah, I got them a takeaway for dinner and they watched films and did all the, you know, all that stuff. And then once everything was done at the office, I contacted her and said, right, we're on our way home. Give us an hour and then, and then bring them back. So I got home and I just sat on the sofa and just repeatedly said, how do I tell them that they're never going to see him again? Anyway, they came in the door and they were full of Christmas excitement. Oh mum, you'll never guess what we've done. Oh mum, we've had the best day. We've done this, we've been there, we've put up the Christmas tree, we've had a takeaway. And I was like, yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm just about to ruin your lives.

Lisa Aldridge:

yeah. And then my, my sister was here and my nephew, um, had spent the afternoon with my dad. So my poor dad, love him, had sat at home all afternoon knowing what was going on, but had to keep

Rosie Gill-Moss:

oh

Lisa Aldridge:

my nephew's dad, um, has never been around. So Gavin was like the dad he didn't have. So I said to my sister, you'll have to bring Tobias round, you'll have to be, you'll have to tell him at the same time. So I sat these four kids down on the sofa and I said, I've got some really sad news to tell you. And he all just sort of looked at me and I said, Daddy's dead. And that noise, Roisin made that noise. Tobias Kira just looked at me and said, I don't, I don't understand what you said. And I said,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

compute, does it?

Lisa Aldridge:

I, it was, but the doctor in the um, the doctor from the air ambulance had told me, when you tell them, Say the word dead. Don't use any other word. Make sure you tell them it's dead. I was like, okay. And she said, I know it sounds harsh, but you must say that word. So that is what I said, because I didn't know what, what, how else do you,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I was the same, I was the same, I spent the night googling, how do you tell your child their parents died? Um, Not something I anticipated doing, if I'm honest. And I was much like you came across the, um, the guidance. There isn't a huge amount out there. Um, I'm hoping I might be able to contribute to that at some point, but the guidance is that to use the D word, you know, not to, and because Ben was missing, I really had to decide whether to use it because. There was a glimmer of hope but I also knew there wasn't and I sort of thought okay well best scenario is that I'm wrong and that I've probably given them a little bit of childhood trauma where they thought that I was dead for a while but I would prefer that than to give them the hope and by saying things especially to small children like they've gone to sleep or they've passed away or they've gone to be with the dog or Using euphemisms around death because we're not very good at using the word dead and death and talking about dying. Um, but actually children need as much factual information as possible, which can be really difficult because often you don't know. Um, and your heart is breaking and you know that you're breaking your children's hearts. And as a mother, all you want to do is protect your children from harm in any way you can. And suddenly it's taken out of your control. And I just think it's one of the most terrifying things as a parent that you can experience is the knowledge that you are about to hurt your children, you know, not physically, but emotionally. And it's going to be a damage that's going to last a long time.

Lisa Aldridge:

Yeah. It was horrendous. I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And did you, did you access holding on, letting go for them?

Lisa Aldridge:

say, I told them, um, I told them that Sunday evening and, um, Um, Yeah, Roisin and Tobias had questions. Um, Ashlyn and Kira didn't, they did the normal child thing. Yeah, were sad and

Rosie Gill-Moss:

play.

Lisa Aldridge:

whatever else they were doing, yeah. Um, and the Monday, they should have gone to school. I kept them off school and I went into school and spoke to school. And, um, school said they would do everything they could to support them. You know, whatever they needed. Um, and then on the, on the Tuesday I took them into school. The headteacher said I could take them in late, pick them up early to

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yes, I did the same thing.

Lisa Aldridge:

late. And then, um, and then I decided to see where I go, what I do. And, yeah, found, uh, Winston's Wish. And then, um, held in on letting go. So I contacted Holding On Letting Go and they said they can't do any support for six months because they knew children need time to, to process it, so nothing

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, okay, so not because they were fully booked, but because they believe a six month process. I suppose that makes sense,

Lisa Aldridge:

Yeah. And I thought, well, that's ridiculous. They need help now. And contacted

Rosie Gill-Moss:

As you do, yeah.

Lisa Aldridge:

they told me six months. And then everything I read online after that was six months. I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Okay, alright then, fine.

Lisa Aldridge:

okay, they've got

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It's funny, isn't it, because some people just go straight into therapy, and other people come to it later, and it's the same for children as well. Um, I was, I was just kind of point blank refused, um, and But my oldest son had therapy from quite early on because he struggled quite a lot. Obviously he was the oldest one. Um, and we sort of, they dip in and out now. We sort of, if we feel that they need a bit of extra support, we will find it. But, um, I'm a total convert to it. And particularly doing the job I do now, I have to go. It's almost like a therapist has to have a therapist. You know, you've got to go somewhere to talk about your own stuff. Um. And we're school supported, did you actually get good support? I'm really pleased to hear that.

