Widowed AF

S2 - EP4 - Jess Walton

May 20, 2024 Rosie Gill-Moss Season 2 Episode 4
S2 - EP4 - Jess Walton
Widowed AF
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Widowed AF
S2 - EP4 - Jess Walton
May 20, 2024 Season 2 Episode 4
Rosie Gill-Moss

In this episode of Widowed AF, host Rosie Gill-Moss speaks to Jess Walton, a young widow from Swanley, North Kent.

Jess shares the story of her late husband, Matthew, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 28. Despite initial dismissals by doctors, further tests confirmed the rare and aggressive cancer.

Jess walks us through their journey, detailing the challenges of chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and radiotherapy, and how they managed these treatments while maintaining their daily lives.

She shares their decision to marry in October 2018 and their honeymoon in Canada, as they tried to reclaim a sense of normalcy.

The conversation shifts to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives, highlighting how the lockdown complicated Matthew's health care and the eventual return and spread of his cancer. Jess provides practical insights into managing serious illness and young widowhood during such unprecedented times.

Jess is now preparing her own significant challenge: a five-day trek in the Brecon Beacons for the charity CoppaFeel!, aimed at raising awareness about male breast cancer. This trek is not only a tribute to Matthew but also a testament to Jess's strength and determination to honour his memory.

For those interested in supporting Jess and she has setup a fundraising page here

https://www.justgiving.com/page/jess-walton

Tune in now to Widowed AF  to hear Jess Walton's story.



Trigger Warnings: 

1. Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment.
2. Death and Bereavement.
3. COVID-19 Pandemic.
4. Grief and Loss.
5. Secondary Loss.

#WidowedAF #TrueStories #CancerJourney #YoungWidowhood



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

Don't forget to subscribe !

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode of Widowed AF, host Rosie Gill-Moss speaks to Jess Walton, a young widow from Swanley, North Kent.

Jess shares the story of her late husband, Matthew, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 28. Despite initial dismissals by doctors, further tests confirmed the rare and aggressive cancer.

Jess walks us through their journey, detailing the challenges of chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and radiotherapy, and how they managed these treatments while maintaining their daily lives.

She shares their decision to marry in October 2018 and their honeymoon in Canada, as they tried to reclaim a sense of normalcy.

The conversation shifts to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives, highlighting how the lockdown complicated Matthew's health care and the eventual return and spread of his cancer. Jess provides practical insights into managing serious illness and young widowhood during such unprecedented times.

Jess is now preparing her own significant challenge: a five-day trek in the Brecon Beacons for the charity CoppaFeel!, aimed at raising awareness about male breast cancer. This trek is not only a tribute to Matthew but also a testament to Jess's strength and determination to honour his memory.

For those interested in supporting Jess and she has setup a fundraising page here

https://www.justgiving.com/page/jess-walton

Tune in now to Widowed AF  to hear Jess Walton's story.



Trigger Warnings: 

1. Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment.
2. Death and Bereavement.
3. COVID-19 Pandemic.
4. Grief and Loss.
5. Secondary Loss.

#WidowedAF #TrueStories #CancerJourney #YoungWidowhood



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

Don't forget to subscribe !

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And a very warm welcome back to your friendly widowed podcast. You're here with your host. That's me, Rosie Gill-Moss and joining me today. I've got Jess. Hello, Jess.

Jess Walton:

Hello, thanks for having me.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Do you know, I can't remember where you're from. Whereabouts are you in the

Jess Walton:

Um, I'm in Swanley, like North Kent,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, you're not far from me. I'm in Westmoreland. In fact, my son is in Swanley right now. As we speak, he's gone to do, um, some activity thing up there. There we go. I digress.

Jess Walton:

weird.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So first of all, welcome to the podcast and you're, you are quite a young widow. I mean, I'm looking at you. I'm not necessarily, the guests might not be able to, sorry, the listeners won't be able to see necessarily, but I know that your husband died when you were just 31, which I can't even comprehend that actually being so young. So I'm going to ask you Jess, cause I don't know much about your story, which is kind of how I like it. I like to listen. Um, as you tell the story. So, I, I know that his name was Matthew and I know that he died from cancer, but that's about it. So, in your own words, would you mind just telling the listeners your story and how you, you ended up to be in this club so young?

Jess Walton:

Yeah. Oh, it's quite a, like, the story goes back quite a few years. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

we've got time.

Jess Walton:

yeah. So, he, he actually had, um, breast cancer, which is super, super rare for a man, obviously. Um, he found a tiny, tiny lump, um, back in, like, May 2017, so he was only 28. Um, and everyone was like, well, it's not going to be anything, especially me. I was very dismissive. I was like, why would you even go to a doctor? It's like, it's nothing, but

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm impressed that you went, actually.

Jess Walton:

I know. So his mom is very like, was very good with it and made him go. Definitely. It wasn't, yeah, I was just quite like, well, it's fine. Um, yeah, yeah. It doesn't really, does it? And then he. The GP was just like, it won't be anything, like, don't worry about it, but sent him to the hospital anyway. Like, they were quite thorough with it, but just were quite dismissive at the same time. Like, not sure, really. Um, yeah, so he went to the hospital, and the doctor, like, felt it and did some tests and stuff, and they were like, you know what, don't worry about it, it won't be anything bad, like, I'm sure it's just like a cyst, don't worry. But did kind of a few tests, did a little, um biopsy just in case and then we literally got a phone call like a day or two later saying like come in the next day and we were like oh that's

Rosie Gill-Moss:

That's not a call you want to get, is it? No.

Jess Walton:

and then we walked into the doctor's room um at the hospital and there was a Macmillan nurse there and they were like oh don't worry it's just like there's just a nurse here and while you're like oh shit like To me, I was like, what is cancer? Like, straight away before they even said anything. Of course, you think the worst. Um, and yeah, then it was said it was breast cancer and we were like, what? Like,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Jess Walton:

just couldn't believe it. Like, we were so young. I was only, well, I was only 26 and I was like, what? Like, I don't even know anyone that's, yeah. I was like, I don't even know anyone that's had cancer at this point of my life. Like, it's such a. Like, far away concept.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And you know what? You're so right, these things don't even, I mean, they're not on our radar until they are

Jess Walton:

No, until they

Rosie Gill-Moss:

smacking us around the chops, right?

