Widowed AF

#91 - Nina Edwards

January 08, 2024 Rosie Gill-Moss Season 1 Episode 91
#91 - Nina Edwards
Widowed AF
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Widowed AF
#91 - Nina Edwards
Jan 08, 2024 Season 1 Episode 91
Rosie Gill-Moss

In this episode , we invite you to join Nina Edwards. Nina's story is one of love rediscovered, a tale of finding joy in the most unexpected places, only to face the unthinkable – the loss of her soulmate to a cruel and relentless illness.

As a single mother, Nina's world took a turn for the brighter when she met Owen through their sons' shared love for football. Their friendship blossomed into a beautiful love story, offering them both a second chance at happiness. But as they navigated the blending of families and overcoming past hardships, they were confronted with a dire challenge – Owen's sudden cancer diagnosis.

Nina recounts their fight against the odds, their determination to seize every moment together, and how they faced Owen's illness with courage and love. From purchasing their dream home to planning a future together, their story is a testament to the power of love in the face of life's most daunting challenges.

This episode is not just about the grief of losing a loved one. It's about the resilience of the human spirit, the importance of support systems, and the journey of healing. Nina opens up about her coping mechanisms, the solace she found in her family and Owen's, and her journey through the grieving process.

Nina's story is a timely reminder of the unpredictability of life, the enduring strength of love, and the unyielding courage it takes to keep fu@&ing going.




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

Don't forget to subscribe !

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode , we invite you to join Nina Edwards. Nina's story is one of love rediscovered, a tale of finding joy in the most unexpected places, only to face the unthinkable – the loss of her soulmate to a cruel and relentless illness.

As a single mother, Nina's world took a turn for the brighter when she met Owen through their sons' shared love for football. Their friendship blossomed into a beautiful love story, offering them both a second chance at happiness. But as they navigated the blending of families and overcoming past hardships, they were confronted with a dire challenge – Owen's sudden cancer diagnosis.

Nina recounts their fight against the odds, their determination to seize every moment together, and how they faced Owen's illness with courage and love. From purchasing their dream home to planning a future together, their story is a testament to the power of love in the face of life's most daunting challenges.

This episode is not just about the grief of losing a loved one. It's about the resilience of the human spirit, the importance of support systems, and the journey of healing. Nina opens up about her coping mechanisms, the solace she found in her family and Owen's, and her journey through the grieving process.

Nina's story is a timely reminder of the unpredictability of life, the enduring strength of love, and the unyielding courage it takes to keep fu@&ing going.




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

Don't forget to subscribe !

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Hello and a very warm welcome back to Widow Day F. You're here with your host, Rosie Gilmoss. And joining me today, I have Nina Edwards. Welcome, Nina.

Nina Edwards:

Hi, thanks for having me.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And you're not so far away, you're in Essex, is that right?

Nina Edwards:

It is, yep,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, I'm over here in Kent, just, uh, probably bump into you at Bluewater one day. Um, so, Nina, thank you for putting yourself forward to share your story. And, I know we both discussed the kind of pre show nerves that all the guests have, and that I still have, because I feel a great weight of responsibility to do your stories justice. I don't take this job lightly, so I was just, we were just discussing breathing and saying how my counsellor's like, you need to breathe into your, into your lungs, not just into your chest. So we're going to do deep, deep breathing. And, um, I'm going to ask you to just talk to me a little bit about, well, a lot probably, about Owen, your husband. And it's a quite tragic story, isn't it? Because you met a bit later in life and And then he died, obviously, because otherwise you wouldn't be sat across from me on a microphone.

Nina Edwards:

Yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So firstly, I'm really sorry for your loss. I know it can sound trite, but I genuinely am sorry for your loss. And, um, if you'd be so kind, would you tell the listeners a little bit about how you ended up here? You can start from the beginning if you want. You start wherever you like.

Nina Edwards:

I'll start from the beginning. So I, um, me and Owen got together in 2017. Um, at that point I had been on my own with my kids, um, for about eight years. Um, I'd split up with their dad when they were both fairly young. My daughter was only two. Um, I met Owen through our sons playing football together. Sunday league football. And, bizarrely, the first time I met him, which I think, end of 2016, um, I was introduced by one of the other mums, and I remember walking away and thinking, there's just something about him, and I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Mmm!

Nina Edwards:

what it is, and, but he was married at that point, and, um, we just sort of remained friends, and we chatted at football, and, and, so on and so forth, um, and then he, He and his wife split up and we realised that there was something between us and decided to give it a go. Um, obviously at the start because he had recently split up and because our kids knew each other and we kept it very I didn't want to introduce my kids to anyone that I wasn't 100 percent sure was going to go somewhere. Um, so probably the start of the story was we went away for a weekend. Um, and On the first evening, he said to me, I need to, you know, very seriously which considering we were first start of a relationship and a few drinks in and,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yes.

Nina Edwards:

he sort of said, I need to tell you something, I've got an illness, um, it's, you know, it's under control, but, um, I do have this illness, I've got colitis, and I remember thinking, oh, it's the same sort of thing, colitis, Crohn's, I knew people who had Crohn's and I was just, yeah, manageable condition, be careful what you eat. And he sort of played it down that, you know, you took medication, but it was all under control and there was no, no issues. And to be honest, with hindsight now, I wish I'd looked into it more. I wish I'd known more about it, but I just kind of

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Well

Nina Edwards:

on and

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I like to call this sort of widow hindsight or widow win widow rear view mirror because we were very innocent before that, weren't we? We didn't think that terrible things happened. And your perce, your perception of the world was very different.

Nina Edwards:

and it's, and I think with the condition being a bowel condition. Yeah, new romance. Last thing I really want to talk about is his bowel habits and the last thing he wanted to share. So I just kind of, you know, let it go. I knew he took medicine before yet. Didn't really think much more of it. Knew he had regular checks. And so we carried on and, you know, by the end of that year we knew it was serious and You know, we told the children, unfortunately, with his divorce and his children, his relationship with his children broke down, um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm sorry to hear that.

Nina Edwards:

yeah, in 2018, um, he moved in with me and my, my kids. Um, and we had some very tough times, obviously, with the relationship with his children, his divorce. We both went through redundancies. We both worked jobs we didn't like at that point. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

a lockdown.

Nina Edwards:

my

Rosie Gill-Moss:

that in for good measure.

Nina Edwards:

yeah, my daughter and him locked horns. Um, she'd never You know, she was only two when me and her dad had split up, so she'd never really known me be with someone. I think possibly having to share me slightly. They used to, um, lock horns a lot of

Rosie Gill-Moss:

to say, I'm pretty glad I met John when Tabby was younger because I think now We'll

Nina Edwards:

It was tough, but we always joked, you know, if we can get through all this, we'll, you know, we'll get through anything.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

anything.