Lisa Aldridge:

birthday was on the Tuesday.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, shut up.

Lisa Aldridge:

So, this was, that last piece of my heart that was still stuck together, broke that Tuesday morning when she came downstairs and I said, Happy Birthday, and she went, Oh, I'd forgotten it was my birthday.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, the poor little love.

Lisa Aldridge:

I thought ten, and you can't remember it's your birthday, everyone wants to be ten, because they want to be double digits.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

it's a good birthday, ten, isn't it? Oh, Lisa, that's broken my heart as well. Poor Roshi.

Lisa Aldridge:

Oh, it was horrendous. Anyway, um, so she opened her presents and we went through the motions like you do. Um, and, uh, we'd planned a party for the Saturday, for the following Saturday. So, um, everyone sort of rallied around to make this party happen. And her teacher from school, who was a friend of mine, and Ashlyn's teacher from school, who's also a friend of mine, they both came to the party. So that they could,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Support.

Lisa Aldridge:

just got, yeah, but they thought that the kids would react to them being there. And Roisin would feel a bit special because the teachers

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, what a lovely gesture. That's so

Lisa Aldridge:

really good.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I had Monty's birthday a month after Ben died. I mean, it wasn't quite as close as yours, but it was, I can remember somehow pulling this Harry Potter party together in the hall and having an entertainer. And she's sort of showing them how to do water bombs, and I'm in the kitchen just sort of staring out of the window. Thinking. How am I going to do this? How am I going to do this? How am I going to do this? Because you've got to sing Happy Birthday and, um, Hector's sort of hiding under a table because he doesn't want to talk to anybody. I mean, Jesus. You look back and you think, how on earth did we do it?

Lisa Aldridge:

Yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

But you do. You keep fucking going.

Lisa Aldridge:

Um, yeah, then, um, because we had to wait for the, um, coroner, um, for the, um, post mortem. We couldn't have the funeral until the 20th of December, which was the last day of school term. So, um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Nice and festive for you.

Lisa Aldridge:

yeah, they were supposed to have their Christmas parties at school. So the headteacher, who'd been absolutely amazing, he, um, he spoke to me and said, Obviously the girls won't be in school that day, and some of the staff would like to attend. So I said, yeah, that's fine. And he said, so we're going to make the Christmas parties on the Thursday so the girls don't miss out. And I was like And to this day, when Kira left St Simon's, I wrote a card to the headteacher, and I said, that little gesture will stay with me

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, it does. It absolutely does. It's those kindnesses in the darkest moments of your life. And they do really stick with you.

Lisa Aldridge:

Yeah, and like, um, they had the, Kira was doing a nativity, and um, they let me go in and watch the, um, dress rehearsal, so I didn't have to sit with all the other parents, because Kira had a solo

Rosie Gill-Moss:

there's tears, right?

Lisa Aldridge:

loved it the whole time, yeah. Um, yeah, it was just little things like that, that school did, that were,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It is the little acts of kindness. Because nobody can take away your pain. Nobody can fix it for you. Nobody can bring Gavin back or make, you know, make sure that your children are good. kept in a bubble, but what people can do, and I think sometimes people feel overwhelmed. They don't know what to do, but it is the acts of kindness. It's the person that just leaves a meal on your doorstep and just doesn't say anything. Or, you know, I had a friend, he was my best friend at primary school, uh, secondary school, sorry. And he's moved to America and he wrote me a card, a handwritten card and posted it. And I don't know why, but that meant so much. That, because to sit with and put pen to paper felt so much more intimate. And Yeah, I mean, I've talked before about, you know, the soft play in Fabsham giving me a year's free soft play, which just meant that when I was struggling financially, I knew that there was something, you know, the weather was rubbish. There was somewhere I could go and my kids could go and have fun and I could have a hot cup of tea. Yeah, I might cry into it, but it was hot. And so you obviously had a fairly challenging Christmas. I mean, yeah.