Jess Walton:

Yeah, literally. So yeah, that was all just trying to figure out what type it was, like further biopsies, other tests to see, like scans to see whether it had gone anywhere else, and yeah, just full on.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

at this point you're thinking he's young, fit, either caught it early, so you, you're kind of, I imagine, quite positive, even though you're not the word, but you wouldn't necessarily be leaping straight to worst case

Jess Walton:

no, yeah, I think I was quite matter of fact about it and was just like, well, we're gonna do this, this, this, like, get it done, you'll be kind of fine, and we'll just get through this, whatever. Um, but yeah, when he had biopsies, they were like, yeah, this is like one of the most aggressive forms we've seen, like, it's, in your lymph nodes already which is like under his armpit so it already moved slightly but it wasn't anywhere else in his body so it was kind of a middle ground of how bad it could have been really at that point but yeah they were still really positive because he was so young and like healthy um so they did chemotherapy straight away like every three weeks um which took it out of him quite a lot like it does like so many side effects to try and deal with and You try and become, like, an expert in everything, but you're not, like, trying to work full time, like, both of us, and trying to be like, Oh, what's this drug do? What, what's, how do we deal with this side effect? And,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm at such a young age as well when really most people's concerns are, you know, which flavour of vodka they're going to have on a Friday night and, and you're having to become a cancer expert and I know from living with John, whose wife died from cancer, how much knowledge you, you, and he would have, he had a laminated folder because he was repeating himself so much. I don't think at 26 I would have been able to comprehend this, this diagnosis of this magnitude.

Jess Walton:

Yeah, and I don't know if I ever did. You know, when you just, you just have to do certain things to get through, go to appointments and sit in a chemo ward with everyone that's over 50, generally, and you're like sitting there like, what are we doing here? Like, this is just not where I want to be at all.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

else's life.

Jess Walton:

it was just like, what, yeah, what is going on? And then after chemo, he had a mastectomy, um, just on the one side, which Yeah, it was hard, it was not, I don't know, I don't know what I expected but it was very hard to recover from because his body was already quite weak from the chemo so then to have like quite a major operation it was like Now we can't go out for like a month, like now you need to recover and it was just like been through this for six months of chemo and now we've got to like just try and, I don't know, recover from a major surgery. It was just, yeah, very difficult. Yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Now I, I, I have not experienced any, any cancer myself, but a friend of mine, um, has had breast cancer and another one is, is, is breast cancer. Is in the process of fighting it now? And I didn't realize quite how invasive mastectomies are. And particularly I'm thinking with a man where there isn't the, the fatty tissue that women have, it would have been really quite a, and you know, it affects your arm mobility and all sorts, doesn't it? And how.

Jess Walton:

to recover from as a man.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I was going to say, and I realise I'm interrupting you a lot Jess, but I am, it's genuinely because I'm interested, and I'm a bit of a nosy cow, but I'm just wondering what his mental health was like at this point, because men, it's a very, breast cancer is a predominantly female disease, so he might have, and also with his age, and I'm guessing that he must, and you, must have felt quite isolated, and a bit like he was sort of being stripped of his masculinity, I don't know if I'm, you know,

Jess Walton:

no, yeah, it was, it was a very odd time because obviously if you go into a like a breast clinic, like where women go for like regular checkups and stuff like that, like everyone's older, but they're also all women, like you don't really see men there at all. So I feel like people would look at me being like, Oh, well, you're obviously

Rosie Gill-Moss:

They're assuming it's you.

Jess Walton:

And then when they call like a man's name, I feel like everyone in the room turns around like, What? Like, what's going on with, like, that kind of thing? And the nurses were all really nice and stuff, but it was just a different concept. Like, they just didn't know how to deal with a man with it. Like, even doing mammograms and stuff like that. It's just, how do you do that on a man? Like, it's just not done. But it's not done until it needs to be done. And then it's just painful and it's embarrassing and it's It's just, yeah, horrible for him, definitely, just very, yeah, I think the age and obviously what it was, it was just, he didn't want to tell people, it was a bit like, embarrassing I suppose, but it didn't need to be, yeah, it wasn't obviously anything he'd done or anything, but, yeah, and then obviously, having the mastectomy is, obviously affects a woman massively, but it still affects the man and how they look afterwards, and. Like, your body's still different and it's still hard to accept

Rosie Gill-Moss:

surgery as well, isn't it? Hmm.

Jess Walton:

yeah, hard to recover from, like you said, without the tissue and stuff like that. It's just, it takes longer and I don't think the nurses in that really knew how the recovery would be for him. Because I don't know if they'd even ever seen it before. Like, it's, it's super, super rare. Yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

that you love when they're going through something like this. And the term that I've heard is, is cancer adjacent. And it's when it's not you that has the cancer, but you are going through the process alongside someone. And we know, and I'm not speaking ill of any doctor, but we know that people on cancer drugs and going through, they can be angry and frustrated and Frightened. And if you're the person closest, you often have to deal with a little bit of the blow. You know, you have to take a bit of the, um, force of the blow for them. that must be very lonely. Again, I keep harking back to your age, and I realise you're not a child. But, you know, it is young, it is young. And 26, you're not I didn't have any friends who were widowed when Ben died, and I was in my late 30s. So, you're highly unlikely to have had any, and I'm just thinking, did you have any support, or was it kind of the two of you against the world?

Jess Walton:

I think we were very much like, just, there's just me and you, like, we're both really close to our families, but we got together when we were teenagers. Like we, that's all we knew. Like we were just one half of each other. Like I didn't want anyone else to help him. Like I wanted to do everything, which obviously is not very sustainable, but somehow it was for a time. Um, Yeah, we just, I don't, yeah, we're just, we were just with each other, like we didn't really want anyone else involved or to put burden on anyone else really.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, that word burden, that's

Jess Walton:

is like that, it is that isn't it, sometimes.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

and it's that kind of realization that the buck stops with you guys, you know, that you, you had, you had to become, you know, incredibly mature in a very short time, I suspect. So, you said that he didn't really tell anybody, um, a presumably close family and So, So take me back again, so he's had the chemo and he's had the surgery and you're sort of um, you know, hunkering down together as it were, helping him recover. And then, that's back in 2017, so talk to me a little bit about what happened next.

