Rich was so much more than a husband. Many of you know that we considered ourselves soulmates from the moment we met, but from talking to others it seems that soulmate relationships are rare. Whilst Rich and I always knew that we had something special, this means that his death has had an impact that perhaps those who don’t understand the depth of connection between soulmates, might not appreciate. So I feel obliged to try and explain.

I care not one iota about the practical side of things, the jobs that Rich used to take responsibility for, like taking rubbish to the tip, or putting the recycling out, or all things car. I can do all that. But the way Rich used to embrace me? My goodness, that was really something. It was as if he was taking me in and holding me in his heart. He put everything he had into holding me, and I felt it each and every time. There is a picture of him holding my face in his hands at our wedding, and everyone who sees it says it gives them goosebumps. Because they can see the connection. They can see that we are one. There is an invisible cord connecting our hearts and minds, and yes I still feel it, how could I not?

Without fail, Rich would tell me he loved me many times a day, and that he adored and worshipped me at least once a day. Whilst he was eating his breakfast he would send lots of whatsapp messages to me, telling me that he loved me, calling me by my nicknames, and talking about our planned adventures, so that I’d have them to look forward to when I got up. If I ever woke to no messages I’d panic, wandering what had happened to him, only to find a little hand written note by the bed telling me that the wifi was down, and that he loved me.

Even if I’d just been to the supermarket, and gone for forty minutes or so, the minute I walked back in the house he’d see my reflection in the patio door and drop whatever he’d been doing to come and hug me, and then insist on putting the shopping away for me, and making me a cup of tea. If I was upstairs in the study working and he’d made me a cuppa, he’d always say ‘your tea’s ready beautiful’. If he’d been able to walk upstairs holding the tea by all means he would have, but with his wibbly wobbly balance we’d realised that there’s only so many times you can clean tea stains off a carpet.

When he came in from work the first thing he’d say was ‘I really missed you today’. And we did, we missed each other even if we were only apart for a few minutes. Nights away for work were agony, and we’d spend the whole evening texting or skyping, feeling as if a limb was missing. So we always knew that death would be devastating, that it would be a cleaving that we’d only hitherto had a small taster of.

We were each others biggest allies, so much more than best friends. We each provided the other with everything that we needed. We encouraged each other to be our best selves, to achieve our full potential. We were each others sounding boards, protectors, allies, co-pilots. We shared all our values, and thought alike. Even though we always vocalised our love for each other, we could always communicate in such a way that it wasn’t strictly necessarily, because we already knew, but it just felt good to reiterate it.

Our only regret was that we’d not found each other sooner. Of course we could have been angry that Rich had been born with NF2, but this would have been futile, and like Rich often said, it had helped made him who we was. Instead we just focused on making the most of each day together, and facing the challenges that the condition bought, of which there were many. We never, ever took each other for granted. We knew that what we had was special, and that we had to make the most of every moment together. But like Rich wrote in one of the last cards he gave me, ‘forever won’t be long enough’. I love you so much my darling, always and forever.


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