Lisa Aldridge:

Yeah, it kind of happened around me, really. Actually, one of the girls I worked with, um, who, We've only been good friends probably six months and her husband and Gavin had only met once. The four of us had been out and we got told off. We went to the theatre and we got told off for making too much noise in the theatre. So that's how well, you know, the four of us got on. And, um, my sister phoned Sam when I was We were at the office and said, you need to come. Someone needs to come and sort Lisa out. Just, you know, you need your mate. And she came and then the week after, um, Mark, her husband, appeared on my doorstep and said, um, I've come to pick the girls up. He said, I'm going to take them out for lunch. So I was like, right. He said, then we're going to go and buy a Christmas tree. So I was like, oh, okay. So he took the three of them off and they went and chose this huge Christmas tree. And then he brought it back to my house, set it all up, went up in the loft, got all the Christmas decorations and helped the girls set it up. And if it hadn't have been for Mark that day, we wouldn't have had a Christmas tree because I'm not sure I'd have bothered. And then he did.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

though, is such a, is such an act of kindness. I, I, the first Christmas I was like, I'm not bothering, we're not having a treat. And then about, I don't know. Towards the middle of December, what the children really wanted one, and my car was in repairs and I don't know, do you know, um, Macnaid's in Faversham, the farm shop? Yeah, so I dragged one home from there because it was the closest place. I was paid about three times as much for the Poncey farm shop version, but I couldn't, I didn't have a car. And it was just, I can just remember just putting the decorations on and just thinking, what am I doing? Like what? But you go through the motions and actually. Trying to hold on to some degree of normality for kids is important, even when it is that close to the death of a parent. I hope someone else cooked.

Lisa Aldridge:

Uh, yeah, it all, it all

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It happened around you.

Lisa Aldridge:

The in laws, mum and dad, yeah, everybody. They all just,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And I struggled going into a new year without Ben. I felt that I was leaving him behind. And of course you had to cross that particular Rubicon very quickly. So, you, you lost, so by January, you can, you would say to people, my husband died last year. But you were only a month ago, and it, I don't know if you felt the same way, but I found leaving them in a previous year, not so much now, but initially quite hard.

Lisa Aldridge:

I don't think I noticed.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Like, just, just survival.

Lisa Aldridge:

yeah, I don't even know my own name, let alone what year it is. I think the following year, when we went into 2015, I suddenly thought, oh, hang on a minute, this is a new year and he's not here. And then I thought, oh, hang on, it wasn't here last year either. But I don't, in my head.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It was probably too soon.

Lisa Aldridge:

It was too soon to acknowledge it. Yeah. So,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

How did the girls kind of manage in the aftermath, and how did you manage?

Lisa Aldridge:

um, day to day they were, they were okay. Um, they kept going. Um, Roisin struggled the most. They had, um, yeah, they had some input from school. Um, they had a counsellor in school and she did, um, like one to one with them. But, um, on a Like a play therapy, kind of, giving them the option to chat. Um, which, the younger two loved the fact that they got a half hour out of the classroom. I'm not really sure that there was anything beneficial, but apart from a bit of one to one time, which they enjoyed.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

you'll just do anything, won't you, at this point? Any help that's offered, yes please.

Lisa Aldridge:

Um, Roisin didn't particularly like the lady but found it quite useful I think to have a bit of time out to reset herself before having to go back and keep herself on track. She was fine at school but harder work at home. I think I've got to keep it together at school and then,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, that's very common.

Lisa Aldridge:

yeah, and then harder at home.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And particularly being nine, you're sort of tipping into that sort of preteen, keeping up the, keeping up appearances, not perhaps wanting to show weakness. And, you know, we hear about children getting bullied at school because their parent died, which says a lot to me about the child that's doing the bullying. But the idea that anybody would be cruel to somebody that had suffered such cruelty already. breaks my heart. And, um, but you can see why they would kind of have to, uh, restraint, you know, keep their emotions in check in school. But then what you get at home can feel like a ticking time bomb sometimes because it doesn't just come out in tears, does it? It comes out in anger and frustration. And, oh, excuse me, sorry. I won't reveal which one, but you know, one of them said to me, I wish that you'd died instead of dad once in the middle of an argument to which I think my response was. So do I, because I'm the one left here picking up the shit. And I don't mean that, of course I don't, I'm glad I'm here. I'm glad I'm here and able to support them. But in that moment, I do remember feeling quite jealous of him because I'm there with a, you know, mountain of paperwork and complications and children that needed me, and I just wanted it to just. Stop for a minute. Just stop, just the merry go round just stop. Um, and unfortunately my way of making that merry go round stop was to hit the bottle. And I spent, you know, most of my early grieving years, you know, masking with alcohol and makeup and a smile. And you put on this front for the rest of the world, but you know, it's like the clown, isn't it, the crying clown. Did you go back to work?

Lisa Aldridge:

So, I had eight months off work. So, before, um, before Gavin died, going back to that conversation about supporting each other to do something, I was working in pharmacy at the hospital and um, I'd got fed up of it. Um, it was getting a bit political and I wanted to change. And I thought about doing my nursing. So, Gavin's business was going well. So, he said, fine.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

See, you flipped.