Jess Walton:

Um, so we had like a month of radiotherapy in like the January, February 2018 and then He was on like hormone drugs, which were gonna be for like five years, but that was kind of it. They're like, right, okay, get on with your life now, basically. They just, like, they would, they didn't say he's like disease free, but he was as disease free as they could tell, like there was nothing, no evidence of disease. You know, it could be there and delay and really, but yeah, it was kind

Rosie Gill-Moss:

their sort of get out, is

Jess Walton:

yeah, we don't know kind of thing, but get on with your lives. Don't worry about it. So yeah, so we tried our best to kind of move on a little bit. I suppose he was obviously still. weak getting over chemo and stuff like that, but we got married in the October of 2018, which was always kind of planned anyway and we still did it, but yeah, there was only like 18 just, we just wanted to just do it. And like, yeah, it was like, it wasn't about the wedding, it was just, we want to be married now. Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

That's giving me goosebumps

Jess Walton:

it was

Rosie Gill-Moss:

John and, John and I eloped and married on our own in lockdown because um, we just wanted to be married and I'm, I'm glad that you got to do that. I think micro

Jess Walton:

yeah. It's the way forward. Um, yeah, so then we had a great honeymoon in Canada for like three weeks,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

spend the money on the

Jess Walton:

we'd always planned to go and then we would have gone probably a few years before with the, like, the year before with the cancer and stuff. But yeah, we did it. He was exhausted for most of it, but I think he was glad we did it. It was

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And I bet you're glad

Jess Walton:

Yeah, so bad, yeah. It was our, like, one adventure, really, like, epic trip. But yeah. Um, yeah, and then all good, like, just living life, you know. We had the dog, we just had a Labrador, just, yeah, you know. Trying to get on with it, trying to forget that We'd been through so much, really. I don't think we were the best at dealing with it. I think we just kind of ignored it and tried to move on, which, you know, you do what you do, don't you know, so carry on really. But, um, obviously then COVID happened 2020, March 2020 or whenever it was, and then he started getting a cough, like by the summer, maybe like June, July, and I was like, You need to do something about this like because they told us to look out for like pains, coughs, you know, anything different really just to look out for it. Obviously, by that point, it's too late if you've already got a symptom, you know, like they say look out for it, but he, I think in his head knew that it wasn't going to be great. So I think he ignored it for a little while and didn't really tell me things. Like when you think about it afterwards, like hindsight, you're like. I know you thought things like that. But yeah, eventually, yeah, eventually went to the doc, uh, I think he just rang the cancer unit, went straight to the cancer unit for like scans and stuff and just told them what, what he had, what symptoms he had. Um, and the results of that were He had to do all this on his own because it was COVID and stuff, but the results were given to us over the phone because I said, I don't want him being told things without me there. And they were actually like, okay, we'll call you if any news, like they were quite good with it. Um, but yeah, called us and basically said it's, um, back in like. Both lungs and in his spine, so it was like, and yeah, to hear that over the phone, we were like, like, just felt even more surreal, I think, being on the phone rather than in person.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And in lockdown, when everything's a bit

Jess Walton:

that was like full lockdown, like summer 2020, it was. Like, how do you tell anyone?

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I wrote down on your, I told you I made notes, about the fact that he was diagnosed initially in 2017 and I've written a note saying that because of his age, you know, had that been COVID times, would he have been seen? And then of course, you've now just, he then got cancer again in COVID, which is, as we know, the worst time to go anywhere near a hospital or have medical treatment.

Jess Walton:

And it was very different. Obviously, I went to, yeah, it was just so different being COVID. Obviously, it affects everything. Like, immediately into, like, isolated and not being able to leave the house for months. Like, I couldn't go to work. Obviously, didn't go to any, we just didn't go out. We walked the dog and that was it. Which, like, other people were I don't know when things opened up a bit going at least to a supermarket and we were like no can't like literally leave the house like we can't see family

Rosie Gill-Moss:

you were terrified. I bet you were absolutely terrified.

Jess Walton:

Yeah, so the prognosis at that point was two to three years at best, so I think we obviously went for the three, three years thinking, right, we'll get out of COVID, we'll at least be able to do some things, you know, you might feel shit, but we'll make the most of it kind of thing. And then, yeah, I started, he started chemos and stuff straight away, like. They were quite good but obviously I couldn't go to any appointments or anything like that and it was a lot of information for him to take on. Obviously like, oh this drug does this, but you might feel this and you know, just trying to pick up on all the different scenarios really. And

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Need a medical

Jess Walton:

yeah, so hard and him being on his own and obviously just upset with the whole thing. I think he was just very kind of sad and at that point and I was a bit more like, come on Matt. A bit more hopeful, I suppose.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I think in any relationship, one of you is always up and down, that you have that seesaw effect. So I notice if I'm low, like John will kind of pick up the slack and vice versa. And that sounds like what you were doing here. He's very, very scared and sad and probably shutting down a bit. Um, and so you're kind of rallying around and at the very least trying to make sure that he has a positive last few years. Um. Now this was, weren't you saying this was 2020? No, he didn't get three years, did he? Because I know when he

Jess Walton:

No, so he was relatively well for most of the chemos. Like, I think because a lot of them weren't really doing much, I don't think the side effects hit him as badly, in a way, like, because it wasn't really helping him. Um, but they just kept trying different drugs. There'd be some good news, some bad news, like You'd have a few cycles of one drug and they're being like, right, it's hot. Like, it was the main issue was one of the, um, one of the tumours in the lungs was quite big. So their main issue was if we get that down a bit, like, you'll be more comfortable. You'll be able to breathe. He kept getting fluid on his lungs, which makes you cough and, you know, not being able to sleep when you've had a cough for six months. Like, it's just all the, trying to just make him. Like,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Knock on effects, isn't it?

