Widowed AF

S2 - E2 - Stacey Heale

April 19, 2024 Rosie Gill-Moss Season 2 Episode 2
S2 - E2 - Stacey Heale
Widowed AF
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Widowed AF
S2 - E2 - Stacey Heale
Apr 19, 2024 Season 2 Episode 2
Rosie Gill-Moss

In this episode of Widowed AF, host Rosie Gill-Moss is joined by Stacey Heale, author of Now is Not the Time for Flowers, and widowed mum of two.

Stacey shares the horror of losing her husband Greg to Bowel Cancer at a young age, navigating grief while raising their two young daughters.

Rosie and Stacey hit it off immediately bonding over their shared experiences as grieving mothers, the loneliness and isolation they experienced and the loss of their identity in widowhood.

The pair discuss the transformative power of love and acceptance, while acknowledging the ever-present anxiety and brokenness that remains.

With humour, vulnerability and wisdom, Rosie and Stacey normalise the messy reality of grief. They remind listeners that happiness and sorrow can coexist, and it's possible to rebuild a life of purpose after death.



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

Don't forget to subscribe !

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Widowed AF, host Rosie Gill-Moss is joined by Stacey Heale, author of Now is Not the Time for Flowers, and widowed mum of two.

Stacey shares the horror of losing her husband Greg to Bowel Cancer at a young age, navigating grief while raising their two young daughters.

Rosie and Stacey hit it off immediately bonding over their shared experiences as grieving mothers, the loneliness and isolation they experienced and the loss of their identity in widowhood.

The pair discuss the transformative power of love and acceptance, while acknowledging the ever-present anxiety and brokenness that remains.

With humour, vulnerability and wisdom, Rosie and Stacey normalise the messy reality of grief. They remind listeners that happiness and sorrow can coexist, and it's possible to rebuild a life of purpose after death.



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

Don't forget to subscribe !

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Hello and welcome back to episode 2 of season 2 of Widowed AF. I am really excited about being able to bring you this next interview. It is an interview with Stacey Heal, who some of you will be familiar with. She's um, I guess kind of a big fish in the widowed world. And she has recently put out a book called Now is Not the Time for Flowers. Now I haven't read this at the time of interview, um, but I have since read it, and I think it's a really helpful book actually, because, uh, actually those people who listen to this will probably get something from it, because it's fairly no holds barred. That's, The kind of, the less savoury aspects of death and watching the person that you love kind of disappear before you. She also talks a little bit about widow's fire, which is a fairly contentious and controversial subject in some ways. Because it is, it's fairly universal. Most widows will experience it at some point. And it's really nice that have it written about and sort of shine that light onto something that can make you feel quite, um, make you feel pretty guilty. It can make you feel, um, disloyal and it also can bring, um, judgment for mothers. So page 87, that one is, I even wrote down the page on that one. Now Stacey is, um, she's a mother and she has ADHD and she's a widow. So this interview, We do obviously talk a lot about her, her late husband, Greg. We also talk about things like parenting and just kind of finding your way in the world. So it is, I think, um, it's a really interesting conversation. I got a lot from it. Um, we actually didn't even get as far as an introduction before we started to chat. So there was an initial instant rapport and I think that comes across, but, um, I'll be really interested to hear what you guys think and obviously this is the first interview that I'm putting out under season two so, um, big leap of faith. Right, I'm gonna stop talking now and the next voices you'll hear will be myself and Stacey Hill. Enjoy. I have done a little bit of reading about you, and I have listened to a little bit of the podcast that you did, just because it helps me familiarise myself with your voice and things like that. So it's, um, that'll be the autistic side. And then the ADHD likes to run riot, so, um, that's why I don't tend to do too much prep.

Stacey Heale:

keep in mind that you are also dealing with somebody who is like an ADHD maniac who literally has no, I've got no systems in place for anything. I've got just these chaotic notebooks that are full of random notes that don't really make much sense. And

Rosie Gill-Moss:

There you go, I was supposed to have one for each podcast, I don't,

Stacey Heale:

I literally live my life by the seat of my pants, always, so please keep that in mind.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I thought I might like you. Um, so, we are going to, obviously we're going to talk about the fact that you have a dead husband. Because, um, you know, we're both in the club. But, um,

Stacey Heale:

thing.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, that is the thing, yes, uh, but I also would like to delve a little bit into, you know, we have, with Bizarrely, we have quite a similar past in some ways from what I've, I've read about you. That sounds creepy. Um, even to the point that I had, um, oh, my mum sent me the, um, Times article, by the way.

Stacey Heale:

Oh, did she? Ah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

who is it you're interviewing, Rosie? Because there's somebody in the Times magazine today. And I was like, yeah, that's her mum. I was like, are you going to show your friends? And they were like, look.

Stacey Heale:

ah, that's sweet.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I noticed your, um, like throat, uh, wrap thing in your wedding photos is ostrich feather. Yeah,

Stacey Heale:

yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

too, like I wear an ostrich. Uh, yeah, serious, yeah. How weird is that?

Stacey Heale:

a, like a cape.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, yeah.

Stacey Heale:

Yeah, mine was a cape.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, I love it so much. It's, and quite a few of my friends have borrowed it for their weddings as well, so it's, it's had a good little, good innings. I know, I'll send you a picture.

Stacey Heale:

yeah, do! Yeah, I love, I love mine. I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, I didn't.

Stacey Heale:

it. My

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I was going to dye it and like use it for a festival thing, but I just can't bring myself to. It's from my second, uh, wedding, not my first. Right, hang on, let me just make sure I'm, do not disturb.

Stacey Heale:

god! You've got a second wedding! Do you know what, this is so, it's so interesting and exciting. Exciting? Is exciting the right word? I think it is, uh, for me to talk to somebody who is uh, who's had a second wedding. Like, I find that so intriguing.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I've had three because we got married in lockdown, so we got married on our own. Um, we didn't even take the kids. We just rang our friends and went to a registry office. And, um, so because I like my clothes also, I'm wearing leopard print for you, I, um, I wanted to have a party where I could wear a proper wedding dress and have, and also John nearly died during COVID, I don't know how much you know about my, my life.

Stacey Heale:

I did, I did know that actually. Fuck, that, that, do you know what? That would be too much.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

well, this is, this is the thing, this is where you, you don't want to go into another relationship because they might die, but, um, he didn't. So yes, I am married to another widow. Uh,

Stacey Heale:

Oh,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

say widow, so yes. Yeah.

Stacey Heale:

How did you two meet?

Rosie Gill-Moss:

we met via, uh, through a way with Aidan Young, um,

Stacey Heale:

was about to say,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

did you join

Stacey Heale:

I know? Because, um, why didn't I, I know what? I think it sounds awful, but I was immediately put off by the fact that you have to be able to talk to someone you've got to pay. And I was a bit like, what? I don't want, I don't, I don't know what

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Mm hmm.

Stacey Heale:

don't know what it looks like. So why would I pay a monthly fee when I don't even know what it looks like? Um, well, I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I thought it looked a bit like a dating agency, ironically, and I thought it was like, ooh, that looks a bit icky.

Stacey Heale:

Yeah, but what I found hilarious about it is that what it does say like like immediately is like this is not a dating agency Which made me think

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It totally is.

Stacey Heale:

Absolutely is a dating agency.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Well, we, I joined like, you know, because it was a thing to do and I sort of immersed myself in that world and it was very sad. And like, I remember looking at or reading these kind of posts from people that were maybe seven, eight years into bereavement and thinking, Oh my God, is that all that waits for me? Like just to still be in this place of enormous grief. And basically a few of us were a little bit more, I I think it's like dark humor, I guess. And so we sort of formed offshoot groups. And John and I were both in this group. It was his birthday coming up and we realised we lived not that far away. So I said, look, and this is completely platonic at this point. And I said, look, let's go out for something to eat. And basically I got really drunk and snogged him through the window of his car. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Stacey Heale:

My god, how long ago was that?

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So we have been, we got together, hang on, I've got to think of the timeline. I think it's four years this year. Yeah. So I had been widowed about two years at this point, um, yeah, around two years, uh, and he had, I have three kids and he has one. So, uh, we kind of blended a lot quicker than you might expect because of COVID. So I was in my house, he's in his house, then he got sick. So I moved, you know, packed a couple of bags, got the kids and went over thinking I'd be there for a couple of weeks. Um, and then he went into hospital and didn't come out for five weeks. So, yeah, so, um, It was all a bit of a baptism of fire, but do you know what? I don't know how it works, but it works. So we've since bought the house here. The four kids, you know, they, they are siblings. We don't really use the word step. It's all, you know, on the surface, that sounds really kind of Waltons. And obviously there's, there's, there's challenges. I got four kids in the house. Right. But it's, um, there's, I don't know, I guess there's something about the fact that they've all been through a bereavement that we're all a little bit damaged, you know, John and I are, you know, we're still prone to the odd. Meltdown or breakdown, um, like I said, I'm in therapy this morning, so I don't know, it just, it seems to work. I mean, come back to me when the girl's hip to teenage years.

Stacey Heale:

Oh, don't. How old are your kids?

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So my eldest is, he'll be 14 next month, and he is a bonafide angel. And he, ha, he's, he's just the nicest kid, and he won't listen to me anyway. Yeah, I know, right? I know. And then I've got Hector, who is, he's 11, and I've got Tabitha, who's 6, and then Holly is 8. John's biological daughter, but she's my, she's 10 going on 17.

Stacey Heale:

yeah, get ready. Get ready for those girls.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

How old are your girls?