Lisa Aldridge:

job, take the nursing job, and then do training. So I did, and then I started my training in September 2012, and then my dad was taken ill. And so I couldn't manage working full time, being at uni, and my dad not being well. So, and my boss said, leave you, take a year out of uni and go back next September. So I did, thankfully my dad recovered and all was well. And then so I went back in the September before Gavin died in the December, at which point I thought, maybe I'm never meant to do this

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, maybe I'm jinxed.

Lisa Aldridge:

Yeah. And stopped. So, um, I took eight months off work. Um, yeah, and then went back part time. My manager has been amazing. I was able to work school shifts on the ward, and then I was working one night shift and a couple of school shifts. So I didn't.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Spend your entire wages on childcare.

Lisa Aldridge:

The year Gavin died I was supposed to work Christmas Day. Um, obviously I didn't because I was off work. And I haven't worked Christmas Day since because my boss says that's not fair. I mean, Kira's 16 now, the youngest one. But she says it's not right that they shouldn't have mum or dad at home on Christmas Day.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Again, this has given me all the ghost bumps. This is, this is lovely. Um, and actually Lisa, it probably says more about you than you realize that everybody was so kind and willing to help you because you do tend to reap what you sow. So the kindness and goodness that you will have put out into the world is why people helped you. And you've continued to put out kindness and goodness into the world because you're, you're a, you're a big part of way, aren't you? Well, when I joined, I,

Lisa Aldridge:

yes, I did do quite a lot for away. Yeah, I was area contact for a few years and an ambassador for 18 months, two

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, it's, it's, I, I almost feel a bit of guilt, I'm no longer a member, but I felt that I had taken what I needed, given back enough of what I felt I could, you know, the grief share prospect of helping others through, um, and I left, So, I am, and John is as well, you know, a huge advocate of it, and we're really big fans and supporters, and if we're ever in a position that we can make charitable donations, of course we will. But, um, I just felt for me It had served its purpose and I have my own network set up, but when you are, particularly in those early days, it is the first place I point people to. And you sort of log in, don't you, and look at it and go, Oh my God, it's so sad in here. And there'll be people that are like, Oh, my husband died 17 years ago and I still can't get out of bed in the morning. And you're thinking, Oh my God, is this what my life is going to look like? But then you meet the people that make the choice and the choice is the one that you make to live. To continue to live your life and to give yourself and your kids the best of best life and the most opportunities and The people that make that choice tend to be the ones that go on and live fulfilling and happy lives Because you are allowed to you you you're still here and that does rather neatly Bring me into the fact that you've remarried. So tell us a little bit about your new relationship. How you met

Lisa Aldridge:

So, um, I was about, I dunno, just over three years in and lonely. That's the world.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah,

Lisa Aldridge:

I mean, Gavin worked away a lot and if he worked away over, if he was away over a weekend, I'd pack up the girls and I, we'd go stay at my mom's house.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Sid

Lisa Aldridge:

Um, so it was inevitable really that I wasn't going to be on my own forever. Um, Gavin's dad said to me probably about six months after Gavin died. Um, but if you meet somebody else, that'd be really good. And we'll be, we'll support you. And I was like, Oh, thanks. That's, that's great thinking. Not a chance. Never going to

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, never gonna happen.

Lisa Aldridge:

And, um, so I did the dreaded online dating and I spoke to a few people, a few nice people, had a few chats and, um, yeah, it was nice to be able to talk to adults that weren't talking about people that have died.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And also, there is a very, very real physical and emotional need. Um, particularly if you have been very happy in your relationship. And then all of that intimacy is taken away from you. And you have a lot of You don't have the anger that you may have or the resentment from a divorce or separation. You just have a lot of love and, um, I think that makes us, it can make us vulnerable, but I think it makes us really loving partners.

Lisa Aldridge:

I agree. Um, so I, um, I started talking to Chris, um, end of January 2017. And, um, we were just chatting about, you know, the weather and what we've done at the weekend, you know, nothing. And, um, and he was like, Oh, do you want to meet up? And I was like, No.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Step too far, step too far.

Lisa Aldridge:

It was like, Oh, so I said, No, I just want somebody I can chat to. And, you know, maybe meet up later in the day, but not. I want to get to know somebody

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Lisa Aldridge:

He was like, oh, my mum lives in Maidstone. He was living in the New Forest at the time. And he's like, my mum lives in Maidstone, so I could come and see my mum and we could meet up. And I was like, no, I don't, I don't think so. It's too early. And he was like, well, we could just meet for a coffee, or we could take the dog for a walk. And I was like, well, he's keen.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah!