Jess Walton:

so, yeah, some good news, like, oh, the tumour's halved, and then you feel really positive, and then there'd be like one more cycle, oh, it didn't do anything, change it, and I'm, I kept being like, can we not give it a bit longer, and they were like, no, you need to change it to this drug, change it to this drug, and yeah, eventually, I think he was on one, like, we had a phone call, only like a month before he died, saying, oh, this is, this one's really good, like, this one's working, like, well, it's shrinking, like, it'll make you feel better, and then, yeah. Like a family kind of tragedy in a way, his, his dad died in October, 2021, relatively suddenly had a short illness and died in intensive care, um, in the October, 2021. So he was obviously might as midway through chemo cycles and then trying to be at a hospital with his dad. It was just awful. And then he just kind of went downhill really, like his dad died and then it just kind of, he just seemed like he, his body just was like I can't, I can't cope anymore and just kind of gave up a bit really. He had, I think he had chemo like the day before his dad died and then that last cycle was just Awful. Obviously he was just devastated and then couldn't, so he ended up, um, he just had really bad chemo side effects. Like he had really sore hands and feet, which sounds really weird, but it was literally couldn't stand on it. It sounded like he was standing. It felt like he was standing on like pins and I couldn't even like, touch his hand. It was just like a weird side effect to have, but it was awful.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

guests that said this, I'm sure it was. And his wife loved to have her hand held. And he said it, one of the most, one of the things that the cancer stole was just that. Can't, that sort of physical touch, you know, just being able to hold hands because she couldn't.

Jess Walton:

Mm-Hmm. Yeah. So yeah, he. I went to his dad's funeral and then literally couldn't get out of bed the next day. So I think I left him for a bit and then called an ambulance because I was just like, I don't know what to do, like, you're in so much pain, you can't eat. He had mouth ulcers, which is also a chemo thing, couldn't eat, like wouldn't really drink that much. And I was like, I don't know kind of what to do. It was, hospitals were opened up a bit more by then. So like, I thought if I call an ambulance, I can at least maybe go with him, just kind of figure out what's going on. Like, I didn't really think he was. Um, yeah, so he went off in the ambulance and Yeah, then was in hospital for a week and literally when he'd been in there like a day or two and it was just like, I was just like, oh my god, like, you've just gone downhill so quickly. Like, it was just not expected at all, but I still thought he was getting better. He had, um, like an infection by that point, um, quite a bad one, just They didn't even really know why, just his body so low, immune system so low, um, but they still seemed really positive to me. I don't know if, you know, when you're like a bit blinded, but I think they seemed positive, like we can, we can treat this, like he'd probably be okay, and then The day before he died, they said to me, oh, this is bad, like it's 50 50. And I was like, how have we gone from let's give him all the drugs, like we can do this, to, like, giving up. It felt like giving up. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Jess Walton:

so yeah, it was like we didn't really know it was as bad as it was. Well, I don't think I knew it was as bad as it was, but I don't think they did either. I think because he was so young, he still looked relatively healthy, like he was a big guy. He was like six foot one, he just looked. Healthy and young, relatively, um, yeah, and then he, um, on the day he died, in the morning he, um, his mum and his sister had come to see him and his brother, I think, and he was just like, can everyone just go home? Like, I really just want to be with Jess, like. I don't want everyone here. Like, it was like, it was too, he was too tired. He just couldn't, yeah, it wasn't in a, I don't want to see you. It was just in a, I need a rest. I don't want to have everyone here. So yeah, I think they'd asked me about a DNR that morning that he died and I just hadn't, I was like, no, I'm not having this conversation. I just literally avoided it. I was like, I can't. It was, I was on my own with him a lot of the time, and they kept asking me things, talking to me, and I was like, I can't, like, this is too much for me on my own. And I also was very aware that he was there, he was asleep, he was out of it a lot of the time, but he was there, like, how are you asking me to, like, answer these questions with, when he's there, he's, he can hear you, or I thought we could hear them, like, so yeah, I kind of was just like, no, I'm not, I'm not, I'm not asking you. And we spoke about it as a family, and was like, They kind of agreed that I needed to make that decision, it was up to me. And

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Gosh,

Jess Walton:

I was gonna talk, my, I, my, in my head I was like I need to talk to him about it. I need to explain that I've been asked this and what he would think about it. Not really thinking, oh he's too out of it to know at this point. But yeah, we didn't, we didn't get to that conversation really. We were just, his family went home, we were just sitting together. I just kept talking to him, just random. Things to say he's like half asleep half awake and at one point he wakes up and like looks at me so I like stood up over him and was like giving him a hug and I love you so much and he'd like because I was awake. I was so excited I was like, let's hug him and talked it and I was just like, oh, I love you so much And he was like, oh, I love you more than ever and then literally two seconds later He stopped breathing like literally just like that. Yeah, it was Horrendous.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh my god, that's made me do the, the goosey thing on my

Jess Walton:

it was

Rosie Gill-Moss:

But as far as last words

Jess Walton:

I know, and that's, like, obviously with me forever, but that,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

should have it tattooed

Jess Walton:

I know, and it's what he always used to say, I love you more than ever, like, that was just his thing. But yeah, and then he literally just, like, obviously they, because I hadn't signed the DNR, they tried CPR and stuff like that, which they probably shouldn't have done, but in the moment, I was just, like, helping him, like, do something. It was me just, I know, obviously in a complete state on my own. In this room, I was just like, do something. But obviously, it didn't, obviously he was too ill for that.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Too late.

Jess Walton:

yeah, so I called his, obviously called his family and was like, come now. And by the time the doctor came in to tell us that he was gone, his family had arrived. So I was like Obviously, those 20 minutes, half an hour when they were, doctors were with him and his family were on their way, I was just like, oh my god, I don't know, you know, I just, I don't know what I did or what happened.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It just doesn't feel

Jess Walton:

No, it didn't, of

Rosie Gill-Moss:

because you, it's like being out of body, um, and I've compared it to being, I was watching Broadchurch at the time and it felt like I was in an episode of Broadchurch, which, I don't know if you watch that BBC thing, and it, it just, I think it's your brain's protection, I think it's protecting you from the magnitude of what's happening, but I, I just, I'm just picturing you, you know, WAYting outside this

Jess Walton:

hmm. I know.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

room and not knowing what's happening and, and all on your own. And I want to go back in time and give Jess a cuddle.'cause I bet you are only up the road as

Jess Walton:

Yeah, yeah, I was just, yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So you've now got, you've had to call the family and you're standing at the hospital and you are WAYting for confirmation

Jess Walton:

Yeah, obviously I think I knew, but I was just like, try.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Anything, any

Jess Walton:

Yeah, at that point,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Any glimmer.