Stacey Heale:

they are 10 and 8. Or, yeah, yeah, or, uh, 18 and 16.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Mm hmm. Yeah,

Stacey Heale:

basically that, yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, we've just had secondary allocations through, which has been fun because I won't bore you with that, but, you know, we didn't get any of the schools we wanted, so that's another bloody process, no, no,

Stacey Heale:

terrifying.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I know, I know, I've got my,

Stacey Heale:

Uh, were you trying outta catchment

Rosie Gill-Moss:

no, we are, so we, so, Monty goes to a school, I forget it's in four different schools because I hate myself, um, I know, Holly wanted to go to the school down, it's, it's down the road, we are 1. 01 miles. The catchment went as far as naught point zero nine.

Stacey Heale:

Stop it. Ah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So I think we'll get in. I think we'll get in. We're just going to, I actually spoke to somebody yesterday who's worked in, um, actually particularly about SEND. Um, but she was saying to me, just don't accept the school place. If you accept the school place, they'll never offer you anything

Stacey Heale:

done. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Okay.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

but I'm going to keep this in actually, Stacey, because this was good chat. So we're just going to, so welcome to the podcast and thank you for joining me. And I. Um, so I'm going to just sort of give the listeners a little bit of background. Um, we touched on there that we're both members of the same club, the one nobody actually wants to be a member of, and that'll be the Widow Club. And You, your husband, he died of bowel cancer, which is actually what, um, my alive husband, as I affectionately call him. That's what his wife died from. And awful amount of similarities in terms of him. She presented at, um, A& E with, um, you know, terrible sickness, terrible stomach pains, and was sent home. You, I, I literally just listened to a bit of a podcast that you did where you talked about, um, Lynch's syndrome and the fact that Greg had to be tested to see if he was carrier of that genetic mutation. Sarah did have it, her dad had it and so did she. Yeah, but even knowing this and having this on her medical records, I think it's really important. They still turned her away repeatedly. It's norovirus and hand on heart, if it had been diagnosed and she was also tested every year and had it been picked up, um, she probably would still be here. She, she wouldn't be desperately well. Um, so it was really kind of interesting is quite interesting to hear that because. This idea that people in their 30s are just being missed because it doesn't happen to them is, is really scary. And we now find ourselves in the position of, um, not knowing, well, we're not knowing whether Holly has it. And in this country, you can't test until they're 18.

Stacey Heale:

Right.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So yeah, that's, I mean, that's a, it's a something that we're going to talk about as she gets older, but,

Stacey Heale:

Yeah, I mean, I really understand the terror of that in up to a certain point because I remember when we were reading about about that syndrome and nobody actually told us I had I found that out through my own research and then I had to ask the oncologist of to say, Have you done this test in part of your in the biopsy? Did you do this? Can you we have two children and because people would like why did he why did he have bowel cancer at such a young age because he had presented with some symptoms actually years before years and years before and But because of his age, people were like, um, Oh, you've got IBS. It's, it's all, it's, it's, it could be Crohn's. It could be that, you know, go on. He was actually under the care of a gastroenterologist. Is that what it is? Um, who was basically saying, Oh, you just need to change your diet. And especially when Greg told some of the medical professionals that he had a dairy intolerance when he was younger, it was almost like, Oh, well that's that then. That's that. You just need to eat different food, and Ugh, and then as time went on it was You know, then he was diagnosed and again, people are like, well, why? Why, why has he had this now? And obviously with cancer, yeah, there is no rhyme and reason in so many cases. But I remember when we went, um, when Greg was tested for Lynch. And that weight of having to see if it would affect our children. Our children at the time who were three and one. And I think I put that in a book. box in my head and locked it with an enormous padlock until we had to go to the genetic center to get the results. And I remember walking into the room and the woman sitting down and just trying to make a bit of small talk with us, which I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

give me the result.

Stacey Heale:

and I literally just went, look, I don't give a fuck. Just. Does he have it? Yes or no? And she tried to again do the kind of the preamble and I just really shouted at her, yes or no. And because I was like, you got, this is my fucking children. You can't like, like, I've already been told my husband's going to die. I. This is my kids and I just I couldn't cope and she just said no, he doesn't have it and I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Did you

Stacey Heale:

and it was like, oh Cry, uh, it was almost like I something in me unlocked the box that it had been sat in I lit I can remember so clearly I threw my head. We were both sat in chairs. I Threw my head back like a banshee and I It was like a yelp

Rosie Gill-Moss:

All that pain and fear coming

Stacey Heale:

it was, it was weird because obviously it was the kind of the relief, but it was also the pain, the pain of everything I'd held in. And it's, it's so like, you know, when, when kind of how insidious cancer is as an illness anyway, and then when it starts to kind of creep into your family, it's, it's, it's new levels. And

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It's making me go.

Stacey Heale:

Yeah, I bet I bet I really really bet and I suppose probably because you can't do anything about it for a long time I suppose you kind of do have to Park it

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Well, Sarah's sister was Oh, sorry. We're gonna do this a lot, aren't we?

Stacey Heale:

We are we are otherwise you'll go mad. You'll go mad. Yes

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Sorry, I will, just where I interrupted you. Um, Sarah's sister was tested as well because it came from the paternal line on their side and she doesn't have it. So, we are hopeful that Holly won't and that this horrible mutation will be gone from our family. But, until we test, we don't know. And we kind of talk about, do we, I mean, obviously she's 10 now, it's not age appropriate to do so, but, Do we sort of broach it as almost an inevitability, and so that it's something that, if she doesn't, because even having the gene doesn't necessarily mean you'll get it, but yeah, it's a really, that's, I mean, that's something that a lot, much like you say, we've sort of got, okay, we can't do anything about that now, so let's lock that away and deal with it when the time comes. But yeah, the thought, I mean, particularly for John, having watched his wife, his vibrant, beautiful, you know, charismatic wife, become this hollow shell, The thought of that happening to anyone that we love it. It's just awful.

Stacey Heale:

yeah, it's a lot. And I think also when you have lost somebody, I suppose in any way, there is that never ending fear that I just don't know how you get rid of. I mean, I've never got rid of it. Well, who's next? A And it's, and it's not if it's when,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I literally just

Stacey Heale:

'cause we're all going'cause we're all going to die. So it's not like, oh, okay. Like, you know, I remember sitting in front of Greg when he was diagnosed in hospital. He was in the hospital bed, he was asleep. And I remember thinking to myself, okay, at least now I know. What is the very worst thing that's gonna happen to me? This is rock bottom. This is, this is as rock bottom as it gets. Um, I was, how old was I? 36. We had two, yeah, two babies. I was still breastfeeding Bea, our youngest daughter, and I remember thinking, okay, this is it. This is the worst thing and then thinking, well, no, this is, this isn't a one time only gig. This is, this is going to be in different ways again and again and again and again. And, and I must say, I think I'm strong. I do think I'm strong, but also I don't know how strong I can be to do it again. And again and

Rosie Gill-Moss:

This is it. This is this is where I feel kind of so vulnerable now I'm so scared of anything else happening because I don't know that I'll have the mental or the physical or the emotional capacity to do anything To take that force of the blow again. And my, my loss was, was different in that it was very sudden. Um, and often, you know, one of the kind of ongoing, not debates, but conversations around grief, it is, which is worse,

Stacey Heale:

is better. Yeah. Which is better. Which is worse. Yeah. Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And the

Stacey Heale:

They're both shit. Yeah. They're both utter, utter shit. Mm.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And the fallout from it, you're right. It is. I, I'm much like you. I, I remember almost feeling that I would then be kind of immune from anything terrible happening. And I think it might've been the, um, terrible thanks for asking podcasts. And I, Nora, I can't pronounce her name, but she said something about, that's it, thank you. I'm terrible at pronunciations. And it was something about, you know, you think that that's it, but it's not. And there was some stupid things like my lights out of my car got stolen, you know, but that nearly tipped me over the edge because I had to then find the money to replace them when I had, I had 50 quid in my bank when Ben died, I was on maternity leave. And it's, it's just, yeah, it's all these, and the term secondary loss is, we hear that banded about, but I think until you actually experience that, and the loss of your friends, the loss of your, Your best, your best friend, in the case of your husband, perhaps, or, and your future, and I'm hearing you talking about your daughters, and my children were seven, five, and six months, so it's that, that need to protect them, but also, how can you protect them? Like, Disney stories use this as the worst possible thing that can happen to a child, and you're sort of stood there, observing your children go through it, and there is absolutely fuck all you can do, and that is really scary.

Stacey Heale:

Yeah. I, I remember actually when Greg was in hospital and he was, when he was initially diagnosed, he had to stay in hospital for two weeks and. Me and the girls were staying with my parents during that time. And so I'd go to the hospital all day every day to go and be with him. And I remember it was all at the time when they were both obsessed with Frozen, the film. And I remember having to watch on repeat again and again. There's the bit at the beginning where the parents go away and they're on the boat.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

That's sea, Stacey.

Stacey Heale:

and they yeah, yeah, and they just it's like they don't even talk about it they just like there's this kind of like ominous music and then you just see the waves taking the boat and then Elsa and Anna like Like quietly singing to each other about being on their own and I obviously they they didn't know they would way too small To explain what was going on and I? I don't know if I would have felt any worse if you had literally come at me with a knife. Because it was literally like my entire, everything in me was ripped apart. Um, and watching my own children, like, happily watch, you know, sat there in their costumes, their Elsa and Anna, uh, matching costumes, watching this, and just kind of taking it in and thinking, that's, that's, that's That's what's happening to

Rosie Gill-Moss:

happening right

Stacey Heale:

You just, you just don't, you just don't know it yet. And, um, uh, that level of, yeah, that level of pain again. And I think about it all the time. I think about it all the time, about things like, you know, my parents having a birthday. And I think about me, but then I also think about, like, how would I tell my children yet again that someone they love has died or

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, I'm obsessed that my

Stacey Heale:

And I Yeah, yeah

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Golden? 50 years wedding anniversary in December. And they had asked to have a party here in the garden. And we don't need the background, but you're going to get it anyway. And uh, they said, Oh no, we've decided. Sorry Riles. Um, so we decided that we're going to go and visit our friends around the country and spend some real quality time with them. And the whole time they're talking, my brain's going, this is a final, final tour. This is a goodbye tour. They're going to say goodbye to everybody. They're dying. One of them's dying. To the point that I had to just ask my parents is what if you're dying? And to which they said, no,

Stacey Heale:

have you not told me

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, but it is that horrible, and my dad did, he had um, prostate cancer last year and he's been very, very fortunate and it was removed and he's recovering really, really well and he's super, super fit and healthy, my dad. He's cycling like 80 miles for his friend's 80th birthday the other weekend, so he's, yeah, he's very, very fortunate, but he feels an element of guilt. And he did at the time when Ben died, he would say to me, this should have been me. And of course, in the correct order of things, yeah, it should. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But the thought now of losing anybody else is my protector and my, you know, it's,

Stacey Heale:

that's do you know what that really got to me you

Rosie Gill-Moss:

oh sorry.