Lisa Aldridge:

And there wasn't anything to dislike about him. So I was like, okay, let's meet up for it. I said, okay, we'll meet up and take the dog for a walk. And on the theory, because I'd read all these horror stories, you know, about people that meet people online and then there's something else. And so I was like, okay, I'll take the dog with me. If he tries to attack me, the dog will attack him. So

Rosie Gill-Moss:

But actually, it is really scary going back out into the dating world when you've been with somebody for so long. You know, I met Ben when I was at university. Tinder wasn't a thing.

Lisa Aldridge:

I told my mum that I was going to take the dog for a walk with this guy that I'd been talking to online and I got this big lecture about be safe, don't. I said, Mum, I'm only going to the field with the dog. He doesn't know where he's going. I do. I've got the dog. I'll be fine. Okay, well text me when you're home. Yeah, I will. So we took the dog for a walk and then I was like, now what do I do? He was, we had a chat, he was quite nice. And then I thought, if I take him back to my house, he'll know where I live. If he's some sort of stalker, I'm in trouble.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

You are so paranoid, aren't you? In this moment.

Lisa Aldridge:

And then I thought, oh, I don't know, he's, yeah, he seems alright. So anyway, we went back to my house. And then, um, He booked somewhere for lunch on the theory that he might be able to take me for lunch. So,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Optimistic. I like his style.

Lisa Aldridge:

I texted my mum and I said, all is well, we're going for lunch. So I told her where we were going. So we went for lunch and, um, we were the only people in the pub. And so we felt like everyone was, all the staff were watching us as we had this really awkward

Rosie Gill-Moss:

First date. Ugh.

Lisa Aldridge:

It was very nice. He paid the bill. We got back in the car and I gave him a kiss to say thank you. And then he was like, Oh, Oh, you really like me then. I was just being nice to say, thank you. I've had a nice day. Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

He's like, what will I get if I buy her dinner? How

Lisa Aldridge:

um, to Livingston and then he texted me like all night and then the following day he was texting me and he's like we've got to meet up again and I was like yeah it'd be nice to meet up again but I don't know how it's going to work with the girls and anyway um fast forward about six months we'd met up a few times and then um I introduced him to the girls

Rosie Gill-Moss:

did that go? And

Lisa Aldridge:

was 13 at this point. I thought she was going to have a lot to say. And I'd kind of been prepping them a bit about, you know, what if I met someone else? What if, um, what would you think about that? They wouldn't replace your dad. They just you know, be a new companion for me, because, you know, one day you're all going to be adults and you're all going to go and they

Rosie Gill-Moss:

That's the thing. They're going to leave.

Lisa Aldridge:

and actually, I think hero were really funny because they said to me, um, well, we'll write you a list of things that a new person has to

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Amazing. Do you have this list?

Lisa Aldridge:

So they wrote me this letter. And um, if he had children, they had to be younger than them. Um, he wasn't allowed to spoil his children. Um, he had to have nice clothes. He had to have a car. Um, I can't remember what the other things were. He wasn't allowed to be really old. I was about

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I mean, they're covering a lot of the important stuff. I mean, a lot of these things were on my tick list, you know?

Lisa Aldridge:

it was, yeah, he did tick every, and when he came round the first time when they met him, they were asking him, and he was like, yeah, yeah. So, he's got three children, um, a daughter who's the same school year as Kira, but she's, Kira's born in the September, and Ava's the July baby.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

All right. So she just missed. So she is technically younger. That's good.

Lisa Aldridge:

Yeah, and then, um, Harry and Freddie, who are now 13 and 10.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So that's a lot of kids. Um, do you get together much as a, as a family of eight?

Lisa Aldridge:

yeah, we, uh, it was tricky.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It's tricky. I bet it is. I bet it is. You need a massive dining table. Um. Cozy.

Lisa Aldridge:

kids live with their mum, and they come to us every other weekend, but they live down in Southampton with their mum. Um, but during, uh, lockdown, they were here a week at a time. And, uh, I still had a three bedroom house at that point. Cozy was the word. So, yeah, we figured by the end of, um, COVID, the fact that we survived that in a three bedroom house with eight of us, we could survive anything.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

John and I felt after that awful, awful COVID. Was, um, A, he literally survived it. And B, as a unit, we had survived it. And I just sort of thought, well, you know, we're, we're, we're, we're in it now, aren't we? You know, we could, we were still smiling at the end of all of that horror. So you, there's got to be something there, right?

