‘That day my whole world changed’ - woman from St Neots discusses agonising grief of losing her husband while expecting their first child
- Credit: Archant
“You live around the grief but it is still the core of who you are.”
These are the words of Victoria Smith, 35, whose husband, Nigel, was tragically killed when she was just eight-weeks pregnant in 2018.
Victoria was swept up among the waves of grief while left facing a different life from the one they had planned.
She sold her and Nigel’s forever home in Leighton Buzzard and moved back to St Neots to be closer to family.
Her friends came with her baby scans and her mum was there at the birth of her baby boy - who Victoria describes as an “amazing child” - named after his father.
Victoria spoke to The Hunts Post as part of the paper’s We Need To Talk...Grief feature, which aims to bring grief out of the shadows and get people talking.
She said: “We had been trying for a family for many years, failed fertility treatment was an ongoing battle however eventually we succeeded with a pregnancy,” Victoria said.
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“On the Monday we had our eight-week scan, the same week on the Friday my husband was killed on his motorbike by a driver who failed to stop at a junction.
“That day my whole world changed - in some ways I lost everything.
“I moved away to be closer to my support network, leaving behind the town and home we saw ourselves in forever.
“But more importantly I lost our future and the father of my child.”
She continued: “I had to focus on myself and looking after my baby and keep us protected.
“The grief I’ve felt is pretty indescribable.”
Shortly after Nigel’s death, aged 32, Victoria was told about a support group for young widows called WAY (Widowed & Young).
The charity supports more than 3,500 young widowed people across the UK - including in Huntingdon and the surrounding area.
“When I joined WAY about a year after my husband’s death it was a huge comfort that other people understood what I was going through.
“It is great to be able to say ‘I feel this way’ and have someone else ‘get it’ or speak with those who had lost loved ones some years ago who have now come out the other end.
“You get to have someone there who is a sounding board and I had that taken away in the form of my husband.
“It could be the simplest things like having your heating broken and needing some advice what to do.
“I was thrown into a new chapter and I thought ‘how will I navigate that now?’
“WAY has given me the confidence to reach out and open up about my grief.”
WAY offers a support network for anyone who’s lost a partner before their 51st birthday.
It is run by volunteers who have been bereaved at a young age themselves - so they understand exactly what other members are going through.
They also hold social group meet ups throughout the year – for drinks, meals out, walks and picnics alongside online support.
“It’s also a way to remember your loved one,” Victoria added.
“One strong element of WAY is being able to openly talk about your grief and now I can speak outside of the group about it - which is so important because it’s a topic that isn’t discussed enough.
“Just over two years on I am now in a place where the grief is no longer all consuming, rather it comes in waves that I know I have to ride out and I understand now that it’s okay to not be okay.
“My life moves forwards with the continued support of family, friends and WAY.
“If I can help others by opening up about my experiences then that can help me too.”
To find out more about WAY visit their website at: www.widowedandyoung.org.uk