Stacey Heale:

that I'm like God. Oh my god I'm like, yeah the thought that you're that your dad thought that it should be him.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I know, I know. And my dad has lived quite an adventurous life. He was a journalist and he went out to war zones and he did kind of, Reckless, I guess, things and terrified the shit out of my mum for most of our childhood, not as in he did, but you know, the circumstances running his work, just to clarify that. And he, I suppose, and Ben was, we actually used to call him Mr. Health and Safety because he was very, he was kind of one of these almost indestructible men, you know, that you don't think anything bad could happen to. So it just made no sense. And although diving is a high risk sport, we know this, I think, okay. You don't think of it as being one, you know? Even when the police knocked at my door, I'm still going, well has he crashed? What's happened? And I suppose, you, you look around you and there's all these people who are taking enormous risks, who do, you know, not have very much respect for their health. And they're totally fine. And then, It's that not discriminating, isn't it? That death does not discriminate. It will come at you at some point, but it's, it's just seems so grossly unfair that it can happen to people who are literally in their prime, you know, their fairly new fathers, they are, I mean, I don't know what your relationship was like, that's none of my business, but Ben and I, we'd gone through that real, I guess the tricky bit, you know, when you were knee deep in nappies. And although we had rolled that dice again and had tabs. We sort of knew a bit more what we were doing, and financially we had a bit more security. We had, you know, we weren't living in this tiny little two up, two down house like we were with the boys. And I can remember saying to my mum, I just, I can't believe my life has turned out like this. And, and then it's gone. And I think losing, or accepting that terrible things will probably happen again, because nobody goes through life unscathed, and making peace with that, because I know what I'm like, I'll worry about the wrong thing happening. I don't know. So, there's kind of no point but, I don't know, telling an anxious brain that is, is like, I don't know, telling your kid not to ask for a snack, right?

Stacey Heale:

Yeah, it's, it's interesting. Like what I'm like hearing in you is like, you're like that fear, which I totally have as well. And the fact that you have found someone else and that you have got married and that you're bringing your children together. And that is so incredible. And I imagine that brings up brand new levels of fear. And I think I, I, you know, for me, it's been two and a half years since Greg died and I knew he was going to die. Like, so I had five years of knowing he was going to die. Um, and I have not stepped into that world

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Have you not?

Stacey Heale:

No, no. And it's weird because I am most certainly not in the gang of, you know, like you were saying, um, At the beginning about way and about, you know, the people who are eight years down the line going, Oh, I joined a few kind of groups, maybe on Facebook that were like that. It was like, like we're young widow groups. And yeah, the same thing of those people just going, I will never be complete without my job, like this kind of thing. And I'm like, like, I, I don't know how to live like that for the rest of my life where you're kind of saying, uh, Yeah, that's it now. That's it. Everything else is like, diluted. Like, and, you know, I suppose realistically, there is some truth to that. In that, like, I feel that I am very different now. My outlook is really different. I'm a, well, yeah, I'm a totally different person. Um, but I was all, but Even right at the beginning, I was like, no, no, no, no. I can't be one of those women. I don't want to, to be someone who kind of locks off. The idea of love and connection. Uh, you know. I've just been through so much shit. I don't I want, I want love and connection. If I can't have it with Greg. I mean, it wasn't my choice. It wasn't my choice to not have him. So, I'm young. I might possibly have like another 50 years on this planet. But what's interesting is that so immediately I was like, I'm totally open to all of this as an idea. I, and I really, really was. And I'm, I'm wondering, I don't have any ideas yet really, but I'm pondering this idea now because I'm like, hang on a minute. You're two and a half years in yet and For someone who was so, like, open to the idea of, like, the world. Like love as an energy kind of, uh, keeps going. And I don't see that I've never thought that anybody who moves into another relationship, even if it is, uh, a kind of ridiculous nonsensical. Yeah. Do you know what? Whatever, whatever, whatever that is, I have zero judgment for them whatsoever. And I feel there's probably a lot to be gained from a lot of that. But for me, I'm kind of looking at myself almost kind of. Like, as an out of body experience, going, Hmm, so what's going on with you then? Like, what is this about? Why are you not, uh, getting involved with that world? And I don't, and I don't know, actually, is the answer. I think I've got, I've got some ideas in the fact that, like, I've just written a book that's very much all about Um, it's very much about me. Greg is obviously in the book, but it's very much about lots of different experiences that I've had. And I've really given everything I have to that. And I, I suppose it's part of me that was also like, that's quite a, that's quite an icebreaker if you were to meet someone going, Oh, hi, you know, Guess what,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

a copy of my book.

Stacey Heale:

yeah, here it is, and, um, just doing this, just gonna be doing loads of interviews about this now. You've just got to take this all on board. I don't, I don't know, I don't know, or maybe that is the bullshit answer that sounds good. And actually, what's going on underneath is that I'm terrified.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, I think probably

Stacey Heale:

think, I think, I think there's, yeah, also, like, I don't, I was with, I was with Greg for a really long time. We got together when I was 26, and the dating world has, uh, has changed so irrevocably. Not that I have any experience of it, but just like looking, looking in from the outside, it just looks like a horror show. And I, I protect my peace at all costs in, in the world now. I really, really do. It's so important to me. And the peace of my children.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And

Stacey Heale:

I, and I,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

quite significant, isn't it? For potential suitors entering into your life. I,

Stacey Heale:

Yeah, I'd be, I'd be very careful about it. But, and I think as well, I don't know. Do you know what? I think, I think the answer is that Deep inside me, I'm just terrified of all sorts of things, all sorts of things. But, but then I, I'm really aware that, I don't know, like, does it get harder as, like, as you go, like, the longer you don't, I don't know. I don't know.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

don't know. I think it's a funny one, because when Ben died, and I have made no secret of the fact that he was the love of my life, um, but I also have another love of my life now, and I think it's a funny one. I think you can have more than one and the idea that we have one soulmate and that you're kind of, you know, banded together forever. Yeah, there is a truth in that because I wear, and then those are my wedding rings from Ben and those are my wedding rings from John, I wear both. Um, we have lots

Stacey Heale:

I love

Rosie Gill-Moss:

up. I know, I said, I took me ages to do it because I was really nervous about handing it over and, um, yeah, I'm really pleased with it. But I don't feel, Ben and I didn't divorce, we didn't separate, we didn't cheat on each other, there's no anger. There's a little anger on my part, because he went into the water alone, and he went into the water after he'd been sick. But, how many times have I, I don't know, done stupid things? Walked out in front of a car when I was pissed, back when I was drinking, you know? We all do things with momentary lapses of judgement, so I'm very at peace with that. Like you, I try and protect my peace. Um, but I don't come away from it bitter. And whilst I genuinely have this, I, you know, I'm just going to focus on my kids, and basically I'm going to be I'm going to be miserable for the rest of my life. At best, I'm going to survive. But that was where I thought I was at. And of course, I gradually put my head above the parapet and I went out and got really drunk with a friend. And, mum, if you're listening to this episode, please stop now. Um,

Stacey Heale:

Turn up. Stop.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

yeah, turn it off now. And I, and I gave my number to a very fit young barman. My friend made me do it. And we, I can't, I can't even, I'm cringing here. But. Broke the seal shall we say and um, I felt awful. I felt like I cheated on Ben I felt this enormous guilt, but I also felt alive.

Stacey Heale:

Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm still a woman You know, I'm like you I was only I think I was 36 But we're just 37 when Ben died and it but I you know I was like I have so much like life to live and I also have a lot of love to give and I was really scared and I didn't think a relationship was on my cards. I thought, and John and I, to be honest, at least we were friends. And then, you know, that happened. We sort of thought, well, that's nice. You know, a friend with benefits that you trust, that's not going to, you know, treat you badly or harm you in any way, um, feelings developed. And that's where we ended up. But I, I know some people who have been, you know, gone into relationships and I know others who have, Either through choice or because of the cesspit that is online dating are all still single, but I just think it's Like if love comes your way You just don't say no if it's if it's if there's kindness and compassion and love we've like you say we've been through enough Right, and the world is a pretty cruel

Stacey Heale:

my God. If you like, if people were to see or just feel an ounce of what we have felt that all of the different emotions that we've gone through within ourselves with our Children within like those, like you said, those secondary losses and having to navigate these new relationships with Literally everybody in our lives. I just don't think people would give widows, and I'm really taking widowers out of this actually, widows,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh you think primarily females?

Stacey Heale:

I think people give them a very hard time. Not so much men because what I often see, especially with people say in the media, when people are talking about people, like Leo, um, Rio Ferdinand

Rosie Gill-Moss:

hmm.

Stacey Heale:

Kate, where it was immediately was like, Oh my God, look at him alone with those children. Um, he needs a woman. He needs a wife. Those children need a mother. And so people were saying that to him. But at the same time, in the same relationship, people are looking to her going, Well, you know, she's

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Got in there quick, didn't you?