Lisa Aldridge:

So Chris moved in when we went into lockdown. He was renting a house in the road that I live in. He was renting and, um, he's self employed. So, um, he didn't do very well financially from Boris's

Rosie Gill-Moss:

No.

Lisa Aldridge:

Um, so when his lease was up on his house, he moved in, which was quite handy, really, because it saved having to have any conversations about when he was going to move in. Um, it was not the financial

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I just, I just moved in, I just packed my stuff and moved in.

Lisa Aldridge:

Otherwise he'd have been there on his own, so that made sense for him to move in. Um, yeah, so then, um, now let me think. When did he, 2019? You proposed? Yes, we went to London on, in February, which was like two years from the time we first met. And, um, he bought me afternoon tea in the Shard and, uh, he proposed at the top of the Shard.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Wow, that's quite

Lisa Aldridge:

the conversation. Yeah. So then I was like, um, because I had no idea it was

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, really?

Lisa Aldridge:

No. And so I was a bit shocked. So I said yes, but I said that I need to talk to the girls first because I wasn't happy to marry him unless the girls were happy for me to marry him. And he was a bit, oh, okay. So I spoke to the girls, they were a bit emotional. Um, but then they were like, yeah, okay, we like him, so, so that's okay.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

But I completely agree with that. I mean, it's quite harsh at the proposal point, but we had that conversation and our family got kind of Much like yours, we got pushed together much quicker due to COVID. But I can remember, you know, John and I sort of sitting down and saying, okay, these are real feelings. This is not just a French friends with benefits situation. What are we going to do? Um, and initially we didn't tell the children. We just thought, let's see where this goes. Cause I was real quite young. Um, and then we got caught having a little snog in Tenerife and Monty found out. And to be honest, my kids were pretty fine with it. Um, but I think that. They were so young and I think because they've known him as a sort of friend figure because we've done a few little days out and things. Um, but yeah, it is difficult. It is introducing another partner into your children's life is difficult. And we made it very clear from the beginning that if it wasn't going to work for the kids, it wasn't going to work for us. And that's a really hard decision to make because you've just been offered another chance at love. And. Because we are, most mothers or fathers are, are selfless by nature in terms of their children, um, that you would turn down that happiness for them, with the knowledge that eventually they're going to bugger off to university or work, and so the fact that they did react well is, is obviously amazing, um, but I do sympathize with you because I think if I were to be, let's say that John had never existed and I was sort of, looking to be dating now at the age my children are, I think it would be hugely problematic. I don't, I think they would struggle, but fingers crossed. I'm out of that cesspool. Um, and they all get on now, do they? Do the kids all get

Lisa Aldridge:

Well, um, at first I thought Chris's daughter would get on really well with the girls having, you know, a female environment and it was really tricky. And, um, but the last, so, um, after COVID we had the house extended. Um, so we now got five bedrooms.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Much better. That's

Lisa Aldridge:

so, um, my two oldest have got their own rooms, the boys share a room, and Kira and Ava share a room, and they've become really close. Most nights, I talk to Kira and she's like, oh, I'm on FaceTime to Ava. I'm like, oh, okay, so they're having a

Rosie Gill-Moss:

have the same Holly and Hector, I just, we still laugh now about when Holly would just absolutely go ballistic when, if they popped in for tea after school one day or something and then she had to go home. But actually when her and Hector were in the same class at school, um, they weren't as close at home. But what I've noticed, and it's only really recent, is that since he's gone to a different school, they've been kind of playing a lot more. And I actually walked into, um, I've got like a craft table set up in my boot room. Seriously, don't judge me. It's literally a table covered in glitter. And, um, they were sat there, you know, drawing together. And I thought, oh, this is nice. And it's, yeah, they don't, I mean, obviously mine are younger, but they, They don't use the word step ever. But your situation is different because they still have a mum, obviously. Do you get on?

Lisa Aldridge:

Yeah, um We haven't met. We

Rosie Gill-Moss:

you not?!

Lisa Aldridge:

we haven't.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

how funny! And when did you get married? Was it

Lisa Aldridge:

We used to be at the door, but, yeah, I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And you got married last year, didn't you?

Lisa Aldridge:

Monday, 5th

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Was it this year? Why did I think it was a winter wedding? God, my brain. So you got married in April and all the children attended? I mean, yeah, I've seen pictures. You looked absolutely beautiful. It looked like the most, a day filled with love and joy and happiness.

Lisa Aldridge:

It was a really nice day and, um, what was really nice is I struggled, no I didn't struggle, Ava struggled to build a relationship with me. I think because her mum is still there. She felt like if she had a relationship with me, it would work.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

portraying her.