Nina Edwards:

Then COVID came along just to make sure that we definitely knew we'd get through anything. Um, and yeah, it was, we, again, the colitis obviously was in the background. There was a few times he'd had flare ups with stress and a few things I'd sort of mentioned, but he was very, um, He didn't like talking about it and if I mentioned anything to do with toilet habits, I was being vulgar and don't, you know, don't discuss that and,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, and it's so much part of the problem, isn't it? It's why so many, um, women actually miss, um, it's missed in women because we don't like to talk about our toilet habits. I mean, I'm quite squeamish myself, but, you know, being married to a man who lost somebody to bowel cancer, I know all about toilet habits, you know, but I think We almost need to move away, it's human bodily functions, and the more scared we are of talking about it, the more likely things are to go undiagnosed. Sorry, I've gone off on a tangent.

Nina Edwards:

no, no, yeah, no, but that's, that's, yeah, as you say, we go hindsight. I wish now I'd known a lot more about the condition and the possibilities because I was completely oblivious. But yeah, so we, we went on and I think, uh, end of 2020, start 2021, we'd both got new jobs that we were liking. Uh, we decided that we were going to buy a house together. Um, his relationship with my daughter, it all was going in the right direction. Summer of 2020 we found our dream home. Um, absolutely, we'd walked our dog down this road every day and we always said this is the road we want to live down, you know, dream, reality, this, this, this will be it. Um, so in November 2021 we moved into our dream home and it was perfect and we started decorating and making it ours and then Christmas day 2021 he proposed and

Rosie Gill-Moss:

romantic. Ooh, got him out of buying a Christmas present. Aww.

Nina Edwards:

I'd never been married, um, it was something I'd always said I'll, you know, I'm getting, getting on a bit now, might not get my dream wedding, and my dream, so he knew how much it meant to me to have My wedding and, um, always been very close to my parents, especially the amount of help they gave me when I was on my own with the kids and, um, my dad loved him. My daughter says, if I hadn't been around him, then my dad would have been best mates. So he did it properly. He asked my dad if he could ask me. Um, So yeah, we got engaged and it was just, wow, this is just everything. Dream house, kids are happy. Um, we went out New Year's Day to look at a wedding venue and booked it straight away. Um, yep, I wasn't messing around, he'd asked and I was making sure he weren't getting out that. Um, so yeah, we booked the venue for that summer, the 19th of August. Uh, first venue we went to, I went out with my mum and my daughter and my bridesmaid on The 8th of January, first shop I walked in, found my dress,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It's all going too smoothly, isn't it, Nina? It's all going too smoothly.

Nina Edwards:

Yeah. And now I look back and think, yeah, you, you thought you had this all, all panned out. Um, yeah. First, next shop, shoes, next shop, bridesmaid dresses. I came back from one day shopping. I was like, pretty much, that's it, you're locked in now. This is it. Venues booked. Dresses organized. And everything. And it was just. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, we were still decorating the house. Um, and then in March he'd started saying, I'm a bit worried I'm going to the, you know, going to the wee a lot. You know, I'm a certain age, prostate, et cetera. I'm going to go and get checked out. And I was like, Oh, okay. Yeah. Again, you know, he, he could be a little bit being a man of a, you know, I've got this age.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

to go either way, don't they? They either won't speak

Nina Edwards:

It might be something serious, and you'd be like, no, it's an ache. Like, everyone, you know, you're, but again, I think working full time, two kids, dog, wedding, decorating a house. It was just, oh, okay. Yep. No problem. He went off to the doctors. He had a blood test and they were going to send him for ultrasounds. Um, and the blood test result came back and it showed he was slightly anemic. And again, that night he got into bed and he said, Oh, I, you know, I'm anemic. I'm going to die. And I said, no you're not, don't be, don't be so bloody dramatic, it's anemia, loads of people. Obviously, again, with no hindsight, he knew that anemia could be linked to bleeding in the bowel, he knew colitis could be linked to bowel cancer. I,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

see, I had no idea.

Nina Edwards:

now, but I had no idea of

Rosie Gill-Moss:

No, I had no idea. In fact, until you said it. Just then. I had no idea that anemia could be part and parcel of bowel conditions. I, I didn't know.

Nina Edwards:

yeah, and I, I had no idea when I look back now through medical records, etc, that colitis has such a link

Rosie Gill-Moss:

No, I didn't either, actually.

Nina Edwards:

Um, but really I just completely and utterly, like, stopped being dramatic, it's anemia, like, just, shh, go to bed, basically.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Nina Edwards:

Um, but everything else came back normal, no issues with the prostate, again. that said to him, come back in about, um, four weeks for repeat bloods. So we'd carried on, we didn't even think much more of it. And then the beginning of May, he said, Oh, I haven't heard from the doctors for my repeat bloods. I think I better chase them up and get that done. And I was like, okay, yep, no problem. So we'd phoned the doctors, got the repeat blood test booked in, and that evening we get a phone call from the doctor saying, Do you feel okay? was, yep, feel fine, no problems. And I said, well, you're, you're, you're very anemic. Your, your iron levels have really dropped. And we think maybe you should go and have a blood transfusion.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, wow.

Nina Edwards:

was a bit sort of taken back and he, he said, no, no, no, I feel fine. It's, it's fine. I'll come and see you tomorrow. So he went to see the GP the next day and again, I, I dunno if he didn't tell me to protect me or to not make me worry about it was kind of, oh, they're gonna send me for a colonoscopy just to check things out. And again, I was completely oblivious just. Yeah, okay. Yep. No problem. Took him for the colonoscopy. I remember him, he sent me off while he was in the hospital having the colonoscopy. Go to Asda's and buy me steak and this and all his favourite foods and, and milk. In fact, yeah, he was going for an appointment

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, of course.

Nina Edwards:

um. And again he come back from that, and I saw the word cancer on this piece of paper, but it was more sort of what they were checking for, it didn't actually say anything, so again, I don't, I look back now and I think why, why didn't I take any of this more, but I suppose because he wasn't.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

and because the human brain is very, very clever, and because your brain will have been trying to protect you at all costs from accepting that this might be something serious. And, and, you know, the innocence, it's People have anemia and get better and it, in fact, the interview I put out on Monday, um, he's partly had anxiety and high blood pressure and, you know, you don't really worry about it in people of sort of our age. And then he just dying, you know, it's, it is that, um, the new way you view the world once you've been widowed is now anytime anybody's sick, I'm like, you might die, but I'm. Yeah, you don't, you don't look at it like that. Even with the police at my door, I was, you know, it's the bargaining, isn't it? It's part of the bargaining.

Nina Edwards:

We went to, um, a couple of weeks later we went to a party, one of his friends birthday parties and everyone kept saying, Oh my god, look, you know, you've lost loads of weight, you know, are you ill and all this and he was like, no, no. He was like, oh, she just works me so hard, we've been decorating her house and she only ever eats salads and, and if anything it was kind of a, oh, you look really good, you've lost a load of weight and, and again it was, Just put to the back of my mind because obviously you see somebody every day. It's very hard to even notice that they've lost

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Well, it's like your kids, you don't even notice them growing, do you? Until their arms are sort of,

Nina Edwards:

I'm

Rosie Gill-Moss:

halfway down their arms.