Jess Walton:

of course. Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Um, and then what happens next? So they've come, they did, they go and say goodbye? Were you able to say,

Jess Walton:

Yeah, we all, we all went back in to see him. Um, yeah, and just, yeah, he just stayed there for as long as you can. And then you're like, uh, I suppose I'm meant to leave now. Like, what, what, what happens now? Like, I remember clear, like clearing up his staff. We'd been there a week, like we'd accumulated a lot of things. Like I'd been staying there for a couple of nights. I was just like. Okay, now I've gotta pack up this room and like,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

and go.

Jess Walton:

It was the most surreal, surreal thing.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, it, it, it, the whole losing your partner is just horrific, however it happens. But this feels like it was particularly brutal because you seem to be given

Jess Walton:

yeah, it

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And now, And hope is really important, like, really important. We need hope to survive. If hope goes, we're weird. But, it's, it's all, false hope is quite harmful, I think. And I'm not saying it was the medical staff's fault, or they did it deliberately, of course I'm not, but that glimmer all the time that he might be okay, it means that when he died, I'm guessing it was still in a way a shock, because you're still, there's a lot of bargaining, and you're thinking, well, if they do this, if they do this, he'll be okay, and then suddenly He's not. And for it to happen that quickly, it's like a mixture of a terminal illness and a sudden death all rolled into one for you.

Jess Walton:

we expected it, like, there was so much unsaid, like. We'd had a year and a bit since the, like, the secondary diagnosis, so there's perhaps conversations we should have had, but I think we both expected the end to be different, like, my view on kind of cancer deaths was more like at home or at a hospice, like, slowly, like, we'd know when it was coming, like, he wouldn't be suffering as much as I thought, as he was, perhaps, like, he'd have better drugs or better, I don't know, like,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

think that's

Jess Walton:

to handle, yeah, like, just different, like, and I think he wanted to die at home, like, the hospital, one of the worst place, like, his dad had died there a month before, like, it was the worst thing ever, like, he kept saying I'm gonna die here like my dad did, and it was like, oh my god, like, I don't want it to be like this, I wanted it to be calm and, I don't know, just different, you just expect it to be different.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

But can, I mean, I know we, and I talk about the idea of a good death, and if you're trying to give people a good death, if you possibly can, it's as important as your good birth, blah, blah, blah. And I know that from hearing you talk that he didn't have the death that you imagined. Not that. Um, and you guys didn't have the life that you imagined firstly, but I, and whether it's my place to say or not, but I want you to know that as I'm listening to you talk and I'm making all these notes and I can see you and I'm the only thing I'm. Really, um, absorbing is how much you loved him and how much you were there for him throughout this entire process. So no, maybe he wasn't able to be at home or in hospice, but you were right there. And his last words to you were full of love and your words to him were full of love. And I, I don't know if it's a comfort, but I would try and take some comfort, if you can. My last words to Ben were, I love you, be safe, darling. Ironic, right? But, um, we didn't leave on an argument, we hadn't had a row, and I have spoken to people who did, and I just thought, oh gosh, I know somebody whose husband drove off in a temper and crashed his car. I mean, just awful. So, I, I don't know if that's any comfort to you, but I, I, I can tell you categorically that you did so much for

Jess Walton:

Yeah. And I think COVID obviously helped, like, brought us closer. We were just together the entire

Rosie Gill-Moss:

army of

Jess Walton:

yeah, that's just, I'm so grateful. I know COVID robbed so many people of so many things, but I'm grateful that I got that year. Didn't have to go to work. Like, we were just together. We were working from home, but we were together and that was so important.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Um, can I just ask about a funeral? Because when young people die, um, often there's a lot of people that want to come to the funeral. And I know you said you had a small wedding. What did you do about a funeral?

Jess Walton:

Um, it was a big funeral, yeah. It wasn't, it was, because I think COVID restrictions were fully lifted by that point, um, or at that point, um, and it was, yeah, just a lot, a lot of people that, yeah, it was kind of a comfort at the time, I think, like, I stood up and spoke, and it was really important for me to, like, get that out, yeah, I was just, I think it gave me a purpose at that time, yeah, just to be like, I need to say stuff, yeah, just, I think

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I did because I felt there was so much left unsaid. And I wanted to kind of publicly say what I wanted to say to him. I don't know how I did it. A few jins I think, but.

Jess Walton:

Yeah, you just do

Rosie Gill-Moss:

My son did as well, he was six. I mean, it's just for not the strength that you find. And I also took comfort from this packed church, and I bought 200 tea lights for people to light, and we ran out. And you know that sort of, oh, that's, and some people hadn't even met Ben, they knew me, and it's, I now, if there is a funeral of somebody that I'm connected to, I will try and go. Even if I'm not particularly, I'll lurk at the back, I drink bums on seats, it's important. Now, I asked you before we came on mic whether you had children. And I don't know if this is a delicate subject, but I'm going to ask it anyway. You don't have to answer that. So, you said no, you don't have children. Is that something that you would have liked to have with Matthew?

Jess Walton:

Um, it was kind of a discussion that was never really concluded in a way, like we were just always, Oh, I'm not sure. Like, especially when we got the first diagnosis, I was only 26. I wasn't ready at that point. Like. He, um, yeah, we just wasn't really sure. And then in those few years in between the cancer, like, coming back and going, like, it was kind of He was like We were just kind of enjoying life, trying to, without any added stress and pressure. So it was kind of like, we were like, maybe it'll happen one day. And I think maybe if the cancer hadn't come back, maybe we would. But it's not a massive regret I have, yeah. It's not like I'm really, really upset that we didn't. It was Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

The reason I ask is because, um, there's a tendency sometimes when you lose your partner, for people to say, do you have children? And if you say no, it can almost be seen as a slightly lesser grief, because, oh well you know, that's okay then. Now I'm not playing down the, uh, enormity of parenting grieving children. Uh, I've done it, it's not easy. But when it's just the two of you, you haven't got the, I want to put a better word, distraction. So I had to get up, I had to get my kids to school, I had a six month old baby that needed feeding, changing, and you know, all the rest of it. If it had just been me, I don't know how I'd have got out of that bed every day. And I'm wondering what your motivation to keep going was. And I'm, I'm genuinely interested because I felt so low when Ben died that it, the kids kept me going. And I think you are incredibly brave. And I'm wondering how that bravery helped you in those sort of, let's say, six months, you know, how do