Stacey Heale:

Yeah, she, yeah, what's, what's she after? What's she looking for? And my mind was blown by that. Of the, you're talking about the same two people, but just different sides of the coin and how people feel about it. And, and I, and I agree with you. I think that nobody knows what this feels like and until you've been through it. And I actually thought, um, I talk about this in the book actually, about this weird, weird idea that I had, and I don't know why, before Greg died, that I would. Go into a relationship, another relationship really quickly. I have no idea why. Well, no, that's not true. I do now. When I wrote the book, I didn't, and then I really thought about it. And you mentioned Nora McInerney

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah

Stacey Heale:

as some, right. I realized that it's her. She is the reason why I thought I would end up in another relationship really quickly.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Because she got into a relationship, didn't she? She

Stacey Heale:

yeah, I. Yeah, and she had, she got pregnant a year after her first husband died and I remember just being just in so much awe of her, of just how she talked about everything so honestly and about her love for two people and how this was never how she thought her life would turn out but she's kind of going with it and accepting it for what it is and I, I really saw her as the blueprint maybe of how I How I wanted to be. I I don't necessarily mean like my I most certainly did not want another baby, fuck no. But, in just in terms of her attitude, about, uh, a really scrappy attitude, it wasn't like, all toxic positivity, and, I'm going forward with growth, it wasn't all this, it was like, I'm kind of making my way forward, and it's a fucking shit show, but I'm just going with it, and I'm grabbing what joy I can, and Because everything,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

to the shit show.

Stacey Heale:

there's, welcome to the shit show, no exactly, and I, I really loved that, and I think maybe in my mind I was like, oh okay, well if you do have a certain attitude, maybe, if you're, if you are kind of going, oh, okay, you know, life, this is how life is, um, the introduction to my book is actually called Goodfoot, Goodfoot! Soulmates are bullshit.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, is it?

Stacey Heale:

actually, that's actually what it's called. And it's about a conversation that I had with Greg. And you couldn't make this up. You actually couldn't make this shit up. About three days before he was taken to A& E and diagnosed, we had a conversation in bed where we were debating between each other the concept of soulmates.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Which

Stacey Heale:

And one of, oh, I was very anti it, because I was like, well, I was giving all of the reasons. All the reasons of like, what are the fucking chances? Like, it's so restrictive. It's, it's meant to be this really romantic, beautiful idea. But actually, if you boil it down, it's so desperately restrictive and controlling. in many ways of, um, thinking that you've got to be in the right time at the right place in the

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Right

Stacey Heale:

decade in the right country, the right century, walk down the right road at the right time, all these kinds of things. And, but also part of my conversation was, well, hang on a minute. What about if, yeah, you found the love of your life, you found your soulmate. What if they then run off with someone from work? Is that, is that you fucked? Now, you believed that, but they've, they've ruined that, so that, that's, that's it now, that's your one go. And then I said, what happens if that person dies? What happens then? Is that basically it? Like, at what point do you, like, he, he very much actually had the same kind of idea of me. Nowhere near as, uh, enthusiastic because I think I was kind of on one of my late night rants about stuff and he just really wanted me to shut up and just be like, I just want to read my book. Like, it's like, yeah, it's really late and this is like, I would like suddenly come awake at night and be like, let's talk about some philosophical ideas and he'd be like, fuck off. Um, but his, he had the same idea as me, which is there is so much romance and beauty in the idea that we are here and we choose people every day. We kind of continue to choose people. You wake up on a Tuesday and you're like, I continue to be here. I continue to love you, I want to be here, and that there's a, there's a huge amount of beauty in that as well. And it was only, yeah, it was literally three days later that he was, um, diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Well, once he'd had this diagnosis and, um, it was, it was terminal from the off pretty much, wasn't it? You knew there was, there was treatable but not curable, I think is the term, isn't it?

Stacey Heale:

Yeah, true. Uh, it's, do you know what? I, I've got some really big problems with some of that terminology. I think that the medical world has a huge amount of work to do to do with that. Um, uh, because first of all, when we, when Greg was first diagnosed, the surgeon that came to tell us it was stage four said, there's nothing we can do for you. That's that, basically. Uh, and Greg said to him, yeah, Greg said, this is in the middle of a ward as well, in the middle of the afternoon, Greg said, how long have I got? And he said, how long is a piece of string? And, and so, but that, to, to say, We, uh, to say there's nothing we can do about for you that to me was, oh, basically you're now going home to die. That's what that meant to me. And then when we eventually saw the oncologist and we were talking about it, I think this word treatable is really confusing for people. Uh, it's treatable, but not curable. That phrase, I think, uh, I think it, it's, it kind of. Can maybe it's used as a kind of it's a very British tool to kind of soften the blow But I think when people hear the word treatable they go brilliant We can treat it as in as if it's some kind of chronic illness

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm thinking like diabetes or something, something that you can live with.

Stacey Heale:

this. Yeah, you can treat it, but like, not curable basically does mean terminal. And also, so many of these cancers have a, have a time span on them. So, I think that when people in our world heard the word treatable, I think people kind of went, Oh okay, whew, okay, we're alright. And, I don't know, I, I, I think that, I think we could do better about finding ways to talk about things that are honest, but don't have to be brutal, but they kind of like, they kind of say how it is, without having to maybe give false hope. I think false hope can

Rosie Gill-Moss:

False hope was,

Stacey Heale:

difficult.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

that was the, that was the two words that were sort of sitting at the front of my mind when you were talking then. And actually, at the risk of making this about me, um, when Ben, so Ben is still technically missing, he's never been found. And I have had to go to the high court to have a, a, a certificate called a presumption of death certificate. And at the time, I know, right? So this idea of false hope is something that is quite personal to me because when he, so it was the 12th of March that Ben died and it was an awful, the weather was bad, it was cold, it was dark, the beast from the east had not long fucked off,

Stacey Heale:

oh

Rosie Gill-Moss:

and As you perhaps are aware from, um, social media, I'm, I'm a much more, um, prolific user of it than I used to be. I'm still quite rubbish at it. Um, but I, we were quite, not private, but you know, we didn't, he, he didn't have a Facebook account and things like this. So I, when he was missing, I did a Facebook post and I can remember ringing his mom and reading it to her and saying, is this okay? Um, like I can remember checking my grandma, you know, all the weird shit you do when your life's being blown apart around you. And, um, Kind strangers on the internet would message and say, don't give up hope, sweetheart. God is protecting. He's out there somewhere. And even very early on, I was just like, you, what you're saying to me is what, what he swam to France, that he survived a night in minus whatever temperatures. Or you're telling me that he's run off, that he's faked his own disappearance.

Stacey Heale:

Oh my god. I'm so angry for you. I'm so angry for you.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

know the police actually had to search my house, which was a great indignity because it was a mess. But it's. The false hope, you know, we all need hope and as I've come out the other side, I realize how vital hope is just to getting up every day. You have to believe that things will be better and you have to believe that goodness awaits you, I guess, at the risk of sounding like a real hippie. But in that moment, false hope is so dangerous because what would happen if I had told my children that he was missing? That I had harbored, you know, um, and actually you live in Southampton, don't you? So you must have the widow walks, the houses with the, the old houses with, um, you get down by the coast and Traditionally the widows of sailors lost at sea, you know, they would walk around waiting for them

Stacey Heale:

Oh my god. I didn't even know that. How did I not know that? I'm going to write that down because I want to.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

You're gonna have to try and find one, so they, yeah, and I thought that's what they, would you want that from me? What, that I have to just wait staring at the sea? And, and don't get me wrong, there was a period of staring up at the sky and wondering if he was out there, but I had to very quickly shut down Hope because it would have killed me. It would have killed me. And it would have actually prevented me, I would never have got married, would I, if I thought my husband was out there somewhere. I even struggle with the idea of people go, he's watching you. I'm like, I fucking hope he's

Stacey Heale:

Oh, no, I, no, I, I have problems with that as well. Um, no, I really, really understand this about False Hope, because even though we were told that it was Stage 4, and Stage 4, I mean, I do actually have a really good friend who survived Stage 4. She's like an absolute anomaly. I mean, and, and

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Bionic woman.

Stacey Heale:

Yeah, but she, do you know what? She carries So much guilt.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh.

Stacey Heale:

much guilt at, um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Survivor guilt.