Nina Edwards:

Yeah, um, and then on June the 16th He went to get the results of the colonoscopy. Now I'd been off work the week before because I'd had wedding dress fittings, etc and I was really busy at work and I didn't go with him. He was fine. He said, no, no, I'll, I'll go off. I'll be back in a couple of hours. And I was like, well, I'm really busy at work. So if you don't mind, it would, you know, again, what you wish you could do to turn back time for these things. Um, and he, there we go. I knew it was coming.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It's alright, it's alright, take your time. It's, it's, like I said to you at the beginning, you're telling me, and potentially many other people, the most It's painful time of your life. It's, it comes with emotion. So don't be afraid of it.

Nina Edwards:

So he, um, he came back and I finished my work call, carried on with my work call, finished what I was doing. And then I thought, oh, he's not coming to see me, he usually comes into the office, and I went, oh, and he was, what I would say, faffing around in the garden. And I instantly knew, and I said, what's, what's going on? And he said, I've got cancer. You never actually expect, you see all these TV programs and adverts and, and, um, but it's small and operable. They've found a tumour in my bowel, it's cancer, but it's, it's small and operable. It's, that's all you

Rosie Gill-Moss:

you want to hear

Nina Edwards:

and operable. So you think, okay. Massive blow, massive, but smaller, that's, you

Rosie Gill-Moss:

and your brain doesn't automatically go. I mean, we hear the word cancer and it is a scary word is a, it's a horrible word, but you still don't automatically think they're going to die because young people can survive cancer. Many of you know, I've friends who've survived cancer. It's, it's survivable. And the words small and operable, they're the words you want to be hearing, aren't they?

Nina Edwards:

so we, he, um, he had an appointment to see a consultant to go in for the operation to, to have it removed. And we went in for that and they said, it's operable, but it's not as small as you were possibly first. Made to believe we've done, you know, further scans and investigations and but we still believe it's operable but you may end up with a stoma and Do you want to rush this and try and get it done before your wedding? Obviously you might be in some discomfort the wedding etc, or do you want to wait and we both said no, just do it you know, we will deal with the wedding and so that he was booked in for the 20th of July, but Between then and then, he had to have, um, iron infusions because his iron levels were so low. And the first one went fine. The second one, he had anaphylactic shock, um, and it crashed out of there. So that was something else.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

was that there? And if it had been fine the first time, was they

Nina Edwards:

They say it's just, your body sometimes just reacts differently to it. The first

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Human bodies, man. They just, they just don't cooperate, do they?

Nina Edwards:

And it was sort of, then they were trying to think of other ways of getting the iron back into him. Because obviously With it being a bowel condition, iron tablets can cause problems with your bowels, so, um, But they managed to get it to a level that they thought it was safe to operate, um, on him, and he was booked in for the 20th of July. So I took him up there in the morning, um, obviously this is four weeks before we're due to get married, um, And we'd been told the operation would be about six to seven hours, so probably pick him up around three o'clock, or go back up to the hospital around three o'clock. And we said our goodbyes and I came home. And I think it was the last day of term, so the kids were both at school. Um, and my mum and dad were coming over to kind of keep me occupied whilst he was in. Um, so about 11 o'clock, his operation was due at 9, and at 11 o'clock, the doorbell went, I opened the door to my mum and dad, and as I did, my phone went, and it was the nurse from the recovery room at the hospital, and she said, you need to come back up here, the consultant needs to meet with you. And at that point, yeah, my world crumbled a little, not as much as you think now, but it, it went, and

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Well, you're still, you're still trying to convince yourself there's something else at this point. I imagine, um, you, you, you, this, the bargaining starts way before they die.

Nina Edwards:

yeah. And my, luckily my parents had just arrived, um, because I was in no fit state to drive. My dad took me back up the hospital, as I walked in, he was just coming round from, The anaesthetic and he went to me, Oh, I think it's gone really well, darling. I think I'm going to be alright. And I said, I don't think they've done it, darling, because you've only been gone, you know, they've called me back up. And he, it was like he couldn't quite, you know, Under anaesthetic as well. I suppose he, his mind was a bit all over the place, obviously, I knew something was coming, but he was still a bit blissfully unaware, which probably quite nice at that point.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I was just thinking, I'd like to be anaesthetized at this point, yeah.

Nina Edwards:

and then I entered what I call the BBC drama phase. I felt like I was in casualty when two

Rosie Gill-Moss:

church for me, personally, but yes, I can relate.

Nina Edwards:

two consultants, someone I think was just there to hold my hand, and they came in and told us, um, you know, That he had peritoneal metastasis, so it had spread everywhere.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

word.

Nina Edwards:

Yeah. It was everywhere, all over his abdomen, all over the wall of his abdomen. And they had not been able to do anything with the tumour because it was everywhere. And, um, and we were told it was incurable. And the rest of that conversation just, I just remember thinking, but we're getting married in four weeks, like what, this can't be happening. This really can't be happening. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I've gone cold even hearing you say it. It's um, because what you didn't actually mention in the interview, but I know from reading your application, um, is just how precious it was for you to have found him, and how grateful you were that he'd come into your life, you know, after being on your own. You know, raising two kids for eight years is bloody hard. Well, and, and, and this was your happy ending, and I'm, I'm just feeling it being snatched from beneath you, and I'm really, I'm not enjoying it actually, Nina, I'm not enjoying it. But, but I am enjoying talking to you, so do carry on.

Nina Edwards:

I think at that point, you know, at that point you just, again, I just kept thinking this, this is not really happening. This is. But there was a glimmer of hope because they told us about this specialist hospital in Basingstoke and he could have, um, this big operation, um, where they basically take out all non essential organs and they give targeted chemotherapy and that might buy him five, possibly ten years.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh.

Nina Edwards:

extra. So you, it, it, I think in every, you'll hear of all of these situations, someone goes, oh, it's the worst case scenario, but then they give you a little bit of hope and you cling to that bit

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Well, I'm gonna, when we do the Friday episode following this release, I'm going to ask John to talk a little bit about this because Sarah, when she, there was a promise of an operation at some point in the process that, and it sounds very similar, it would leave you basically a shell. Um, unfortunately, Sarah's had deteriorated to the point where it would have given her days, not years. So to put her through, it would have been, I mean, they didn't think she'd survive the operation. But she kind of clung on to this idea that there was an operation and, you know, why can't I have this operation sort of thing because it's been mentioned once. It's, um,

Nina Edwards:

clung to, because the plan at that point was that they would put this, the guy that had tried to operate had actually taken video of inside. Owen's abdomen to send to this hospital in Basingstoke so they could see how severe it was and so they could make an opinion, but obviously at that point even just as you say that hope that there is something that can be done to give us that additional time you cling on.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

especially five to 10 years, you know, that's, that's a really large bit. It's not enough, but it would have been better, right?