Lisa Aldridge:

Absolutely. And then, um, when I organised, oh I didn't organise my hen do, my best friend organised my hen do to be at my house so the girls could be involved.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

nice.

Lisa Aldridge:

and it wasn't her weekend to be at our house. So she asked her mum if she would bring her so she could come to my hen house. And I thought that was a massive step in

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I agree.

Lisa Aldridge:

in our relationship. So, yeah, that was really good. And, um, the night before the wedding, the, um, me and the four girls were here and we had, you know, a great laugh, a couple of drinks and, you know, it was really nice. And the day of the wedding, the four girls were like thick as thieves. It was really nice.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

that's, that's really kind of, you can probably, you can see the massive smile on my face because it is lending a family is really, really difficult. And people don't give step parents enough kudos. And I don't think of myself as a step parent, but I had to learn to parent a six year old girl who'd lost her mom very, very quickly. And I had to do it under a lot of pressure when lockdown happened. And I don't regret it for a second because she's, you know, she is now my daughter, but it. It came with, with challenges because you, you're having to become a figure of authority in some circumstances. I'm less so when they're older, I imagine. Um, I also wanted to just ask how Chris, um, deals with the fact that there's an extra man in your, in your, in your life or in your world.

Lisa Aldridge:

In those early days when we were talking, I did say to him, this isn't any normal relationship. I'm very complicated. I've got huge bags to bring with me. He was like, yeah, yeah, that's fine. That's fine. And I was like, yeah, but do you really understand? You know, there's people all over the house. The girls talk about him constantly. My mum and dad talk about him constantly. It's just like, he's still here, he's still spoken about. And, um, and Chris was like, yeah, yeah, that's fine, it's fine. And I was like, I get it, if, if it's too much. And, you're perfectly within your rights to say, no, I can't manage that.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

But it's, you know, speak now or forever hold your peace kind of thing.

Lisa Aldridge:

Yeah, absolutely. And I did say to him, at one stage, we were talking about, um, you know, previous lives, as it were. And I said to him, at the end of the day, your ex wife is more of a risk to our relationship, because if at some point you decided you wanted to go back to her, you can. And he was like, I wouldn't. I was like, yeah, well, Gavin's dead, so I don't have that

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I haven't got that choice. No, but then I suppose for them, they've left a relationship voluntarily. It's broken down for whatever reason. Whereas you're still in love with that person. That died on that day, um, it was, I think it was Laurie, but I don't want to misquote one of my guests, um, sort of maybe look at it differently. And they said that the romantic love dies. So, because you can't be romantically in love with somebody who's not alive, but the, but the real, you know, but the love, the love that that stays that stays and I. still cry, you know, something will set me off and I'll have a little ball. You know, one of my sons said he felt like he didn't deserve to grieve because he didn't know his dad well enough and I just, oh, it was like a dagger in the heart, you know? But I'm really pleased that Chris is supportive and presumably you have lots of pictures up and, and, and things because we do and people Sometimes we're a bit taken aback. I've got a corridor, a very gloomy corridor. So I filled it with those stick on framed pictures. I can't remember what they're called. And it's pictures, there's pictures of Sarah as a kid. There's pictures of Ben as a kid. There's pictures of John and Sarah. It just means that they know they haven't been forgotten. Because I think that is our greatest fear, as humans, is being forgotten. And for children, they want you to be happy. But they don't want you to forget their dad. So

Lisa Aldridge:

We, um, sorry, go on.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

No, no, no, you go.

Lisa Aldridge:

Um, I was just going to say that on the 1st of December, the girls, um, we put our Christmas tree up on that day now. We never used to until after Roisin's birthday, but now it's become that day is our Christmas tree put up and then we have a takeaway curry because that was Gavin's favourite food. So that's like our, this is a, this is a shit day, but we're going to make it

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I love that. I really like this because we're struggling at the moment with what to do with the anniversaries because We tend not to make a huge fuss about the death day because why would you want to pull yourself back there? And we thought perhaps on their birthdays we might go out for a meal and sort of celebrate the time we had. But, um, I think this putting up the Christmas tree on the first of December is just the most lovely way to Sort of celebrate him and do something nice on a shit day and actually I think Sarah's sister, because Sarah died on the 24th or 25th of November and I have a feeling last year they decorated their house because Sarah loved Christmas so that was their sort of way of celebrating. I refuse to put any Christmas decorations up for the first of December, so I won't join them. Sorry Sarah. Although I have ordered my Christmas tree.