Stacey Heale:

surviving. Yeah, she has survivors guilt and I'm like, please don't, please just, please be thrilled. But you can't, you can't just tell people how to feel. Um, but I felt the same and I wonder if this was because I was a parent. I think that for me was a really critical part. So when we were kind of, you know, I spent, I mean, months and months desperately searching the entire world actually. I was in calls with people in Germany, in America, different places across the world of people who ultimately were selling snake oil. Um, about what could we find that could save Greg? And I set out to kind of absolutely go for this. And then I realized quite fairly quickly that this was not going to help me. I mean, it most certainly wasn't going to help Greg. And there was, um, that, like you said, hope is important. And there is a lot to say for how much it was hope that Greg Probably lived for as long as he did I think his kind of very kind of blindsided He kind of never ever admitted really out loud that he was going to die. He was hopeful in that way. I think that probably kept him alive for as long as it did. He absolutely, he outlived both his two prognosis. Um, but for me privately, I could never ever give into that false hope because I knew I was the one that was going to be left. And I knew that I was the one that was going to have to pick up the pieces of our children.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Stacey Heale:

there is. There is a lot of, like, mental and very practical preparation that has to go into things like that. And I didn't have the luxury. That's how I would see it. I don't think, thinking about who I am as a person and just how I feel and deal with things, I'm very much more, I prefer, I, I much prefer people being up front with me, in general. So I think I would always have wanted to know the real, real truth about things. But I, it was such a strange line to straddle of needing to really, really keep hope alive over here. And be buoyant and be thinking about the future in a future that I knew was not going to happen while over here, having to really be processing and thinking and planning of, okay, I'm going to be a solo parent in who knows how much time, what, where are the deeds to the house? What are the, what's the financial provision? What do we not have signed? What are the passwords? What do I need to do? mentally and emotionally in order to prepare myself for what's coming in order for me to not fall apart because I'm going to have two really young kids who really, really need me. So I felt, I felt like I was living, um, like a bit of a double life

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I've just written down, I've just written

Stacey Heale:

Oh really? Yeah. That's how I felt.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah. And I, I, I hadn't, despite the number of widows and widows I've spoken to, I guess I hadn't really thought of it like that. But you are, I know from speaking to John and other guests, I've had the podcast that you do become basically an oncologist. You could probably go sit your, your, your, Your degree now in oncology, but you are also having to keep their spirits as high as you possibly can because it was it five years that he lived with this, with the cancer. So for five years, you cannot be sitting there sobbing about the fact that somebody is going to die. You can't and it wouldn't have been fair on your girls because I'm thinking is Beibei the younger one? Um,

Stacey Heale:

face.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

so for most of her

Stacey Heale:

now, but she was, yeah, it was her whole, basically her whole life. Her entire life.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And that would've been, and um, again, just to refer it to my experience, but with Tabby, she was six months. So really similar age, really. And you know, now they're kind of same age. And it, I, I can remember reading that babies absorb your feelings. Um, and I, I was like, right, I've gotta take her to baby yoga. I've gotta go do, um, I don't know. And the antenatal, not antenatal, but you know what I mean, like the mom groups and all that sort of stuff, even though. This massive part of me just wanted to get the bottle of gin, go back to bed and rock back and forth. You have to keep their spirits up. You can't allow them to fall through the cracks. And basically for there to be another tragedy, which it would be if we let them be And I know that you mentioned in your book, you know, coping mechanisms and, you know, like letting the kids eat cake off the floor and things like this. You know, all standards slipped. Of course they did. But trying to maintain some, some positivity, I guess, in a, in a house that has been so devastated, but to have to do that for five years, whilst your husband is actively, you know, dying in front of you, must have been incredibly hard. And I'm thinking again about the girls and having to tell them that daddy is, is very sick and then coming to tell them again that they've, he's died. So, it's Like a double grief, and how did you manage to explain to them, A, that he was sick, and then the eventuality that he'd gone?

Stacey Heale:

God. Um, I think it was very much a drip feeding situation where it was really obvious to them that he was very ill, like all the way through and that he was, he was at hospital a lot. He had, he often had a chemo pump as well at home, which meant, and there were nurses that came to our house a lot. So they knew and they grew up with that and it was almost normal because that's all they ever knew.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Holly named Sarah's, um, bag Bob. named it the, yeah, because they felt that would sort of take away some of the fear around

Stacey Heale:

Yeah, yeah. Um, and I think as Greg got more ill towards the end after his treatment stopped, I think it was only, yeah, it was only when he went into the hospice and we were told that he had weeks to live, um, that kind of came out of the blue. Although it wasn't out of the blue, I say

Rosie Gill-Moss:

still feels it though,

Stacey Heale:

it actually wasn't out of the blue. He'd been taken off treatment, uh, maybe something like four months, five months beforehand. Like, so it's not out of the blue at all. Um, but it felt it.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

that little bit of false hope in there, isn't

Stacey Heale:

Yeah, that shock. Um, And, yeah, we We had to, um, We had to sit them down. Well, Greg, Greg did. Do you know what? I couldn't tell you what was said.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And did he tell them that he was going to die? Did he tell them himself? That's brave, huh? Yeah, that's brave.

Stacey Heale:

I haven't thought about that moment actually for a long time. And I think it was, um, it, yeah, like I said, I couldn't, I couldn't tell you what was said because it was honestly like having an outer body experience because you're, you're kind of, it's very, I think it's very rare that you're in a situation where you're thinking, I'm currently in the worst moment of my life. I think that's very rare to be really, really presently in the knowledge that you're living through it right at this

Rosie Gill-Moss:

that you're living other people's nightmares. I think that, I felt that I was, Broadchurch was um, really popular at the time, and I kept thinking this is like something off the BBC, this is not my life, and I don't know if you did this, but I was always like, am I doing this right, in my head? And I don't know whether that is partly a neurodivergent thing, because we're always kind of questioning ourselves, but I, Should I, am I crying enough? Do I look guilty? Like, all these really crazy questions going around my

Stacey Heale:

Did you, did you worry a lot about what other people? Thought of you

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, yeah. I can remember the first time I wore makeup.

Stacey Heale:

really Wow?

Rosie Gill-Moss:

run because I thought people would think I didn't care anymore because I had lipstick on. It's, it's, you know,

Stacey Heale:

find this so interesting of like how all of these tiny little nuanced movements that we we consider in things like that about About how other people perceive us. I, it's interesting, like when I was um, for Greg's funeral, I, I wore the most ridiculous elaborate outfit ever

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I've seen a picture of this and I almost want to redo the funeral so I

Stacey Heale:

Because I was like, I was like, oh my god, I was, I was so affronted by the universe. I was like, do you know what? Fuck you, world, universe, god, whoever. I, if I've got to be a widow, then I'm gonna be a fucking widow. And I went in like a proper, full, like, Queen Victorian, Queen Victoria's, like, the veil, the lace gloves, the big glasses, a little bit Jackie O as well. Uh, big, big lace dress. Uh, and it, like, it was a real, I mean, it was armour. Ultimately, as well, it was real armor, but when I was choosing these dresses, I remember my mum, like, I remember I ordered a dress, I tried it on for her, and it was, uh, I don't even know where you would wear this, it was like a bodice that had, it was absolutely full to the brim of huge, big, embroidered black flowers, and then it had a, a train, it was a black train, that had, and, and, She was like, Stace, do you think that a train might be a touch too much? And I was like, No! Absolutely not! Like, I was absolutely indignant

Rosie Gill-Moss:

How dare you!

Stacey Heale:

how dare you! Because I was like, You, like, I need this to represent the level of sadness and anger and frustration I have at having to fucking do this, having to walk behind my husband's coffin With holding the hands of our two small children. Like, and I think it's interesting, isn't it, of like, I think my mum was worried about what people

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Other people would think, oh,

Stacey Heale:

That, that, that people, I mean, she's most certainly not somebody who cares what people think actually at all. But, I think she became exceptionally,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Protective of you.

Stacey Heale:

of me. And I think she, she knew how many people were gonna be there. And I think she was a bit like, I don't know, I don't know. I don't want people to come for you. I think she thought that maybe people thought it was a joke or that I wasn't taking it seriously enough, or that I was making it about me. I don't know, but, um, I actually, I had this weird thought to myself. Actually, I remember staring in front of the mirror of like my full get up and thinking what Greg would say and how he'd be laughing at me going, Oh, here she comes. Here she, look, she, everything's a

Rosie Gill-Moss:

the show.

Stacey Heale:

moment, isn't it? Yeah, oh look, here's, here comes the drama. Uh, and I, and that really put me at ease to really, I think when you've lived for so long next to somebody, I don't

Rosie Gill-Moss:

can almost hear

Stacey Heale:

You can hear them! You can absolutely hear what they would say to you. Like, you could be driving down the road, and you'll see something, and you know what they would say if you saw it. You'd say something and you know what they would say back. And I, I could hear him laughing at my outfit. And, uh, and that, that made me just feel so, so great. Because I was like, yeah, this is, this is, like, it's not about anyone else. It's absolutely not about anyone else at all.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It's not, it's about you and the kids. And it's, I, and I felt very alone actually. Ben was one of six, so big family. And my mum and dad were incredible. They, like, they were actually in um, I can't remember where they were, somewhere in South America and had to come back and they, they, my, my mum never went home. She just, my dad went and picked up the car and dropped off their bags and my mum just came to me and I'll never forget that minute where she sort of walked across the road and I ran out barefoot, stinking of booze to greet her and they have just been like by my side. But my mum is also kind of of that generation where you don't drink, bring attention into yourself. And my parents were both journalists, both retired journalists. So. My dad particularly does like the sound of his voice, I don't know where I got it from, but, uh, but never about their private life. It was always, so I think when I first started doing this, actually, my mum was a bit kind of nervous about what I might say. And, um, she was, you say, well, just remember that the kids are going to listen to this one day, but I've got a very open relationship. I haven't got an open relationship, don't be spreading that rumour, but a very open dialogue with my kids. And we talk about things that perhaps are even too grown up sometimes, but I want there to be no barriers there. Um, and actually you've mentioned that your girls were at a funeral. Um, my children were there as well. And mine was, there was no coffin, obviously. But, um, It is a controversial decision as to whether or not you involve children in this and I felt very strongly that we were a unit and we were going to be there together. So my daughter, I held her because she was a baby. And um, my oldest son, he actually wrote his dad a letter. I wrote Ben a letter and I don't know how I did it. So I read it. Um, but it was probably because I was like knocking him back in the pub opposite before. Uh, and my middle son has, he's autistic and he, um, was just completely overwhelmed by this enormous, we're not church people. And for some reason I had it in church, but it felt. It needed it, right? And so, but even he had done a little picture that we held up for him. And so I can say to my children in the years to come, you were there, you were with me, we were shoulder to shoulder, we were, we were there together. But I can also totally see why people don't want their kids there because A, perhaps you feel you can't display your own emotion. And also sometimes it, I guess it's terrifying for a kid, but I don't know, I kind of think the terrible things happened and The luxury of saying goodbye is something that we, and they need.

