Dating after young widowhood
Snuggled in a corner of a cocktail bar in London, Richard and I beamed at one another as we clinked glasses and toasted the start of our romantic weekend away.
Oblivious to everyone around us, I remember thinking that it was one of those rare moments of pure happiness. That malevolent, preying creature called guilt that had stalked me relentlessly for the past 18 months stabbed me in the heart, sending tears and inky mascara from my carefully applied make-up sliding down my face.
How dare I feel so happy with this man when I was still so obviously in love with someone else? I still dreamed of him and slept with his jumper under my pillow.
Far from despairing as I dissolved into tears in the cocktail bar that night, he offered words of comfort and understanding, just as he had from the moment we were introduced by a mutual friend in January 2009.
But the happier I’ve become over the years, the more guilty I’ve felt about Graham.
We met in late 1996 while I was studying zoology and natural sciences at Cambridge University, and he was doing a maths and computing degree in Bristol.
He was dating a girl I knew at Cambridge and a group of us became friends.
When their relationship ended, we saw each other platonically.It’s hard to pinpoint the moment we fell in love, possibly the day in February 1997 when we were walking through Cardiff — where Graham was doing a gap year — and he turned and kissed me for the first time.During Christmas 2006 we had a magical holiday cruising down the Nile. I could picture Graham tumbling around our garden with a young brood and he’d tease me with off-the-wall Cornish (his home county) names he wanted for our children.But then, eight months later, on August 15, 2007, Graham died, and with him all of those hopes and dreams.