I am writing this for my own benefit rather than anything else. I don't sleep well these days.
I lived with the same man for almost two-thirds of my life. We first met when we were new students at Liverpool University and we were together from then on.
And now, suddenly, shockingly, unexpectedly, he has died. He hasn't passed on, I haven't lost him. He died and I am alone.
They say you pass through stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. If being in a state of shocked disbelief is denial, then no doubt I am experiencing that. Anger is directed at completely unrelated people and situations. The rest has yet to come but I don't see a great deal of point in bargaining at this stage.
My brother in law died in Canada just over four weeks ago. I was hoping to get to his funeral but we were in France, the logistics didn't work out, and my sister was surrounded by a caring family. So I didn't go. On the evening of his funeral, I found my husband unconscious. I recognised the symptoms: he had had a stroke.
Then began my battle, it felt like a battle, with the French medical system. I stayed by my husband's side for 48 hours until it seemed he had made a good recovery. They kept him in for another two days and then I had to get him home to England.
I did get him home, with the help of my son. We all relaxed. We had a few enjoyable days, but it happened again, this time worse, much worse. They wanted to keep him in for at least four weeks but he deteriorated. I had some dreadful decisions to make about treatment, about whether to have him transferred to a London hospital. I was well aware of his views on quality of life and fortunately both my sons agreed, but it didn't make taking the decision any easier. We stayed with him while they made him as comfortable and peaceful as possible.
People's reactions have been interesting. There are those who say how sorry they are and fade away from sight. Some ask if they can be of help - but what help can they give? But others just get on with small, practical ways of showing they care.
Slowly, very slowly, laughter can be heard returning to our home. We are taking some steps on the path of recovery, but it will be a long and painful path.