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Why? Who? What's this blog about? It's about MEEEE!

Being a Widow

My experience of dealing with grief as a widow


About Jane's brain tumour journey: Astrocytoma.co.uk

The Jane Memory Map

10 January 2012

I should be in bed or at least preparing for my interview at Coventry University tomorrow. But instead I worked on this: The Jane Memory Map.

Sometimes it seems to me that people around me don't understand how "everything reminds me of Jane" actually works. It seems they think I go around deliberately remembering things and locations. So I made a "Jane Memory Map" that shows how it works.

I am working as a home carer so I spend A LOT of my time driving around on my way to clients. And memories are around every corner. It does not mean every memory makes me cry, but it does mean I am reminded of Jane all the time, everywhere.

I think about Jane a lot. In fact, not a minute goes by that I do not think about her. Consciously or subconsciously, think about her. When someone says something, I remember Jane used to say that too. When I see something, I remember when I last saw it when Jane was still alive etc.

I don't do it on purpose. I really don't. I think this happens to all of us: memories flood our brains all the time but because they are not important to us at that moment, we don't even notice this process.

When I drive around, I notice every place we went to together and what happened there when Jane was still alive. I don't do it on purpose but memories just pop in my head. I am sure this happens subconsciously to everyone, whether they have lost someone or not. I just think that for widows, every memory is appended or prefixed by "when X was still alive".

For example, when Jane went to fencing every week, driving past the fencing club was not anything special. I just thought stuff like: Oh, it's Wednesday today, tomorrow is fencing night. And then my brain moved on.

But since Jane is dead, every time I drive past, I think: She used to fence here.


Without wanting to, the next few seconds, minutes are then spent thinking of things related to that place I just drove past. And then I drive past the next place that has a memory. And then the next place. And so I drive from place to place. Memory to memory.

So I made this map. It has pictures. And it has the thoughts I have when I drive past the places. It shows the memories I encountered today. Just today. And these memories pop up every single time I drive past these places. Which I do multiple times in the day as I drive around the area to my various clients.

A different day takes me to a different area with a similar amount of memories.

It turns out that most of the memories are not of specific big activities as such, but of feelings I had about that activity. When I think of Jane, a memory pops in to my head and the next thing I remember is what I was either feeling at the time of the event, or the emotion I feel about it now.

I am not explaining this very well I think. What I am trying to say is that without wanting to, everything reminds me of Jane. All day. Every day. I can not avoid it. It does not make me cry (well, most of the time it doesn't). All I need to do is to learn to give all these thoughts a place.

To see the map in its full interactive glory, visit the Jane Memory Map here.


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