Stacey Heale:

I could not agree more. I feel really, really strongly about this. Um, I think part of my preparation for Greg dying, my kind of secret preparation in the background was contacting charities like Winston's wish child bereavement, UK, and having these conversations with people who are specialists in this area, because that's what I wanted to hear from. I wanted to hear from the people who know about child psychology, not. Not my neighbor down the road

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Not your great aunt

Stacey Heale:

in my, in my day, children didn't go to things like that. I couldn't give a fuck

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Didn't have iPads either, did they?

Stacey Heale:

yeah, like 50 years ago. Um, I don't want to know about that. I want to know what like the current thinking is on this. And immediately you hear from child psychologists that children absolutely need to be involved in this process because it is all part of the grieving process. There is a reason why we hold funerals. Obviously they're different, they look differently across the world but humans have funerals for a really specific reason to do with ritual and processing and there is something so powerful about that group collective grief that you are walking, literally walking this path together. You are walking into a building with the dead and there is, there are words spoken, and there are tears shed collectively, and there are feelings felt, and that you come out, and there is, it is like a, a collective processing that's so important that and that it's shared as well. And I think we do, we do Children such a massive disservice because they know, they know what's going on and they've got their own feelings. And I think when people talk about, say, like the resilience of Children when they're, you know, When they're like, oh, look, they're, you know, their dad's dead, but they're off playing on the trampoline in the garden. They're okay, their children are very resilient. It's like, no, you don't understand, like they don't have the cognition to fully understand what's going on. It's going to come out in waves and they process things really differently. And yeah, I had

Rosie Gill-Moss:

do the, sorry, I'm just going to quickly ask, did your girls do that kind of weird psycho thing where you tell them something terrible's happened and then they go and do something really normal? Because

Stacey Heale:

Uh, yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

did, they made the noise, that awful noise that you never want to hear again, ever for the rest of your life, and I can still feel it in me. Um, and I, we kind of came downstairs, my friend was on the sofa and I was just like, and then they kind of poodled down the stairs, both with Harry Potter capes on, and wands, um. proceeded to enact out some sort of wizardry in the living room and I was so upset. I was so upset because I thought, what's wrong with them? Why, why, what's the matter? And now of course, you know, it's so normal.

Stacey Heale:

Yeah, but that's, that's because we don't talk about this shit. Like, if you, you literally just have to dip your toe into the psychology of children and grief and know that that is exactly what children do.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

But even we do, I remember saying to the police, would you like a cup of tea? And, you know, obsessing with my head that I didn't have my bra on. And, you know, one of my, um, former guests, she, she was heavily pregnant when her husband died and she was worried about the pile of washing next to her. Like, so if the adult brain does weird stuff like that, obviously the child brain is going to. Like you say, they haven't got the cognitive ability or the emotional maturity to process the fact that something of this magnitude has happened and it's happened to them.

Stacey Heale:

Yeah, and I think, I think for us and for me, the kickback that I got initially to do with the girls coming to the funeral, again, I was, I kind of shut that down immediately because I was like, this is no one else's decision. And I talked to the children about it, about what they wanted to do. And they were like, well, of course it's our dad. And that's the thing, it's like, it's not just like, it's not a Uh, a random uncle that they don't see. It's their dad, so of course they need to go. And also, I, I realized that they needed to be heavily involved. The, uh, That actually they needed to feel like it was theirs rather than this thing that they felt on the outside of. Um, and so I, we put things in place, which meant that they would actually do that. I was terrified that people wouldn't speak to them and that they'd be ignored at their own dad's funeral and that they'd be kind of looking around. No, exactly. And I, I thought that they would be looking around going, hang on a minute. This is the person that I used to kind of snuggle up to go to sleep with. And. There's all these other people here and they, did they know dad? And I didn't want that for them, so we organized it so that they made masses of batches of cookies, um, a couple of days before, boxed them all up, and that they had a stall at the wake where they sold their own cookies. They had their own big sign, they did it with their cousin. Where they were raising money for charities

Rosie Gill-Moss:

That's amazing.

Stacey Heale:

And it meant that the adults had to go and talk to them. And what was incredible about what we saw is that they really got into it. They were, they started bartering with all of the adults. They were like, I see that you've got 10 pounds in your wallet. You've given me five. What, what else can you give us? And it became,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I mean, talk about getting them while they're vulnerable. They've had a few drinks, the poor children's dad's died.

Stacey Heale:

Who's arguing with a bereaved child? Nobody.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

take the money.

Stacey Heale:

they made, they literally made, I think they made about fifteen hundred pounds.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Stop

Stacey Heale:

Just by, just, just by selling some cookies. Um, but I think that gateway into the wake was really important because we kind of knew that people would want to talk to the key adults. There'd be a lot of people that want to talk to us and I couldn't be with them the whole time. And I think that really broke the ice of the event for them. And then, by the end, we had, we had the wake in a music venue. But, well, by the middle of it, they were doing dance challenges up on the stage. They were like, they were asking the adults who were getting more and more drunk as the evening was going on to come up and do like, like asking them to do, like challenging them to dance battles. And what was so wonderful is someone I didn't know actually came up to me at the end and said, I will never see children at funerals in the same way anymore.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

See, changing the narrative out there,

Stacey Heale:

and I just thought, and I just thought, yeah, because this is, this is important. They've had to, you know, they have had to go through that real process of, you know, seeing the coffin, being behind the coffin, sitting down, listening to people talk, um, listening to me talk. They had to hear me. Say eulogy and mention them in it and and then we kind of came out the other side And then you kind of and I think that's really important I think the damage is done when you're kind of holding everything in and Everyone's telling you that it's going to be okay, and you're like, but what if I just what yeah But what if I just want to kind of lose my mind a little bit? And I think that's what a funeral really gives everyone permission to do. You are allowed to You're allowed to be really fucking sad as you want and, and then you kind of, and I think what's important for kids in particular is that you can then come out of that and then go and do something else and go, okay, so I can, I can feel it, but it's not everything. Uh,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

that coexistence, isn't it? Happy and sad.

Stacey Heale:

yeah, exactly. This is not so scary because I can go into these feelings and I know I'm going to come out the other side. And I think that's why we all need, we all need that. So yeah, I'm a big, I'm a big, uh, fan of, fan, fan of

Rosie Gill-Moss:

fan love children go to funerals. That's my favorite. One of Ben's university friends. He, um, he's a bit of a naughty boy is Adam and he, they, I mean, they came in his camper van and, and at some point, and I apologize to the victim of hen hill church, they did let off a massive firework rocket that got stuck on the church roof, but my kids thought this

Stacey Heale:

When you were in, when you were inside.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So the church, I mean there's a, basically where my kids, um, went to school, there's a really nice pub next to a church. And the pub was where I had booked for our 10 year wedding anniversary. So, when I decided to do a church memorial, cause you can't call it a body without a funeral without a body. Um, I, um, Then booked the pub for the wake. So, um, which kind of made sense in my head at the time, but it's, uh, so it was kind of outside the pub that the firework was let off, no damage was done, but it was, it's something that the kids still remember now they don't remember the mum dressed in black. And I just got, I'd say you looking for your perfect outfit. I'm a huge, um, lover of vintage and eBay, as I think you are as well. Aren't you like a good, you like to, and so I was going, I was like looking for this perfect black dress. And it had to be not too short, not too long, you know, long enough. And then, and then the shoes, like I got a pair of shoes from Clarks, Stacey, and I'm not a particular Clarks shoe wearer. Not only were they ugly, they were also really uncomfortable. And I can just remember saying this to people all day, get on there, even though they're ugly, they're uncomfortable. But the thought that had gone into this, you know, like I had makeup on and my hair was done. And One of my friends on my ride, she went, Oh, you look lovely. But I felt that part of my relationship with Ben was, you know, he would tease me about, you know, my peculiar taste in fashion or, but looking nice for him or just in general was so part of who I was. And I really wanted to look my best for him. Um, it feels kind of daft saying that out loud, but that is how I felt. And I think. For some people, turning up and possibly even managing to brush your hair is an achievement you got there. But for, like, much like you, it was my armour. If I had that armoury on, I was going to be able to stand up in that church. And that's, sorry, I've gone tangenty there again. But also, the pizza van turned up at the church, and people were buying the kids pizzas, and it just ended up being, I guess it turned into a party, which wakes off an hour. And my mum I mean, she always had concerns about my drinking as it transpires, rightly so. There was a one time I can remember where I sat up drinking with Ben's friends till like three in the morning, and the next day obviously I felt like death. And she didn't give me any grief, she just kind of like go sleep it off kind of thing. So you talk about this permission thing. To grieve, which is so important at a funeral. And I think that's what we had. And I kind of sat up reminiscing. I mean, I unfortunately, because of the biz, I don't remember what I said, but talking about Ben's university years and all this aspects of his life, I didn't know, and I think. And the kids went to bed really late. And they, like, some people came home from work. My house was full. There was a campervan on the drive. It was just, to say that it was fun feels really kind of harsh. But it

Stacey Heale:

no,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

also horrible.

Stacey Heale:

Yeah, no, it, I totally understand that. Um, weirdly, I think the Greg's funeral was one of, Oh, again, this is really hard to understand unless you have been through it, but it was weirdly one of the best days days of my life because obviously it was harrowing in a way that I have never experienced before and I can remember something very specific of like seeing the, seeing the hearse drive up the road and then being stood outside the crematorium while they were, while like the, the six

Rosie Gill-Moss:

What do you call them?

Stacey Heale:

Greg's life came and like, took, carried his

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Pool bearer. Pool bearer.