Nina Edwards:

When you think of all the things, all the, you know, right, well if we get this, we, you know, Owen was Mr. Sensible, he had pensions, critical illness cover. You know, you think, right, well we'll just draw down everything, we'll borrow money, we just, neither of us will work, and we'll just

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Just enjoy

Nina Edwards:

and, yeah. Um, but I think the hardest bit of that day for me was, my dad was still sat outside in the car park, and I had to go out and And that was hard. Because as I say, they were like, you know, best mates. My dad being in his seventies, my dad was very much why him and not me.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, do you know what? That's made me go cold, actually, because my dad was exactly the same. Oh, that's really made me shiver, because he said, he said it should, I should go first, not him. And, you know, Ben had been like a son to them. Um, so yeah, you forget almost about the

Nina Edwards:

Obviously.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

in laws, if you're lucky enough to have in laws that love them, or your parents, you know, you know what I'm trying to say. Um, the devastation for them as well. And actually I am trying to get my dad in to do an episode really from that perspective of how that feels to be looking in and not be able to protect your little girl from this as well.

Nina Edwards:

I think, you know, when Irene came into my life, my dad had this massive sigh of relief. Because he'd

Rosie Gill-Moss:

This is like Ben. There you go. She's yours

Nina Edwards:

of, yeah, the man of the house for helping me with the kids. And he You know, as he said, I won't get any younger. And I thought, right, I can relax, they've all looked after. So he took it really hard. Um, but even being in the, back on the ward with Owen and him having to ring and tell his parents and his family, and he, the first thing he said to me was, this, this, this is the hardest bit out of all of it, is knowing how hurt everyone else is going to be. And he was. So brave, so strong, and so worried about the rest of us. But we came home and we clung on to this hope that Basingstoke would, something would come of that. And we were told that what Basingstoke suggested initially was that he has 12 rounds of chemo and then they review and if it's shrunk or has, um, remained the same, then they may be able to do the operation. So again, you think, right, okay, just get through the 12 rounds of chemo.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Just the twelve rounds, yeah, we can do this, yep.

Nina Edwards:

Um, and again, they were very good that they scheduled his first one in for before the wedding, um, so that we could get it underway as quickly as possible. So we had his first round of chemo. And then we had her beautiful wedding, which was everything I'd always wanted and was amazing. Very, um, hard for him. Yeah, he got tired and he did have to kind of have a little lay down in the afternoon, but it was, it was still amazing and everything. Yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, I'm, it reminds me of Laura Malin, because they got married when she knew that her husband was, was, was not going to, to live, and it's that happiness tinged with sadness that, This is your, this is everything you've dreamed of, but you know that there's a very high possibility that it's not going to be forever and most

Nina Edwards:

I think

Rosie Gill-Moss:

married and they,

Nina Edwards:

point, even at that point, I still didn't

Rosie Gill-Moss:

the bit of denial was still having a go. Yeah.

Nina Edwards:

was still kind of, yeah, this, we'll get through this, we've got through so much, we, yeah, we're, we'll fight this. Um, and then we had our, his dad and stepmum had paid for us to have a little mini moon, so we went, um, off to Eastbourne for our little honeymoon, and that's when I noticed the pain he was in, and it felt, Bizarrely, and I still say to this day, it felt that the moment he got told it was cancer was the moment he got ill,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Okay, yeah.

Nina Edwards:

he, he'd, as far as I had known, he had not told me of any stomach pain or any, he'd always eaten well, he'd always drunk well, he'd always partied quite hard, and as soon as we knew, it, he struggled to eat, he struggled, and obviously the chemo and probably the worry and the stress and

Rosie Gill-Moss:

gonna say the anxiety and, you know, fear.

Nina Edwards:

But we had, we came back and we got prepared for the next round of chemo. Then he had a, a PICC line fitted and I think we got the third round of chemo and then he got ill and we ended up back in hospital. Um, he had to have an operation. His bowel got completely blocked and he had to have an operation to remove some of that and he ended up in a stoma bag, um, Cecil the stoma bag, as

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh gosh, what was John's wife's called? It had a name, it's completely gone out of my memory. But yes, they did the same thing because for Holly to sort of take, Bob, Bob I think, to say take away the fear almost, they gave it a name, yeah. But for a man who, as you said earlier, was quite private about his toileting habits, that's a real sort of loss of dignity, isn't it?

Nina Edwards:

Yeah, he, um, he really struggled with it, but again, it was, um, well, you're here,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, you're alive.

Nina Edwards:

I'd rather have you and a stoma than nothing at all, so, um, but he was not very good at being in hospital. Um, he was a what, he was the most amazing man in the world, but he had very little patience. Um. Especially for people who might not possibly be doing the best job they could be doing. Um, and although our NHS is wonderful, there are some people there that are literally just, um, collecting a cheque and to, it's not the kind of caring profession sometimes that you expect it to be. And he used to get very frustrated and, um, it was hard, hard being, his buffer,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Nina Edwards:

and trying to keep things.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

and cancer does things. It makes them irrational and angry and ratty and they say they, like I'm generalizing, but patients with cancer end of life, they can tend to sort of say things they don't mean or react, you know, in the medic, whether it's the medication or the cancer. And you're right, you're the buffer, you're, and sometimes you have to take the force of the storm a bit. And that's very difficult.

Nina Edwards:

But we, again, we battled through that, and we got him home, and we learned to live with Cecil, and, um, Yeah, we settled the cesspit

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, God, yeah, okay. I like the fact there's a bit of dark humour, even at this point.

Nina Edwards:

we got used to, you know, dealing with that and, and by this point, obviously he hadn't worked since his diagnosis. I had an amazing company that let me take loads of compassionate leave. And then when I did go back, I was sort of, if something happened, I'd just switch off and they were just brilliant. There was no pressure on me at all, but I was still trying to work. Um, and obviously still run the house, dog, kids, feed people, food shop,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And the world doesn't stop, does it? You're still getting the letters from school and telling you you've got odd sock day coming. Oh, well, yours might be better than the rest of us. But yes, this enormous bombshell's been dropped into your life. And everything else the dog needs walking, like you say, the food shop needs doing.

Nina Edwards:

but

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I am pleased to hear you had a lot of compassion from work because that's one of my bugbears

Nina Edwards:

yeah, they were

Rosie Gill-Moss:

work.

Nina Edwards:

amazing, absolutely amazing, and his company were as well, they, um, carried on paying him, and, um, just basically took it as sick leave, and, yeah, we, we, it was nice for that not to be anything we had to worry about,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And that is one glimmer in this is when people do the right thing. If companies and bosses do the right thing, then it takes so much stress away because if you're having to think how the hell am I going to pay the mortgage this month whilst your husband is fighting cancer. It's just, there are so many extra layers all the time. But yes, I'm very pleased to hear that you both have supported workplaces.

