Every single room of my house is full of people; people talking, nattering, chattering, gossiping... pledging their unstinting support (“You can ask us anything Mary dear, we’ll be there for you, promise...”), people who never liked Simon and whom Simon didn’t like; work colleagues, distant relatives and a few faces I’ve never seen before.

I’ve never felt so alone in my entire life.

Even Jonathan, bless him. He’s lost his daddy. Not his spouse.

He doesn’t know how it feels.

My aunt was never one for saying the right thing, but this time she surpassed herself. Because her husband walked out on her when she was in her early 30s, she has had the audacity to tell me that our fates were similar – “but don’t worry sweetheart” she added comfortingly “I’ve pulled through and you will, too.” Well that’s me sorted then – families!

Well never mind my silly aunt. While I’m passing plates of sandwiches around, something the police officer said is going round and round in my mind.
It’s not his suggesting that I should sit down. Or the gentle tone he used to break the news. Or the time he gave me to compose herself. Or his condolences. Or his request that I should come and identify Simon’s body.

It’s that little sentence, in the midst of it all.

 “Ten people on average die on the roads every day. We are so sorry that your husband was one of them today.”

Ten people. Not necessarily elderly people. Ten people like Simon.
And cancer. I mean, it doesn’t only happen to old people, does it?
How about heart attacks?
It can only mean one thing.
Somewhere out there, more than ten men and women are left bereaved every day.

And as I’m shaking hands and saying the right things, I’m holding on tight to this idea.

I am not alone.

How do I reach out to the others?
Well I suppose I could put an ad in a national newspaper, but that would cost too much.

I could have leaflets printed out? Where would I leave them though? I’m not sure the library would display them... or the doctor’s surgery...

How about at the police station? Or the hospital? Yes, I could start there.

What am I going to write though? “Widow aged 35 would like to meet men and women in the same situation for social outings”?

Well I suppose that could be a start.

Even if it turns out to be a bad idea, I simply must go on. I must make Simon proud.

What would he have done if the boot had been on the other foot?
Knowing him, he would have gone onwards and upwards, as he used to say.

So that’s what I’m going to do.
Onwards and upwards.

It could be a good name for the group, if I do get the numbers.

Yes, that’s right.

And upwards.