Sarah’s story – facing her first Christmas after her husband died

December 2023

This will be Sarah’s first Christmas and New Year without Glynn, who died on 3 March 2023. This time last year, Glynn was in and out of hospital before being discharged on New Year’s Eve: “It was such a quiet New Year, but so special as we both knew it would probably be our last,” - Sarah, 33.

A couple with a dog sitting on a swing seat with flowers on it

“Glynn and I were family friends (his dad and my stepdad were very close friends). We met in 2009 but reconnected in 2020 at my Mum’s pub by coincidence. 

I was out with a friend and we bumped into each other, and from that moment, we were inseparable and just loved being in each other’s company. We moved in together in October 2020 and by August 2022 we were engaged and married in January.

After being in remission, Glynn had been re-diagnosed with cancer in April 2021 and was having a chemo break when we got married. We managed to go on honeymoon to Barbados for three weeks, and when we came back from honeymoon, the cancer had started to grow again. 

Glynn was on chemotherapy until October when we were told it was stable but then, after catching the flu in December, his immune system was weakened and it became apparent that the cancer was back. He became very weak and was readmitted to hospital four times between December 2022 and January 2023. 

On our last visit in January when Glynn was in hospital for 16 days, we were then told he would be going into palliative care and he came home to receive care from the district nurses. In spite of the devastating news, he was determined that he was going to get better and stayed positive until four days before he passed away. 

I took time off work in January and became his full-time carer. I made sure that all his care remained at home so that I could follow the wishes that he wanted to pass at home, surrounded by our close family.”

Last Christmas

A couple in wooly hats and coats stood under a tunnel of Christmas lights with a hot drink

“Last Christmas was our first Christmas in our new home. Although Glynn was particularly ill, he was determined to cook dinner for eight of us. So for this Christmas I’d like to mark that by having the same family around and having Christmas in our home again with a Glynn- styled lavish dinner. 

Unfortunately I’m not as good a cook as him but I’ll give it a good go! Glynn was always a bit of a show off and liked to buy the biggest tree so this year I’ll need to mark that by buying a massive tree to put in the window and cover it with fairy lights. He was such a fan of Christmas and loved going over the top on decorations and spoiling everyone!"

"He made Christmas magical and I’ll make it special in his honour.”

“The toughest moments are coming up from work in the evenings to an empty house,” Sarah recently told Bella magazine. 

She also told Bella: “Glynn died before we had children so it’s not just him I’m grieving. It’s the family we never had and the life we could not build together. But I have no regrets. Even though I’m without Glynn now, I’d never have chosen a different path because I’m so grateful to have known and loved him at all.”

“Over the last couple of months, through WAY I have found widows that I have connected with and we have been able to support each other through such a trying time. Although our stories are all different, we have quite a few similarities. I have found other members who are in their 30s and childless so we are supporting each other while grieving our partners and the loss of the children we would have had with them.”

Sarah shared her story with Bella magazine in November 2023.

Here more from our members:

"I suppose I’m facing next year with optimism. I have to get through the first anniversary, but then I have to live my life to the full. I owe him that because he can’t do the same and I owe myself that, because I have a life to live."

WAY member Claire shares how she is facing the Christmas and the New Year with as much optimism as she can since her husband of 20 years died in January…

WAY volunteer Tracey shares the story of how WAY Widowed and Young’s Secret Santa initiative came about.

This year she is organising for more than 170 gifts to be sent out to WAY members’ children across the UK, helping to share a little WAY love at Christmas.

"The motivation to keep going is literally the smiles, just knowing that I, and my fellow WAYers, have helped WAY families all over the UK smile, if only for a minute."

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Tips for members for coping with grief

We know how difficult Christmas can be for people who have been widowed young. As everyone around you is celebrating the festive period, we understand that no matter how many days, months or years you are from your bereavement, this time of year can bring a rollercoaster of emotions.

WAY members share more tips for coping with grief and loss at Christmas.


Some of our members will be sharing their tips and how they cope with grief and loss during the holidays in our #12WAYSofChristmas

We will be sharing them daily on our social media pages from 20 December through to New Year.