Nina Edwards:

and then we, Um, I think the biggest issue, you know, having him home was obviously he was losing weight very quickly, um, and We, we were trying to feed him up, etc. And, um, dietitians and juices and things like that. Um, and I used to, again, widow hindsight, I used to get really frustrated with him because he'd fancy all these different things to eat and I'd run out to the shops and buy ten of it and bring it home and make it and then he'd eat them out and go, no, I can't eat it. But you need to eat and you need to put weight on to have more chemo. And.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It's really frustrating and I've heard John say, you know, he would cook, if Sarah fancied a roast, he would be cooking a roast at two in the morning if that's what she wanted to eat. Um, and he told me, I mean really we should do it, I'm speaking on his behalf, but when she was in hospital she really wanted a Nando's. And so they drove to Nando's and then She just got to the car park and was sick, and he said it was just heartbreaking, you know, just watching her try, but also frustrating because he would do the same, he had the dietician making up the shakes and the, the, not he, or whatever, one of them, actually it might be him, um, and trying to get it into her though was, you can, if you can't swallow and you can't physically eat, it's, no matter how much trouble somebody tells you to, it's, it's really

Nina Edwards:

He'd, he'd sort of had two sips of this drink and I'd be like, oh, carry on.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Come on, come on!

Nina Edwards:

And I say, but it's a drink. It's not even food. I'm not trying to make you eat food. But yeah, I was so desperate to try and

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Of course you were.

Nina Edwards:

get him eating and, and, and I think we got one round of chemo after that hospital stay, which then brought him out in a horrible rash. And, um, the sensitivity with his fingers and toes. So all the joy that chemo gives on top of the stoma and.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, cancer is a gift that keeps giving, right?

Nina Edwards:

And then, um, beginning of November, he started, um, really sort of, his stomach was bloating and, um, He thought he might have a blockage again. So we went for a scan and then on the 8th of November on my birthday

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Happy birthday, Breen.

Nina Edwards:

yeah, we had a call from the consultant to say that the chemo wasn't working that the tumor was getting bigger and and they

Rosie Gill-Moss:

gone through all of that for nothing.

Nina Edwards:

they didn't think it was um, The chemo was working and that they would probably now be looking at palliative care. Um, we just don't want to hear when your birthday. I think I've changed the date of it for the rest of the rest of my life. But, um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

your birthday, just move your birthday. The Queen did.

Nina Edwards:

days later, um, he was really severely in pain and, um, we needed to call an ambulance to come out and, um, take him into hospital. And he had, um, ascites, which is a buildup of fluid in the, in the abdomen. And they had to drain six liters of fluid from his stomach.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

guy.

Nina Edwards:

And I think that hospital visit. He was in there, I think, about a week, and one of the nights I was in there with him, he had a dream that he was saying goodbye to us all. And I think that's when it really hit both of us that that was. quicker than we expected. Um, but again, you still think, right, we'll get him home from this and we'll feed him back up and we'll get back to chemo and yeah. And then, um, that's when the hospice, um, started to get involved and, uh, they came out to see us and they did his DNR with him. And, um, he asked her how long she thought he had. And she said, obviously no one can answer that, but what I will say is when you're calling us once a month, you've got months. When you're calling us once a week, it's weeks. When you're calling us

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Daily.

Nina Edwards:

So that, that kind of stuck with me, um, and then in November we'd tried a referral to Royal Marsden and we'd spoken to them on, on, in the beginning of December and they sort of looked at him and said, no, there's not going to be any more treatment available. Um, and at the same day we were seeing our local consultant and they said, no, there's. We're literally now gonna give you steroids to help you have an appetite. We're gonna give you sleeping tablets to help you sleep. And we're gonna give you pain relief and go and enjoy Christmas.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, good luck with that.

Nina Edwards:

yeah. Um, and in between that he'd decided that we were all going to do a Santa fun run for our local hospice that were looking after us. So us. this time last year. All dressed as Santa, about 30 of us, him in his wheelchair. Yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

he manage it? But wheelchair and Santa hat, presumably?

Nina Edwards:

sorry,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Wheelchair and Santa hat?

Nina Edwards:

we all had full

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, full Santa

Nina Edwards:

on. Yeah, he was all over the local paper, um, and the hospice did an article on him because he'd managed to get so many people there and, um, I think that's when everyone really realised him showing up in a wheelchair. So

Rosie Gill-Moss:

That he was

Nina Edwards:

then, yeah, people started to really And again, the weight loss, obviously being with him every day, all day, seeing other people's reaction when they saw him was really quite hard. My son, um, is at uni and he'd come home for Christmas and some friends of ours were here and Owen was in bed and, um, they were upstairs talking to him in the bedroom and my son had come home and he said, Oh, I'm going to go and say hello to Owen and get my stuff unpacked. And my friends still say to this day, it was the hardest thing they've ever seen is my son walking and literally. be taken aback as to how different Owen was from the last time he'd been home, you know, a month or so before. So, yeah, everyone, December was, it was awful, truly awful, but people were constantly here. Owen was very much reaching out to people that he hadn't spoke to in a long time

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So he was quite keen to talk. Sorry, I've interrupted you, but he was actually quite keen to speak to people and let people know what was happening. Because often, um, People don't want anyone to know, they're quite private, and that can put quite an extra burden on you because you're then having to, again, be that shield. Um, so it's quite, I suppose, unusual to hear of somebody who wanted to talk to people, especially a man. But, I like that, I like that he felt he wanted to, I suppose it's a I don't know, it's the one thing that a terminal illness gives you, isn't it? It's the opportunity to say goodbye. Um, I'm not sure I'm, you know, you can't, you can't glitter a turd, it's, there is something to be said for that, I guess. And, and how did, how, how did the kids take it at this time? Were they kind of aware of how serious it was? And I know he's not their biological dad, but he's still an important figure in their lives.

Nina Edwards:

Yeah, I think it was obviously affecting them, um, I think the problem was From, from my perspective was I, I didn't really see them that much. If Owen was in hospital, I was up there all day. Um, I would be there till the end of visiting hours. Then I'd come home. They were obviously getting on with schoolwork and, and, and seeing their friends. So it was, it And he still tried so hard when he was around them to be him. Um, and, yeah, you could see it was really impacting them. As I say, when my son would come home, I think that's when it really hit him, whereas my daughter had been here. And their relationship, having gone from literally having to separate them sometimes years ago, to she would now go in and sit with him, and they would talk. And my son was scared. And

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah. Yeah.

Nina Edwards:

and they'd always been really, really close, but he retreated. He said, he kept saying to me, I don't know what to say to him. I don't know how to look at him. Whereas my daughter threw herself full on. Can I get you anything? Do you want

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Nightingale'd up.