Stacey Heale:

yeah, the pallbearer, yeah. I mean, those are, those are kind of ingrained in my head as some of the most harrowing feelings I've ever felt. However, The love that I felt for Greg on that day from other people was, was out of this world. I have never, I've never seen that or felt that. It was so collective. There were so many people there and the conversations I had throughout that day. Um, It was so affirming of who he, who he was as a person that, and the bringing together of people that would never have been together again, like people from all different walks of his life and people who hadn't seen each other for 20, 30 years, reconnecting in the most horrible, awful of ways. But still it w there was a certain feeling there that was. Beautiful and it was because of Greg and it was a real representation of what he put out into the world

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Because I know I'm, many listeners will know, but also some will not. He was in a band, wasn't he?

Stacey Heale:

Yes,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So music must have been a big part of his life? What?!

Stacey Heale:

Yeah, and and we also had an open funeral in the in the sense that it wasn't Just private. It was anybody could come. And so actually, I think we probably had around 600 people that came. Yeah, which is, yeah, which is obviously insane. But I, I also felt really strongly about, I didn't want it to turn into, uh, You know, at weddings, not that I had this at my wedding, I had like, just immediate family at my wedding. But, uh, that whole thing that puts me off ever doing anything like that, where it's like, who do we invite? Who do we not invite? And I just thought, I can't get involved in that. And who am I to judge who should be allowed to grieve in the way that they want to, and pay their respects? I think that's a really big thing in death. And I really wanted to do. respect that in others, that if they wanted to come and pay their respects. Um, and I didn't, yeah, so, so it ended up being many people.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

a friend who's now a very close friend but was more sort of an acquaintance at the time, I can remember her messaging me and saying, What is the kind of protocol if you didn't know Ben but we know you? And I was like, Oh, come! Like if, if you know me and you know my kids or it doesn't actually, you know, if you've been touched in any way by his life or in, by his loss, um, and it's, it's kind of the advice I would give to anybody now is if you know, somebody who has lost their person, even if you feel like you might be being a bit of a vulture by going, or you, you, you're not quite sure whether it's overstepping a boundary, go, because for me, I mean, we, we didn't quite have 600, but there was a couple of hundred there and it was, it was, To look back at the church and to see people crammed in and to see grown men sobbing because what had happened was so horrific. I needed other people to feel this. And like you were in the full veil when my mum would say, Oh, um, someone says, is it black or do you want people to wear color? And I was like, no, I want people to wear black. I'm going to be wearing black.

Stacey Heale:

Yeah, do you know, do you know what, uh, what is interesting, actually, because it was, it was decided within Greg's family that they wanted everybody to wear jeans because Greg was never one for dressing up. He only ever wore jeans. So it was almost like a nod to him and I loved that and I think that it made sense. Um. But yeah, for me, I was like, no, no, no, no, I'm not wearing jeans. You, you all, you definitely all wear jeans. I'm not, because I've got my, my own agenda with this, and that I need to kind of

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And it's your own. And this is exactly it. You have to do in that moment. Yeah. You have to do what feels right whatever anybody else thinks and it's just I've just it popped into my head So I've got a chair, but I am took the boys into I was with my dad for some reason I can't remember why but so my dad watched tabby in the car and I ran into the big next in mates. I'm running To get their funeral clothes, right? So I'm in there one of them's having a paddy about something and this kind of old busybody lady just kind of I went, and you can fuck off! They're shopping for clothes for their dad's funeral! And,

Stacey Heale:

Oh, amazing.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I know that is not who I am, but you just, it's like just fuck off! And, this kind of anger came out. And, of course, I then, you know, bought them these black ties, and little shirts, and things, and I think Monty might've worn his for about He wouldn't wear the tie, he'd just wear a school shirt. Tab looked cute, I got her like a little black dress with a tutu on it. I mean But was it inappropriate? No,

Stacey Heale:

Bay wore a, um, uh, a Halloween costume.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

amazing. Which one?

Stacey Heale:

Um, a, uh, it was, it was the same ki it was the same kind of thing. It was, um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Like a widow costume.

Stacey Heale:

uh, like netting, like, uh, like a Halloween like netting kind of thing. Yeah. She looked great.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, exactly. And I've got a picture of my dad holding her. And, but for me, whilst I fully embrace wearing colors, if you know, doing whatever works for you in that moment, I did not want to celebrate Ben's life. I wanted to commiserate the life that would not happen. And, It felt important to me, and I guess with not having a body, you know, not, I actually didn't know whether to do anything, and I don't know even where the idea popped into my head, but I think I just thought, hang on a minute, I should do something. Because Ben's, his business was in France, he'd gone to university in Hull, parents lived on the Isle of Wight, I'm in Kent. So, How else can you get everybody together? You, you need to do that, that great union and, and, uh, Union? Oh God, I've gone too far now. And I actually, I did, Excuse me Ben, I'm there, but I wrote down something that I read that you had said and it was the importance of the power and healing and community and the collective human experience. Now I wrote, I did write this down because it's obviously what I'm trying to do here. You know, this is not for my personal gain. I have, um, made a grand statement. I don't put advertising on the podcast. Now that was a well and good one. I had 10 lists, but I am actually going to change that, but it's, it's not for personal gain. It is because I felt in the moment of my bereavement that I, I didn't have anybody who was like me. And Norma, Norma Kninney, I, I love her and I found her hugely helpful. But, also, she's American, right? And so,

Stacey Heale:

yeah. Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

you're desperate for that sense of connection. And I think, by talking about it, by writing about it, what we do is we do open up our world and go, Hiya! Like, you know, we're here in our leopard print and our pink hair. You know, it's not all old ladies. crying into their cups of tea that we are still young and vibrant and I guess that term changing the narrative is a bit cliche but that is kind of what I would like, I want to do and I know that's what you're doing as well. So, let's talk a little bit about your book, which is not even out for purchase, as I have pre ordered mine today, so I thought it'd be

Stacey Heale:

Oh, have you? Oh, thank you so much.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

it'd be very disingenuous to invite you on and then not have purchased it. So it is called, Now is Not the Time for Flowers. Which is, I like a lot. And a while ago, not long after I launched the podcast, I did a list of things to and not to do when somebody dies. And I think probably top of my list, if not, is flowers. And I felt really ungrateful because people did send me flowers, but they're just another thing to die. So whilst,

Stacey Heale:

to watch die. And they're another thing to look after.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

yes,

Stacey Heale:

They're another thing to think about and search, yeah, to feel guilty about, to search for, uh, receptacles to put them in, to look after, to watch die. Yeah, it's, uh, yeah, it's a problem.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So obviously that is where the inspiration for the title of your book came

Stacey Heale:

Uh, well, well, no, it, it, no, it's not actually. It's

Rosie Gill-Moss:

well, that's, that serves me right for being smug and saying, obviously.

Stacey Heale:

it's, um, well, that is, it was only afterwards that I, that I realised of like, oh yeah, that, um, that most certainly works entirely. And I've, I've always said the same of like, I'd said when I announced Greg's death, I was like, please don't send me any flowers. And actually people did, regardless, and I took them. All to Greg's mum. Greg's mum

Rosie Gill-Moss:

to the old people's home.

Stacey Heale:

so I took all of them there, and I, and like, her house was like a shop. It, because I was like, I don't want them in my house. I, I, it's too much for me. Um, no, the, the, where it came from for me was that I was talking about the idea of love, and about when, when, True love really comes to the surface and that we, we believe that true love is all about romance and hearts and glitter and flowers and, um, Valentine's Day and holidays and all these kind of big, big gestures. And I was talking about that. When I saw love really come into its own was when I was on my knees and when I was kind of pulverized by the, the weight of being Greg's carer, because actually in that space there was so many negative feelings, but there was love. And it was the truest, in the truest sense that you can imagine that kind of emanates out of you and, and the, it's actually a line from the book where, oh God. I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

on. Off the top of your head.

Stacey Heale:

but, but it's basically about being scrabbling around in the dirt when you are, when this real true love makes an appearance. And, uh, and the line is now is not the time for flowers in the dirt, meaning like it's in this space where you're with each other in this kind of like mutual deep love. It's not, it's not when things are blooming. That's not where true love is. It's not when you're in these, like, you know, you could be in a beautiful hotel, or on a lovely holiday, or having an expensive meal, or giving these, yeah, it's easy, it's so easy in those moments, but when it is really fucking hard, uh, that is when real love shows up, and, and it's, it's in those moments, as in like, That's not when, that's not when you have the flowers. You don't have that, uh, the glitter and the hearts popping behind you. It's, it is, I think, um, it's taken from a chapter that's called Love is the Color of Dirt, which is this idea that you, when you are in those moments in love, is when you are covered in dirt and you've got bruises on you and you're bleeding from your knees and And I don't think you have to have been a carer to have been in that situation. Like, thinking about you and your situation of how, how you were told about Ben dying and being thrown into this pit of despair on your own and about how love showed up in that moment for you. That is, it's the same thing.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And I genuinely think, and cliche and sort of try it as it sounds, that my love and respect for Ben and what we built has kept me going because I actually wasn't known for being a particularly strong person. I've generally lived with other people. Um, actually on the day Ben died, I was in the school playground, you know, cavalier. Oh, Ben died tomorrow. I'd have no idea how to pay the gas bill. So, um,

Stacey Heale:

Mmm.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I, I, I kind of owed it to him. And when you talk about hearing Greg's voice, there was a moment I went to look at a different primary school for my kids and I could just almost physically him going, just do it. It's, this is the right thing to do. And whilst you can't necessarily live your life in terms of what they would have wanted, there is a degree of me wanting to be the person that he thought I was, that he believed in me. You know, he thought I was literally the best thing since sliced bread. And I felt the same way about him. And I kind of owed it to him. And myself and my kids. To just kind of keep fucking going and to use that love because i've got there's a quote from a children's book and it's um Something like in the moonlit side love like starlight never dies And I really like that because yes, they have died but all and and there's the um There's another quote, you know, all that remains of us is love, because that is all that's going to remain of any of us. And we, we are fortunate that we have living, breathing, arguing, answering back little versions of our late spouses to, so we've got this kind of physical manifestation. But all that love that they poured into us, that's got to go somewhere. It's, it doesn't just vanish, does it? That, I don't know, I'm probably not doing a terribly articulate way of explaining this, but

