Beyond going out to do the shopping, I didn’t leave the house as I was too bereft and too exhausted.Eventually when I went back to work, Joanne’s parents were brilliant.Finally I made the decision to ask my parents-in-law to stop coming to the house each day, something that they’d been doing ever since Joanne had first got ill four years earlier.I realised it was difficult for them to see another woman taking care of their grandchildren, and although grateful for their help, decided it was better for Lisa to be in charge than to have the children playing the adults off against each other.On hearing this I felt incredibly guilty, and started to wonder if I was traumatising my children by starting another relationship so soon.
Incredibly, she survived for two more years — but in June 2007 she had a fatal heart attack at home. Paige understood about her mother’s illness, but the other two were too young.
When I returned on Sunday my parents-in-law sternly informed me that the children had been ‘distraught’ to see me drive off with another woman and even worse, another little girl.
I could tell from their disapproving manner that they, too, were angered by my behaviour.
My own loss, unbearable as it was — I believed that I’d never be happy again — seemed nothing in comparison to theirs.
The thought of starting another relationship was the last thing on my mind. I took compassionate leave from my job for three months and became a full-time stay-at-home dad.
What makes us even more unusual, and perhaps shocking to some, is that Lisa and I fell for each other just four months after Joanne’s death and started dating after five.