Nina Edwards:

Yeah, do you, so yeah, it built their relationship. Um, but yeah, so we had his friends in and out. His dad and step mom would come down and see us, and my parents were here, so we, we had people in and out. Um, and I think the hardest thing in the lead up to that Christmas was I was, by this point, sleeping on a mattress on our bedroom floor. One, so as not to disturb him, and two, um, I'll be honest, my coping mechanism was alcohol. So most evenings when I was finished caring and tablets and morphine and everything else, I would sit and have a drink. Um.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Well, at least you weren't taking the morphine. Let's take every win where we can get it. And, you know what? Alcohol is a really effective coping mechanism. It doesn't work long term, as I can attest. But, there's no shame in it. Like, you Well, you do what you gotta do, right?

Nina Edwards:

But he, he used to say to me, I can't stand the smell of it. So, yeah, so part of it was to

Rosie Gill-Moss:

You're not so fragrant yourself.

Nina Edwards:

Yeah, part of it was to help him sleep, and part of it was to, um, yeah, keep away from him so he didn't moan about me drinking, which he did moan about, but I kind of said, like, you've got, you've got a bag on your balloon, you're on crack, I'm allowed to drink, mate, like,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I think, I think that you were allowed a drink at this

Nina Edwards:

um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

yeah, sometimes you've got to built out a bit.

Nina Edwards:

but in the lead up to Christmas, I would often wake up scared that he wasn't going to be awake when I woke up, um, But more often than not, I'd wake up and he'd been awake since about three o'clock in the morning, and he'd put his playlist together for his funeral, he'd put a playlist together for his wake, he'd to wear one of these ashes scattered, he'd decided what people should wear to his funeral, and he kept trying to tell me. You know, I'm gonna send you this. No, no, I don't, I don't want, you know, you're gonna have to find somebody else to talk to about this and give these because I'm not ready to deal with that now. So luckily, poor stepmum, bless her, got all the Google Maps of where, um, I told you he was organized, Google Map pinpoints of where he wants his ashes scattered

Rosie Gill-Moss:

But this, this is a man trying to take back control, isn't it? This is a man who has had all autonomy and control stripped from him. And he's kind of thinking, what can I, what can I control? I, yeah, and I suppose it's something we should talk about, is, you know, what we want to happen at the end. Dolly Parton, I will always love you. Thank you very much at

Nina Edwards:

and I have to admit in those first few weeks when people were asking it was quite nice to just go There you go, that's what he's, that's what he

Rosie Gill-Moss:

that he'd done the plan. My grandma was the same. She, she did this, um. I think she said, I've paid for such and such. If you want anything else, you'll have to pay for yourself. And

Nina Edwards:

organised our wills when we first moved into our home together. Um, purely because we'd had the conversation about, um, if either of us died and met somebody else.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

it's complicated when you're blending families as well. You do have to make sure that there's legal paperwork in place. We've

Nina Edwards:

he, he'd done all that and my, my best friend, um, has worked in probate. So she'd come around and they'd sit and she'd go through all the, so everything he'd done lists of passwords for bank accounts. He was the, the notes on his phone, um, telling everything what needed, doing, et cetera. He was so organized. Um, but we got through. So we had Christmas Eve, which was quite normal, he'd organised a family quiz, and we sat and done the quiz.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

he's organized a family quiz while he's, you know, terminally ill. I can't organize a family quiz at the best times.

Nina Edwards:

sort the kids out with apps for buzzers on their phone, and um, and then Christmas Day we got up and he'd, we'd sorted the turkey, and we were meant to have lots of family here, but we'd had to scale it back so it was just my parents and kids, um, here. Yeah. And um That's when he, Christmas Day, he looked really ill, and I remember thinking, he looks bad today, and, and, um, and then Boxing Day, we had to call out the nurses for, um, painkillers, and he couldn't eat anything, and he looked really run down, and then we had to call them out, I think, three times on Boxing Day, and then, The next day, he said you need to call Provident and get them to come out, and I wouldn't do it. And I said to him, if I do that, that means that you've got days, because

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Nina, do you know, as you were talking, I was thinking about that, what the hospice nurse said, and I, I was thinking that stays, yeah. Oh, you poor thing.

Nina Edwards:

Um, so on the 28th, uh, obviously everything had reopened after Christmas and we were waiting for, um, the doctors to call and Farley to call to, uh, our hospice to call to sort out medication, etc. And he said to me, I'd just got out of the shower, I was drying my hair and he said, they've got me a bed at the hospice. Um, I think I should go in so they can help me get this pain under control and it'll just be a few days and I'll get the pain under control and, um, medication sorted and, and, um, then it'll be fine, you know, I'll come back home again. So we went in on the 28th and the first couple of nights, it was like he was in hospital, I'd go up during the day, I'd, I'd come back. His family would be in and out. Um, and then on the Friday. He was in so much pain that I stayed the night with him. You know, the joy of hospice, not the joy, but the pleasure of a hospice being able to spend the night and

Rosie Gill-Moss:

They are amazing. Everything I'm hearing from people who have lost people to, um, long term conditions is that hospices are incredible. And actually I'm, I'm helping out a children's grief event on Sunday, which is Hell Letter Hospice. And I, the first time I turned up I expected it to be, it's a children's hospice. I thought it was going to be the most, you know, depressing place on earth. But actually it's full of colour and vibrancy. And yes, it's a, you know, a place where people do come to die. But they make it as. I don't know what the word here is to sort of make it sort of as palatable as possible as, you know,

Nina Edwards:

were amazing and he was comfortable and

Rosie Gill-Moss:

way you die matters, doesn't it?

Nina Edwards:

Yeah, and us all being able to be there whenever we wanted to be there was a pleasure for us to be able to stay. Um, so he's. I stayed on the Friday, his dad stayed with him on the Saturday, which was New Year's Eve, because I came home to be with my daughter, because she was on her own. Um, he was still at this point, people were still trying to come in and see him, and he was still making plans for the following week. And then, New Year's Eve, No, New Year's Day, um, I know now, obviously, looking back through his phone, he'd started to message people saying, um, I know I've not got long now, um, on the Monday morning, me, I'd pretty much, from New Year's Day, I'd stayed at the hospice and I didn't come home again. Um, and me and his dad, um, would stay the night in the room with him and, uh, his mum and brother would stay in another room, but we were there 24 7, uh, in the room with him. And on the Monday morning, a nurse came to find me and said, If there's people that want to see him, now, now is the time. He's, he's deteriorating. Um, so we managed to get his kids in.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And his kids were estranged from him, weren't they? Because I've actually lost visual on you Nina, I can't hear you though. Um, but, so that must have been a relief that you'd managed to get them to go in and see him because I imagine that would have, even if they didn't feel it at the time, it would have laid very heavily on them in the future had they not.

Nina Edwards:

for him, he was still sort of in and out, um, being awake at this point. So he did see them and he did speak with them and he knew they were there. So for us, that was a massive thing for him to, to see them. Um, and then on the, the Wednesday night, me and his dad were in the room, in the room with him, and he woke up and snuck in a cheeky kiss, asked me to go and get something, and snuck in a cheeky kiss, and asked me if I had my little leather skirt on for

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, did he?