Jess Walton:

Yeah, it was definitely at the time I was like, oh, I wish I had a kid here. Like, obviously the hards, it's hard, but I was like, I wish I had something to get up for. Like, and I wish obviously I had a bit of him, like, it was a lot of like, at the time being like, I wish I had something to look after.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

you

Jess Walton:

At the time I still had the dog, and as much as a dog isn't a child, she was mine to look after. Mine only. No one else was going to look after her. Well, family did help, but she was my responsibility and I didn't want to let her down. And She,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

need walking, so you've got to get your fresh

Jess Walton:

and she got, she got ill within like two, three weeks of him dying.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It was that close! Oh,

Jess Walton:

yeah. She was, she was kind of, she was at the vets while Matt was dying in hospital. She decided that was when she wanted to get ill, I know. She, she got better, she got better for a little while. I was one of the last conversations I had with him too. Frankie's better, it's fine, don't worry, she's better. And she was for a bit, and then a few weeks after he died, they found like tumours and yeah, stuff like, yeah, it wasn't great. I mean, I remember the vet crying with me, and I was like, no, this can't happen now. But yeah, I had to look after her. She, they gave her steroids and she bounced back for like a couple of months. She was, she was kind of better. Like, in herself, she was, she seemed happy and yeah, she needed walking and she needed feeding and this, that was a little bit of a motivation, but yeah, I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

bet you cried some tears in that fur.

Jess Walton:

it was just, I don't really know how I got through it looking at it now. I think I was, I think I had like PTSD and I was just so traumatised that I don't think I even functioned, like it was just, it was what it was, you had to just keep going, really.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, I look back at photos and I think, I can see how dead behind the eyes I am, but you're smiling, and I put a lipstick on, and, you know, this facade that we give to the world, because it's not just to save other people from our pain, it's actually so that we can function, because, It's, it's a protection. Um, and actually, one, I've written down this kind of, um, the future. You know, you're having your future snatched away from you when you lose somebody so young. Because, like you say, you haven't even decided if you wanted children. That option was just taken from you. You don't have that option with him anymore.

Jess Walton:

gone.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Jess Walton:

Yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Now, Jess, I, uh, in your application, you did mention your dog died. I didn't realize how close it was. I am

Jess Walton:

was like, it was five months later, but she was ill, yeah, quite quickly. Yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

But you also suffered another secondary loss, didn't you, in that you lost your dad. And as a, as somebody who's very close to my dad, and my dad, oh my mum of course, but they really guided me through, um, those first few months. Um, that must have been awful, and are you happy to talk a little about that?

Jess Walton:

um, I think it all just feels so surreal. Like, when everything happened so quickly together, it was just like, one thing seemed unbelievable. So to have everything that happened seemed even more like, what? Like, this isn't, like, real. Um, yeah, my dad was, um, Fine, well, and himself, like, just living life, and then he just died overnight. Like, really, like, just literally, my mum turned up at my door and told me, like, it was, yeah, like, just literally overnight, it was the February after the November that Matt died, so it was like four months. Yeah, it was like, I was like, what, how, like, I couldn't believe it, obviously, when they told, like, when she told me, I was like, but, it's fine, I spoke to him yesterday, like, what's, what's going on? It was,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

was it? Sudden

Jess Walton:

Yeah, we, they still didn't really find out much from the autopsy, it was just sudden. Yeah, no

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, I lost a friend. Sudden death. And I put out an episode today which talks about ambiguous grief and I think that's kind of what you have there when somebody dies very suddenly and they don't really know why. You haven't got an explanation for it or why. But also I think you start to feel, my mum told me not to be such a narcissist and I didn't have this much power, but you start to think. What have I done? Like, I'm a relatively good person. I, you know, what have I done to deserve this onslaught, this barrage of shit being thrown at me? But of course, you haven't done anything, the universe is random, it's, it's just a really tragic scenario for you, and you must have then found yourself, so you and your, are your parents still

Jess Walton:

No, they

Rosie Gill-Moss:

you and your mum both

Jess Walton:

they were separated, but they were still quite close, still friends, like, yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

it's still a massive shock, isn't it?

Jess Walton:

Yeah, I'm

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And so all of this has happened and it's 2021 and you are what, like 32, 31? You're, you're still, um, sorry, my brain's kind of so much

Jess Walton:

much, I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

hurts even just thinking about it, Jess, and I didn't live here. What did you, so I've got a couple of random things that popped into my head. So are you still in the same house? Yeah.

Jess Walton:

that's still a decision to be made at some point, I think. It's too big of a decision to make for me yet.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It's quite, I mean it probably doesn't feel like early days, but it still is quite early days. And I didn't want to stay in my house, uh, because that's where the police knocked. But I found the costs of moving and everything and the disruption, so I stayed, I just renovated it. And then obviously I met Mr Gilmoss and we bought place together. But it's difficult because you've got all the memories, the happy memories, but you've also got the really crap ones as well, haven't you?

Jess Walton:

only house we ever

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And when you WAYt

Jess Walton:

so it would be hard to

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Mmm. And what, one of the things I wrote down before we actually came on air was, um, just to sort of ask you what support, if any, was available to you at this time, because I know how little I was, I found that was relevant, which is why this podcast exists, because, um, if you, you can't find it, you build it, right? And so I'm just thinking of you kind of catapulted into widowhood, where you're thinking little old ladies and knitting groups and, you know, maybe going on a nice bracing walk. That's probably not that appealing to you. So what, how did you get support? What did you

Jess Walton:

I joined WAY within like six

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, you've done my,

Jess Walton:

six weeks after and I've got some amazing friends in from there now, like, obviously it's, it's slow to meet people, like it was I met a lot of people, like, on their own, like, individually rather than in big groups and I think that helped bond us and now we're like, yeah, it's helpful. Obviously sometimes it's really hard, you can't be around people, like, other people like that, but other times it's, it's the best help, definitely. Yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

belonging, isn't it? Not being so isolated and you do feel, and Matthew obviously felt it when he was first diagnosed, but That kind of widowhood brings with it that sense of isolation and being a bit unpalatable for the rest of the world. Um, and yet you're still so young and you've got so much life to live, but you've already been categorized as widowed.

