“What are you going to do with your life now?” The question had come from our family doctor, the one who had treated my husband for many years while battling lung disease. During this time, I had become my husband’s caregiver, my daily routine completely absorbed by his needs.
Shortly after his death last May, at the age of 59, the doctor took me by surprise by wondering what I was planning to do next. I looked at him and said sincerely, âI don’t know. I did not think about it.
I was 63 years old. Suddenly my life had changed. I was no longer a caregiver and was alone for the first time since my marriage 30 years earlier. My existence was completely linked to that of my husband and we had done everything together. But now? The doctor was right: what was I going to do with my life without my husband?
I struggled with the new calm of the house and the endless free time I now had to fill. Friends called me to check on me for the first few weeks of my widowhood, but after that everyone stopped calling, assuming I must be okay.
I knew I had to do something.
Inspiration came from an unexpected place. Shortly before my husband’s death, I joined Facebook. I hadn’t been able to go out much so I figured I might as well go online. Over the weeks, I started to make new friends on the site. When my husband died, I announced it there. An American by the name of Jerry whom I had met (virtually) in a community group for Gary Numan fans, and with whom I had chatted, sent me a direct message to say how sorry he was. After that, we started to send messages to each other regularly.
In real life, my paths and Jerry’s would never have crossed. He’s about 10 years younger than me, and more to the point, lives in Texas. I live in South London. But we found we had a lot in common. He’s a musician in a heavy metal band called Outlaw Devils and I’m a heavy metal fan. I wrote my own songs. I also used to write poetry and perform it.