Nina Edwards:

by this point, his dad went, I'm going to leave you two to it for a minute. Um, but he was talking to me, and Telling me how much he loved me and we got to talk and then his dad come back in and he was telling me and his dad to order a rum and coke and get a gin and tonic and Obviously now I know that's what they call the surge

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Nina Edwards:

Again at the time I did think this is the start of it and he's having this lucid Moments and then Oh, before that, I must tell you this, but before that, on the Monday, he decided to tell us all what we needed to do

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, okay, okay.

Nina Edwards:

I did tell you it was very

Rosie Gill-Moss:

intrigued.

Nina Edwards:

Um, so his mum, he told her she needed to get hearing aids because he was, she was driving everyone mental that she couldn't hear anything.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

This is the gift of Death Bear, isn't it? You can say whatever you

Nina Edwards:

his brother he needed to lose some weight and, um, look after his health a bit better. Um, he told his dad he needs to stop fretting and stressing so much because his dad's got Parkinson's and he was saying, yeah, it's making worse. And for me it was less run, more running. And he was very keen to tell me that I needed to get back out running. I have.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Outrunning those demons, my friend. I feel ya.

Nina Edwards:

Um, so yeah, he'd, we'd had, as you said, if, if there's going to be any thing you can take from a long term illness was the fact that we got to have those conversations. We got to, he was very worried about how I would cope and He'd, um, he'd had a friend that he'd known in his 20s who had got married and his wife had died when she was 32, I think, of breast cancer. Now, he hadn't seen this guy. They'd kept in touch, but he hadn't seen him for years. Um, he made sure that we connected. He, I, we had an extractor in the bathroom that needed sorting out. He kept going on about it, and I was You know, you're on your deathbed, I really don't care about the extractor fan. But he wanted me to connect with this guy who had lost his wife. And again, found a message later saying, you're the only one that will be able to know how she's feeling and she won't cope. Please look after her. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

thinking about you, just, and there is so much love running through this. And, I mean, I love the bit about the leather scarf as well, that's wonderful. But, it's, it's also tragic as well, isn't it? Because in order to put all these plans in place, he's doing this because of how much he loved you. I'm

Nina Edwards:

and then sadly on the Thursday, he didn't wake up at all that day. And

Rosie Gill-Moss:

woke up.

Nina Edwards:

the evening, he took his last breath with me, holding his hand and his dad and his mum and his brother there.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I think, Nina, that's what they call a good death. It's little sympathy right now and certainly at the time, but you want to go surrounded by the people that you love, not alone. Um, Oh, and then John has just told me actually, um, earlier that when somebody dies in hospice, you're given a sealed envelope and told that you must not open it. You must take it to the council office. I don't know if it's the same in Essex. And so you. Your husband has just died and then suddenly you immediately have to take on the role of administrative.

Nina Edwards:

I was very, very lucky in that my, um, father in law, um, because I was, because we had a lot of kit. We had wheelchair, uh, walking sticks, stoma kit. Lots of different, in the hospice room. And I remember saying to him, I don't, I can't have any of that come home. I don't want to have to deal with that once he's gone. And he's, um, his dad literally said, you go home. I'm going to call your best friend, she's going to come and get you. And you go home and be with your family. You be with your kids and your parents and we will deal with all of this. So I was very, very lucky that I got to say my goodbyes and go home and be with my family. my family and my kids, um, so I didn't have to do, and his brother dealt with all the admin stuff, um, so I was very lucky in that respect.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And it is, I mean, one of my former guests, she actually runs a service helping widows with admin because it is so enormous. And, oh, I mean, from the sounds of it, your office is very organized. Mine, mine less so. And, you know, many people have gone to check, you know, life insurance policies and things and found that they're out of date or that they didn't cover certain things. And I suppose there's an element here of, Taking responsibility for your own demise, i. e. having a file where your passwords are, having a legal document that says what you want to happen to you and to your, your children, because where we're young, we don't think of it, you know, I mean, I don't feel that young anymore, but I, it just seems so far away. I didn't have a will.

Nina Edwards:

Well, even, even pensions, I, I never had pensions,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

See, I worked in the civil service. I probably have got one somewhere I need to dig out, but,

Nina Edwards:

it used to drive him mad. He'd say, I'll be eating steak and chips, and you'll be on, like, three hoops on toast, and, because he'd, he'd, he'd planned for.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

But did that mean that you were able to stay in your, your dream

Nina Edwards:

I am, yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, that's nice. I moved out of my house. Um, I didn't plan, well I wanted to immediately, but um, the cost implication of, you know, I would have ended up in a smaller house. Um, so I stayed and just changed my house. And then obviously, you know,

Nina Edwards:

Now, at the moment, I'm, I quit work. I went back to work, um, I think back in May time, because I was on sabbatical, um, which they'd kindly agreed, and I went back in May, um, did it for a few months, but I'm a conveyancer by trade. I'm a property lawyer, so, uh, my brain

Rosie Gill-Moss:

you need your brain for that,

Nina Edwards:

Yeah, my brain could not cope and I tried for a few months and then I, um, in July I said no, I can't do this anymore. Um, so I've not been at work since July, but I'm now looking to go back into work in January.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I think you do. I think sometimes they're after something like this. You do need a break and John and I we both sell businesses. So we were able to enjoy some sort of sort of half when he came out of hospital. Enjoy this kind of almost semi retirement because you need to remember what's important and Well, he left his work and, um, proposed to me. And it does make you realize what matters and what's important. Um, And I'm glad that you have been able to take the time off actually, because I do think women particularly, and I, I hold my hands up here. We, we just go, go, go, go, go, go, go. Until it just falls apart. So, although it does put time off from work. Probably gave you time to think though. How have you found that?

Nina Edwards:

yeah, I, I would say the first, the first three months are just a blur, um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Rub.

Nina Edwards:

you had fried chicken and wine, I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

chicken and wine.

Nina Edwards:

I had Nando's and rum, um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

go.

Nina Edwards:

That was my staple diet, um, and just that blur of, and, and to be honest, when we said earlier about, you know, the fact that I've come on quite early into my grief, um, I think I found Wye and you guys back in March, um, I remember manically

Rosie Gill-Moss:

really new then.

Nina Edwards:

and listening to every episode you'd done. In one weekend while I was manically gardening, because I first went to a support group. Um, and I was the youngest widow there by 20 odd years. And I remember some

Rosie Gill-Moss:

the lack of relatability. Oh.

Nina Edwards:

or his clothes or anything. And I, and I'm six years in. And I remember this feeling of panic that if I am going to feel this way in six years time, I'm not going to make it. I'm not. Those first few months dark,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, they are. They are.

Nina Edwards:

If it hadn't been for my kids

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I know. I know.