Jess Walton:

super hard to know, like you said, you're a stereotypical widow, it's just not, not us and,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And your friends don't understand, and even if they might desperately try, and I have many friends from before, but I've also lost quite a lot of friends from before. Because You can't, you are different, you are changed irre, irrevocably, I can't say that word. Irre, you're changed beyond, you're changed permanently. And I'm not, I think of the, myself, and I was, I was not 37, but I think of her as a little girl. You know, a, a, a, a, a teenager almost, because I was not prepared for this. But, somehow, we do, we keep going, you keep putting your foot down on the floor and you keep going. I am really sorry about your dog. Do you have a new

Jess Walton:

I can't. Oh no, I'm not ready. I think it would be too much. Like, she was the only dog we ever had. I just, yeah, I'm just not ready. I borrow a dog. I borrow a

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Lucy's dog for the weekend.

Jess Walton:

I'm on, like, borrow my doggy and I borrow a couple of dogs, so that's nice. But, no. Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

if I need a dog sitting.

Jess Walton:

I'm not ready for the responsibility. I don't think.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

my other question really, but what about work? What do you

Jess Walton:

Am I going to count him? Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Brains as well as looks, nice. So, and how were they with you? Because That's obviously a job that requires quite a lot of, um, mental, low mental effort. I couldn't do it. So did you find that you had that widow brain where you would make mistakes and, and

Jess Walton:

Yeah, so I had two months off, which was not long enough for me. It felt it at the time. I was like, what am I going to do every day? Like I need to do, go to work. But now I think I should have had longer off, but I went back three days a week, which was a good amount of time for me. Like I'd then have a four day weekend, like four days off in a row and that. That helped, but, yeah, it was so hard, like, and no one really wanted to talk about it. Like, obviously they knew him, I'd been there a long time, it was Some people would obviously mention it, but others just ignore it, and you're just like, getting on with it. It's, it was so hard to concentrate, like, my brain still doesn't work. Like, I'm like, how am I meant to do this job, like, that I used to be good at, and now I feel like I'm not? Because you're all just, you're just so different, you're a different person, and it's hard

Rosie Gill-Moss:

and things that were important before just don't seem as, and I don't mean things like work, but you just, oh, oh. And you know, I sent an invoice with the wrong number on it, you know? Did somebody die though?

Jess Walton:

what, yeah, you always go back to that, but does it really matter?

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, that's where you sort of Yeah, did they die though? And it's quite a funny mentality to have at our age. I'm categorising myself in the early thirties. Um, so what does life look like for you? So you are working and you're in the

Jess Walton:

yeah, so I do four days a week now, which I've done for a little while, which it helped. Yeah, it's, I can't, I couldn't do five, like, it's a little, it helps having that little extra day off to recover.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah. I wholeheartedly support not working full time. And Counselling is my next question. Have you had any counselling or anything like

Jess Walton:

so I've tried a lot of talking therapy very early on, did like one session with like four different people and was like, no, I hate this, like this isn't for me. And then I had a big break because I was like, I'm clearly not ready. If I don't like all these people, it must be a me issue. Um, yeah. And then I had I'd say a bit of a breakdown, like, after Frankie died, after my dad died, I was like, fuck this, I can't do

Rosie Gill-Moss:

No

Jess Walton:

I was just, I was very, very low, like, yeah, like, I had tried antidepressants and the doctor referred me for, like, CBT specifically for my PTSD and for my flashbacks and stuff like that, that I kept having, like, Yeah, it wasn't great. I wasn't really sleeping and, you know, going through all the different phases of shit. So then, um, yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

then you go back into them again. That's the thing. You think, well I've done that phase, and then

Jess Walton:

Yeah. So I tried CBT, which I think helped that specific PTSD issue for me. Um, and then. Had a few months off, like finished my kind of, like, NHS amount of that, yeah. I was like, that's done. And then, yeah, no, I think I got a little bit more, because you get more for multiple, multiple,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, do you?

Jess Walton:

multiple grievances. You get more you get, yeah. Um, so yeah, I had, and then a little bit later on, maybe like, last, like, summer, I had, like, talking therapy again. Well, no, I actually did talk in therapy this time, and that helped,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

More than

Jess Walton:

more than one. I think I did like 10 weeks of that, which is good and bad for me. I find it really, really difficult, and then I find it affects me for a little while, because I'm like, I've just had to get all this out of my brain, and now I can't stop thinking about it. So yeah, I don't have anything regular at the moment.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I've written down four letters. EMDR. Have

Jess Walton:

Yes, I did, I think I did one session for two early on, like, just to see what it was like. Yeah, I was like, try that one, try that one. Um, yeah, and I never went back.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

That's that scattergun approach. And I, so I've had some mental health problems, um, all my life actually. But, uh, they came to a head in the last 12 months because I stopped drinking. And I, I, I went back into my grief. And, um, I've had lots of talk therapy. I'm into my third year now, uh, I think I've paid for her extension. And, um, I, Lulu, my former co host and best friend, had EMDR. She had a very sudden tragic death as well. And I have I questioned my doctor, uh, my, uh, counsellor about it, and she sort of said, Oh, maybe when you're a little bit more resilient. And I, I feel more resilient. So I have actually got an appointment for an initial appointment, uh, just after half term. But every single person I know who has done it raves about it. And they, it's meant to be quite quick and very effective. So I don't know if this is me. Going, oh, I'll do that, it's quicker than the prolonged process of talk therapy. Because that is very much how I operate. But I'm also thinking, well, I owe it to have a go. Because I don't think it's going to make anything worse. So I will, I might document it, um, on the podcast and talk about it a little bit, because if it helps me, then I see no reason why it wouldn't help other people, and John's considering it as well. But, I mean, pretty well done on you though, for seeking out all this support, because I know that it won't have been offered to you, you'll have had to go and find it.