Lisa Aldridge:

We, um, I don't know if I told you that, um, Gavin's ashes are scattered in the sea.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh are they!

Lisa Aldridge:

Gavin was a, um, a kayak instructor and, um, he was a big supporter of the RNLI and wherever we went on holiday, we used to, we had a touring caravan, so we used to go around the UK quite a lot. Um, if they, if we were on the coast and they had a lifeboat station, we used to have to go and have a look and the girls and I would tropes along. Oh yeah, it's another lifeboat, lovely. Gavin would be telling us about all the different parts of it and why it's used and. Yeah, yeah, very good. And so, um, yeah, so I, we'd never had a conversation about whether he wanted to be buried or cremated or anything. So I had him cremated and then I initially thought, oh, I'll put him in the sea. And, um, our family day out, if we were at a loose end, it'd be like, well, let's get in the car,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, seaside.

Lisa Aldridge:

the girls go on the rides and we'd have fish and chips and an ice cream. Going to the amusements for a couple of hours and it was, yeah, nice day out. That was our go to place. So I thought, well, that makes sense for that thing to go there. And then I was like, no, that's a hasty decision. But then on his birthday, which is 13th of June, um, I took the girls out of school for the day, like 2014, and we went and it was scorching. We had the beach to ourselves and into the sea we went. And I said to the girls then, Are we putting daddy in the sea? Because when you're older, I don't think you'd have to go and find this place. Where you have to go, where you feel you have to go. To see him. Wherever you are, if you're near the sea, you're with your dad. And, um, Rosaline's at uni now, down in, um, Chichester. But she's got a flat in Bognor. So she loves the fact that she's by the sea.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Do you know that my eyes have just filled up? Because No, it's

Lisa Aldridge:

the sea, Rose.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

it's that, sorry, it's that lovely thought that, um, wherever you're near the sea, you're near them. And I like that, because the sea, I would have had been, you know, had he died in a less ridiculous manner, I would have had his ashes or his body put into the sea. Because That was his second favourite place. Um, but I've never really thought about that, that when you're near water, you're near them. And I love that. And actually Sarah's ashes are scattered in the sea at Whitby because that was one of her favourite places. And John wanted Holly to be able to go back in the future and go to Whitby, you know, which is quite a cool place to go and, you know, be able to tell people this is my mum's special place. It's where we scatter her ashes. Um, I didn't have any, so I've got a stone at a church in Herne Hill in Kent and, um, I. I don't go, if I'm honest. The kids school used to be next door to it, and I feel a bit guilty about it, but I feel like he's not there. Um, there's some stuff that we buried, like a memory box, but, you know, he's not there. He's not in that hole in the ground. He wouldn't be even if there was a body there. So, I like this idea that they And I'm not particularly spiritual, I don't believe in afterlife necessarily, but I do like, I do believe that the energy that they leave behind sticks around and, and that's our, and that's our job to carry it. Well. I have to say, Lisa, even, you know, having watched you personally go through the journey because you're, you know, five, four and a half years further on than me, um, and you, you, you were like the grief sherpa and I was able to sort of model grief and, and, and the way that you and others like you spoke openly about your grief meant that. You don't feel so alone and this is what we're doing here, we're giving this voice to people so that they can listen and think, oh, you know, there'll be somebody that this has happened to, and they think they're the only person, you know, and whilst our stories may not be identical, we, we carry a thread is woven through every single story and it is one of. Um, low dips and highs and, but it is always a story of survival and, um, and that's what you've done. You've survived. You've, you've, you've got these kids through a decade without their dad and you've created a life that is happy and fulfilling and you didn't die with him. And I think that alone is just such a testament to humanity and, and to you.

Lisa Aldridge:

Thank you.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So, Lisa, I'm going to let you go now, but I am going to off mic arrange to meet up with you, because I don't really know why we don't do it more. Um, perhaps I'll get you guys around for dinner. And, um, and of course I hope you're keeping the 31st of August free, because that is, um, with stock, will be happening on that date. When I find out how much it's going to cost. But thank you so much for sharing your story, Lisa, and for talking to me today.

Lisa Aldridge:

No problem. Thank you for having me.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Absolute pleasure. And for everybody who's listening, if you have been affected or if you just want to drop us a message, our Instagram is Widowed underscore AF. We're on Facebook. And I have been asked by the Alive Husband to just request that you like or follow wherever you listen to the podcast because we have a very high listenerage but we aren't getting noticed very much so it makes me cringe to do it but if you could like and follow. Anyway, we will be back with you on Friday to talk about Lisa's episode and so if you have any questions for me, John or Lisa, do let us know. But for now, please take care.