Rebuilding my life: Zoe's story

March 2024

WAY volunteer Zoe lost her partner to a road traffic collision in October 2020. She explains how she’s started to rebuild her own life after his death…

I was 43 when my partner died in a road traffic collision in October 2020, just six days after his 50th birthday. I came home from work to the knock on the door from the police to tell me the devastating news. I can’t remember much about the following weeks apart from there were lots of phone calls, paperwork to sort out and Rich’s funeral to arrange.

Rich had finished work early that day and went out for a ride on his motorbike on a beautiful sunny afternoon. Another vehicle made contact with his motorbike and he hit a parked car. There was nothing he could have done and he died instantly. As another vehicle was involved in his death, the lengthy legal process took over 21 months to complete. 

Our Police Family Liaison Officer was very supportive and helpful. He kept me regularly updated and suggested contacting Brake, the road safety charity. I was allocated a Brake case worker who kept in touch with me throughout the legal process.

Not knowing all the circumstances about the accident until the case went to court was really difficult. The waiting was so hard and, once the legal matters were finally concluded, I felt so drained. There were four separate court dates in total. As the required information was all shared in the Crown Court, an Inquest was not required. I wrote my Victim Impact Statement a few months after Rich died and revisited it many times before it was read out in court in August 2022. It was my only opportunity to have a voice throughout the legal proceedings. Having a focus on justice for Rich was something that kept me going.Although I did not witness the accident, I have struggled with driving since Rich died. I arranged a few driving sessions with a local driving instructor and that helped to give me more confidence while driving. I have also accessed counselling and a form of psychotherapy called EMDR Therapy – both have been very helpful to me. 

Support from family and friends has been key

Everything in my life changed with the loss of Rich. I felt lost, lonely and even everyday things like cooking, sleeping and watching TV were so different. There have been some very dark times for me. However, without me even realising, the light started to creep back in.

"Although life will never be the same again, I am finding joy in the world."

Support from family and friends has really been key to helping me over the last three years.

I found out about WAY through the information shared by Brake and joined the peer support network for young widows in December 2020. There is a subgroup for those widowed by an RTA/RTC. When I joined the charity, because of national Covid-19 restrictions, all events were online but it was so helpful to know that there were a community of people who understood what I was going through.  

I was so nervous before I attended my first in-person event but everyone was so welcoming. I have made some really special friends through WAY. There is so much kindness and empathy from other members. I am now a volunteer for my local area group. Being able to give something back to the charity that helped me is very important to me. 

I took a step back from work after Rich died and, as well as volunteering for WAY, I also volunteer as part of the garden team at my local hospice. Last year I went on my first solo holiday to a Pilates retreat in Italy. I am about to begin training to teach Pilates too.

"I still miss my Rich every day and take him with me in everything I do."

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Find support from WAY

When you join WAY you’ll have access to a community of other widowed people who understand what you are going through.

Members can access, a telephone support line, a subscription to our members magazine, specific groups to connect with others and helpful resources to help you understand your loss.

We are sorry you or a loved one needs to be here, but we all understand how difficult these times can be and we’re here for when you are ready.