Stacey Heale:

I totally, I totally understand you. I totally get it. I feel like if you have lived next to somebody for so long, a bit, yeah, a bit like you were saying about hearing what they would say in any particular situation, you became, um, you became the person you are because they were next to you. Because of their influence, because of how the dynamic worked between the two of you. So, actually, even when they're gone and they're not here, that still exists because you've, they, their influence on you is still out in the world in everything you do. And I take, I take great solace in that. I think that for me, I don't need to visit a psychic to try to get in contact with Greg. I don't need to believe in Robins or white feathers or signs. For me, I am just like, God, you know what? I feel him. I just feel like, and I don't mean like, I believe he's here. I, I, I know him. I know how he made me feel. I know, um, how he would react to things. And, and there's like, there's an energy that comes from that, and I, I, I feel that,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Out of curiosity, have you done anything, and I don't mean anything lewd or under pressure or anything like that, but have you done anything that Greg, like, really wouldn't have approved of? That's a big question, isn't it? I'm just thinking, like, stupid things, like, Ben wasn't a fan of my nose ring, and it wasn't like he sat me down and went, you have to take your nose ring out, but over the years I got a proper job, took it out, and then it was about a year or so after he died, and I was like, I could put my nose ring back in. just like a stupid little thing, but I was like, Oh, I, I, I'm going to do

Stacey Heale:

yeah, uh, it was, I wouldn't have said it was like a thing that he, that Greg would, um, disagree with, but I redecorated my bedroom, and I did it in a way that was exactly how I wanted it. And, um, yeah. And I was a bit like, oh my god, I'm getting a bit too much joy out of this. Of like, being like, wow! I don't have to ask anybody for if they like it. I just get to have it exactly as I want. And I, yeah. Again, do you know what? That's one of those really complicated, nuanced things that like, I don't know if you get until you've been through it.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

No. And I think when you've been with somebody for a very long time as well, you are a unit, you make your decisions together. Like yourself, you know, we had our first bought a house, had children, got married, did all this sort of growing up together. And then all of a sudden the buck stops with you and there's nobody to say, what do you think about this? Do you think this is the right choice? So, I became an adult, I think, for want of a better term, because I do tend to look to other people for answers, and, I mean, there's jokes in there, you know, when you look around for the responsible adult and realise it's you, well, that, that's how I felt. But, Not that I would, in a million years, wish this upon myself and the fact that I've had to find out this about myself through such a brutal way. But I am a better person. I am. I'm definitely kinder. I'm more compassionate. I'm sober. I, um, I've built a new career out of something that I would never have had the balls to just sit behind a microphone and talk about my life. And So all of that has happened as a result of this horrible thing, but it's that taking a terrible thing and trying to find something good to do with it. And I think if you can do that, then that's where you find your hope.

Stacey Heale:

I think it's a very weird, it's a weird dynamic, isn't it? It's a weird thing to be involved in because I felt exactly the same of that. I feel like a better person in general. I think I'm, uh, I'm way less judgmental.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh god, yeah.

Stacey Heale:

Weirdly, I feel, um, more able to access a lot of happiness in a way that I couldn't before. Um, I think I enjoy things. More. I think I, I, I've got bigger ideas about what I want to do. I don't have as many limitations on myself. And I think that all of that comes from knowing that this ends. And I don't mean in an, in an abstract way of like, well, we all gonna die, aren't we? I'm like, yeah. But

Rosie Gill-Moss:

But we are.

Stacey Heale:

fucking are. But we really, really are. And it's gonna come sooner than you think. Um, and I think with that knowledge, comes this feeling of like, Wow, I've got to live. I've got to live, because who knows when the next phone call's gonna come. Who knows when the next doctor's appointment's gonna come. And, it is a very strange feeling. idea and feeling to reckon with because it comes from, it's in direct correlation with the demise. Of the person you love the most. And how do you come to terms with that?

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And

Stacey Heale:

such a, it's such, it's such a weird feeling, such a weird feeling.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

you go through massive health anxiety as well? You know

Stacey Heale:

Oh my God. Oh, don't. Oh, don't like constantly, constantly. And even now I have to say to people, um, people I'm really close to. We'll start a story. They'll like, Long winded story about something and I sometimes can be a bit rude about things where I'm like cut to the chase Tell me what happened because I'm like, I I can't cope anymore I can't hear of like, oh I spoke to so and so she's been to see the doctors So she went there and you know, she was telling him and I'm like, oh

Rosie Gill-Moss:

to die?

Stacey Heale:

Just tell me are they gonna die? Like I can't do the preamble. I like or if they're you know Don't send me a message saying give me a ring when you can No, no, do not say that to me. So yeah, I feel very, yeah. I mean, I feel like, like I was saying, I feel like my ability to kind of grasp joy in a bigger way to set myself bigger, bigger, expansive, uh, goals of how to live, I think

Rosie Gill-Moss:

going to happen? You're going to die, right? I mean, that's,

Stacey Heale:

yeah. And I. I, yeah, exactly. And also, I think that, you know, there is the, the ying to the yang in that I've got all these other, these positive, you know, you could class them as positive things. But there is also, like you said, there's the health anxiety, there's the terror of when the, the, the next thing's going to happen. There is the real brokenness inside me of. The, the lack of naivety that I will never get back, I will never, ever be able to see the world in that, in that kind of really lovely, naive way ever again, I will never have that. So I suppose it's kind of, do you know what? I'm, I'm thrilled at the payoff. If I've got to have, it's a bit like me wearing my ridiculous, crazy widow outfit. It's the, do you know what? If I've got to be plagued by all of these, thoughts and broken feelings for the rest of my life about how I've seen life work, then do you know what? I want to feel happy. I want to fit, I want to be able to feel joy and growth and, and take risks. I want to be able to do that because it's the only payoff for having dealt with so much shit.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, I, I entirely agree with you, and I'm prone to bouts of, um, low mood. I'm not depressed, and I feel quite, this is something I've battled with the diagnosis of depression, because I'm not depressed, but neurological conditions, you know, I am prone, prone to sort of bouts of darkness, which I, you know, I'm managing in a veritable concoction of ways, um, but, What frustrates me in that moment is, I've been given another chance at life. I've, I, so many people don't find loved ones, and I've found it twice. And I get so, you know, don't waste it, and, although that can become another stick to beat myself with, there's also an element of, no, pull yourself together, because you, you're here. You're still here. Um, sometimes it's easier said than done, but I think that your attitude is, is kind of similar to mine, so obviously I like it, but that, I'm not dead. I'm not dead. The person I loved is, and that is awful, and nothing I ever say, or do, or accomplish, or achieve is ever going to make that okay. But, I'm not. And my son, and I actually, I, I, I, this is just, again, just popped into my head, but my, so my teenage boy, completely unprompted, I was talking about the podcast, and I was saying, oh God, I'm going to put out episode 100 this week, and then, you know, sit next to him, and he just looked at me, completely out of the blue, and went, Dad would be so proud of you, you know. And I

Stacey Heale:

Oh, God,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I know,

Stacey Heale:

a killer.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I know, I know. But then you just think all that work that you've put into pulling yourself, you know, you kind of, you've stared into the abyss, right? And we've been dangled over and you've managed to hook yourself back. And each time you come back from the edge, you get a little bit further back from the edge and it becomes a little bit scary, less scary, but it's, it takes guts and it takes, you know, I'm going to say it, resilience, to get yourself off that ledge and back into the world of the living. And I think that you are incredible for what you've done. I really can't wait to read your book. There was the lure of a, um, missing a, um, an email copy, but, um, unfortunately you didn't follow through on that. So I can't

Stacey Heale:

Oh my god, did I, oh, I'm so sorry. I'm,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

sat in front of the microphone. So I'm, I'm pretending it's your fault. It's not,

Stacey Heale:

do you, do you want me to send you, uh, the email version

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I would love to.

Stacey Heale:

have the bit? Oh, okay. Yep. Right.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, why not?

Stacey Heale:

do, PDF to Rosie. Yep. Okay.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

if you forget, don't worry

Stacey Heale:

I'm not going to, it's, it's now,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

order. Is it on your

Stacey Heale:

on my, It's now on my pad of many, many things to do.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I have a blackboard in my kitchen that I write down every morning what's on that day and what time because Oh, and then I have a year planner stuck to a different wall that's supposed to have all the big events that will happen. I mean, I try and hack myself. I really try. It still ends up in carnage. But anyway, Stacey, I will not keep you any longer, but thank you ever so much for coming on and talking to me today. I feel like we probably could have fitted another hour of chat actually, so I might hoik you back in again at some point to talk about other

Stacey Heale:

I think, I think we could have done. I think, yeah, I think we think quite similarly about a lot

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I think you're probably right. And also, just to, um, for our listeners, I really would recommend getting this book. I say it as, I've not read it, but I've read books. extracts from it, and, as I said earlier in the interview, I am insanely jealous that you Because this podcast came about because I wanted to write a book, but I could

Stacey Heale:

Oh, okay.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

write. So I decided that I would start collecting stories thinking I'd maybe get ten or fifteen. Well, it's, it's rolled, it's, it's,

Stacey Heale:

my god.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

so at some point I'm, I, I've got this kind of abstract idea of turning people's stories into a book, but, um, so I'm really,

Stacey Heale:

idea.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

yeah, well, you know, you get to be in it now,

Stacey Heale:

Wow.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

but so thank you for coming on and, and for sharing your story and for talking about Greg and I wish you all the best with the book and, um, I hope to, hopefully our parts will cross again soon, but for now you take care,

Stacey Heale:

Thank you. Thank you so much.

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