Jess Walton:

like, difficult to come by, but. Yeah, my GP's been pretty good to be fair, but yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, mine were actually. They wrote me a card, which was so nice. And it's such a small gesture, but they wrote a card. Well, just. It really has been a journey, talking

Jess Walton:

Yeah, there's a lot.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I, that's, it's such a lot, and I don't, that's a funny question I'm going to ask you, but are you happy now? Do you feel that you can be happy and

Jess Walton:

yeah, a little bit. Um, I've recently started dating another widow from WAY, so you're, you're, you're, uh, yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

news!

Jess Walton:

that's obviously had its struggles, but It obviously makes you happy at the same time, so yeah, there's little things that I can enjoy, but it's definitely still difficult, really, really difficult, yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And actually I'm six years next month, and uh, I have, I, so it just sweeps me, like the rug from under me sometimes. And I will be four, 43 next month also, and he was 42 when he died, so although I am older than him now, I will, kind of, the number will be different as well. And I think the, it's a cliche, but grief isn't linear, and I think you'll kind of, Get to a point where you think, oh right, I'm okay now. And then you'll see somebody that looks like him. And you'll just, I mean, I'm not, I'm guessing. But it, it is, we expect that we're going to work through these stages and we're going to do the therapy and possibly even have a new relationship. But it doesn't

Jess Walton:

it doesn't change it at

Rosie Gill-Moss:

in you. It just makes it, you just, so I'm going to use an analogy that a friend who's some diet, so this is, you know, Next level awful. She came to see me when Ben died and she said the only thing I can tell you is when you first die and for anybody who's just listening, I have my hand over my face the grief is here, you can't see around it. And then over time it sort of pulls back a bit and you can peek through the fingers and around and I think that's what happens is you it sort of never goes but you can live your life around it. I can picture the

Jess Walton:

yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

picture, I've seen this somewhere I'm not actually making this up. I know that I struggled very much with the sensation of maybe being judged or feeling guilty when I got into a relationship. And, um, actually the one thing I will tell you is that love is so important and if you get the opportunity. I don't know if you said you're dating, I don't know if love's been said yet. But it, it is, um, and actually even if it's not love, just having some joy or happiness in your life, you deserve that.

Jess Walton:

think it's. Is, yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

we're not recording you can tell me his name.

Jess Walton:

Yeah. Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Now, you have no excuse not to come to Widstock because you're close. So, um, I will get you onto the, well, get yourself onto the newsletter and, uh, tickets are going out in a couple of weeks and perhaps you could bring your gentleman friend there to the festival. But, I'm just, look at me recruiting people to the, to the festival. But, just every time someone snuck along, I'm like, Oh, you'll be able to make it, have fun. Um, and, and actually, you know, perhaps we could meet up and you could, we could go for a dog walk or something one day because where possible, I do like to kind of meet up with friends. People, cause you, you feel like, yeah, I've spent less than an hour with you, but I feel like I really know you.

Jess Walton:

big stuff.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

uh, Whistle Stop Tour. Whistle To Oh, I've not got

Jess Walton:

No. Yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

stuff. If I Say to people, don't ask me how I am unless you want to know.

Jess Walton:

one. Yes. Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, yeah. How long have you got? Do you want the Whistle Stop Tour or the full one? Well, Jess, I'm going to let you love you and leave you now. Uh, but thank you for coming on today and thank you for talking about sigh The year from hell? A few years from hell, shall we call it? We'll quote Steph May-Hills who's one of our listeners, who calls it the shit show. And I think I've got a picture, can you see behind me? The shit show? There we go.

Jess Walton:

That's what it feels like.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So, welcome to the shit show. I'm sorry that you're here, but I am glad that I got the opportunity to talk to you. Um, and I hope that you can feel this sort of support coming from this end, because anybody that's got the balls to come on here and talk to me, they are part of my tribe. So,

Jess Walton:

you so

Rosie Gill-Moss:

consider yourself

Jess Walton:

can I also just quickly say, I'm doing the Copperfield trek in June, so that's, yes I really would, but I really want to do it to be for him and for me, like to do something, like, big and scary on my own, right? It's, and to talk about male breast cancer because it just doesn't, no one knows about it and obviously does happen. I've seen it happen. It's not very often, but it does. So I feel like,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It does, and, and you're right, we need to talk about it. So what do you have to do? Are you climbing a mountain?

Jess Walton:

trek over five days in the Brecon Beacons in Wales. So you'll have to camp, which is not for me, usually.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

You can see,

Jess Walton:

Yeah, yeah. You know, when you apply for something, I was like, Oh God, now I've got to actually get fit and do it. So yeah. Oh.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I, I drunk applied for the marathon and

Jess Walton:

Oh, you've done

Rosie Gill-Moss:

it through, so yeah. I did, yeah, I did it first with, it was the May, he died the March, the May the following year, and I was, I did train, but I also drank a lot, and probably, and, and, if I say, I, let's just say I completed it more than I ran it, shall we? I'll leave it at that.

Jess Walton:

Yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I crossed that finish line with my baby in my arms, so I'll take that. Got the picture. Well, best of luck for that, and I will sponsor you, and I'm happy to share a link on your episode when it goes out as well, so hopefully other people will, because, yes, it's a very, very, Bye. Bye. It is an important message to get out. So once again, my lovely, thank you for coming on. Stay in touch. And if anybody has any questions or has, uh, wants to talk about anything they've heard in today's episode, we will be talking about it whenever it goes out the following Friday, so let me know and I can pass any questions to Jess. So lots of love to all of you out there. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, guys.

Introduction and Background
Jess's Story and Diagnosis
Treatment and Recovery
Challenges and Support
Life After Treatment
Wedding and Honeymoon
Covid and Cancer Recurrence
Decline and Loss
End of Life Care
Last Moments and Funeral
Reflections and Regrets
The Challenges of Grieving Without Children
Finding Motivation to Keep Going
The Role of Pets in Grief
Secondary Losses
Losing a Parent
Decisions About the Future
Seeking Support and Belonging
Supportive Communities
The Impact on Work
Counselling and Therapy
Exploring EMDR Therapy
Finding Happiness Amidst Grief
The Journey of Grief
The Importance of Love and Joy
Taking on Challenges for a Cause

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