Nina Edwards:

my dog, I would, I, hand on heart, wouldn't be here. I, I know I wouldn't, but,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

That's made me go very cold because I can relate. I remember going to the doctors and saying, I can't, I keep thinking, how can I just end this without hurting my kids? And he was like, I think we're gonna pop you on some tablets. But,

Nina Edwards:

I think the thing that, me by surprise, was the physical, like I expected the emotional effect of grief, but the physical, not being able to walk to the shops without feeling panicked and physically

Rosie Gill-Moss:

did you get ill a lot? I used to get ill a lot. And I'm quite healthy, robust quite normally. Luckily, not through any, not through any healthy living really. But I don't tend to get ill and I just remember I used to get everything. And I was constantly run down, I mean partly that my Boozy lifestyle, I guess, but it just seems to, um, and actually I did hear that when you're running in this kind of fight or flight mode that you're, it does lower your immunity. So you are more susceptible to things. So there is a science behind it as well, which I had no idea about before this.

Nina Edwards:

I just remember thinking, I, I'm I, I need to find a way, and I actually have that tattooed on my arm because that was my husband's favourite saying, if anything, if you ever had a problem, he'd be, he's, he would answer you with, find a way, there's always a

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And is that what you have? Find a way?

Nina Edwards:

tattooed on my arm, um, in his handwriting, um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh,

Nina Edwards:

but that, that to me was, I can't, I can't stay in this position, I can't live in this state, so I need to, so yeah, way was a godsend. Um, someone told me about that, one of the hospice workers told me about that. And listening to the podcast, hearing people come out the other side, was all I needed to hear was that people do come out the other side.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And actually that's really made me go goose bumpy because that is all we ever set out to do really, was to give people this, A, to give people the opportunity to tell their stories, because you don't often get to. Not full start to finish, but also to kind of create this feeling of empathy and Stop the isolation because, um, it is really lonely, like you're saying. I, I, my mum had some friends who were widows, but I didn't, I now have loads and to the point that one of my kids said to me, do you have any friends whose husband haven't

Nina Edwards:

My daughter said, Why does everyone say do your phone with so and so wit?

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah. Yeah. I've got loads of wids in my, yeah, yeah. And, and all guess go is Waff.

Nina Edwards:

Um, So yeah, I, I knew that I couldn't sit. Allow this to become me. There's, it's still bloody hard and there are still days I don't want to move. But

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I cried. Cried at a wall at the weekend. It happens.

Nina Edwards:

I am, I've signed up for the London marathon.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Have you?

Nina Edwards:

of the hospice that looked after my husband. I am.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Bloody well, I did a marathon, you know, have I mentioned it?

Nina Edwards:

allowed to talk about

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm going to put my

Nina Edwards:

do one, you're allowed to talk about it at any point.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, this is it. I've done one. I'll never do another one, but I, I'm officially a marathon finisher. We'll not say runner, but Lena, what I'm hearing here and I've written it down and underlined it is the choice. And this is where I'm, where you make the choice. And every single guest of mine has made a choice because they have made a choice to make their life better and to. To live, to grab on to, because there is still joy and wonder and fun in life. There's also hardship, pain and sorrow, but you have to, it's the analogy of kind of giving, you throw somebody a rope, but they still have to climb up it. And this is where I can hear you making the choice. And this to me says that you are going to be okay. You know, you're going to be sideswiped by grief probably for the rest of your life, because accepting that is part of the process. But, the fact that you are not even a year in, and you are making that choice, tells me what kind of woman you are, and that you're going to be alright.

Nina Edwards:

He, um, he was so worried about me and he asked, said to so many people, I worry that she'll drink too much, which, yeah, still has, still rears its head on a regular basis.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

steps, baby steps. I've only, I will have been sober two years in March, and I'll be widowed six years, so it takes time.

Nina Edwards:

less run, more running. And that's

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Because you can't really run hungover, can you? That's

Nina Edwards:

what I can't run

Rosie Gill-Moss:

up in bushes.

Nina Edwards:

have been known to, but, um, but all I've got is what he hasn't got. I've got me.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

That's a really nice way of putting it.

Nina Edwards:

I've got the getting up every morning, which he would have given anything for. So, yes, it's tough. Yes, it hurts. But,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It is, it's, it's part of you, isn't it? And it really is part of you. The grief will, you know, and, you know, perhaps one day you may meet somebody, but it doesn't, you won't stop grieving. It stays. It's like this kind of little bend shaped hole, sort of. And sometimes it becomes too much for me to bear and the sorrow leaks out. But I've realised that's okay and I mentioned the other week, I think, about just putting on his playlist and just crying in the woods in the dark at half past five in the morning. Very safe. Um, but it, it's I find some risk taking activity these days. Um, it's, it's therapeutic and acknowledging their pain. There's, um, a big fan, Donna Ashworth's poem where it's about love is Sorry, the grief is the loss and the love. It's, it's love with Right, I'm making a right pig's ear of this. Grief is love with nowhere to go. I think that's it. And, and it really is. And you wouldn't be human if you weren't feeling this pain, but You're also entitled to live a life yourself. Um, and running, running is a really good way of doing it. I, um, I've been a bit slack myself, but I have been briskly walking. Um,

Nina Edwards:

but you've been ice bathing, so, yeah. I'd rather run a marathon than go in an ice

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Well, you might want to use it while you're doing your training. It'd be good for your rehab. My dad, actually, who is 72, is doing, um, Land's End John O'Groats bike ride. Next year, and he was talking to John about the ice bath and I was like, dad, you can't just get into the ice bath. You'll have a heart attack. You know, you've got to build yourself up to it. You can't just get in five degrees. But, um, yeah, I, I found the running, I found everything else hurt. So nothing else could. And like I say, it, it keeps you kind of alive because in order to propel yourself forward physically, you have to eat, you have to sleep. And, um. There is actually a book called Outrunning Your Demons, which is, um, a catalogue of stories of people who ran to deal with addictions or losses. Um, and there is something in it, I really like yoga because I find it kind of connects me back into my body a bit, but I'm, I'm really honoured that you have told me your story today, especially with, you know, being really fairly fresh. What was the date that he died? I didn't write it

Nina Edwards:

For January this year. Yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Well, my wedding anniversary is the 4th, so I will think of you. Um. I am glad that you got that wedding and I would like to see pictures if you would send me them.

Nina Edwards:

definitely.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

But Nina, for now, I, I, yeah, just thank you, um, an incredible and tragic story, but essentially like they all are, a story of love. And you can hear how hard the hospital tried to save him. You can hear how hard you tried, he tried. And it's that admitting that sometimes we're fallible and that's really difficult. But I know that there will be many people who get value from hearing your story, and I certainly have. So thank you for taking the

Nina Edwards:

thank you for letting me have the space to tell it.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, you know what? Anytime. Come back again in a year if you like and tell us how you're getting on. You take care of yourself. I will stay in touch because, um, I do with all of my guests and I will. When this goes out, which will be in the new year, which is really confusing me, John and I will have a chat about it, and I'm sure he will have lots to talk about, so I'll let you know when that episode goes out as well. But, lots of, lots of love, Nina, to you and the kids, and to everybody who's listening, you take care of yourselves out there, and for now, it's bye from me.

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