Life after losing Ronnie

During the pandemic, Susie Gentry’s husband Ronnie died. She shares her memories and discusses some of the things that have helped her to cope with grief and look ahead.

Ronnie and I were together for 25 years before we got married. We got married in 2005 and we had a good and nice life together. We were very happy. After we got married, we moved into our own flat and this is where I live today.

When my Ronnie passed away, I was very sad and miserable. He woke up on a Friday morning saying he had a pain in his chest and he couldn’t get up. I called an ambulance and the ambulance came. He went to the hospital.

Then the doctor phoned me and said that Ronnie was very ill. I was very upset because I couldn’t visit because of the pandemic. I kept phoning to see how he was.

On the Saturday morning, the nurse called me and said: “I’m very sorry Susie but your husband passed away at 5.45 in the morning.”

I said to the nurse, “Did he say anything about me?” and she said, “Yes, he was talking about you and going out with you on his birthday.”

Losing Ronnie was a very big shock. When Ronnie passed away, we had been married for 15 years and had been together for 40 years. This happened at the start of the pandemic but he did not have Covid.

Friends to look after me

When I went to his funeral, I was very upset. It was good that I had friends who looked after me and they gave me a cuddle. After that my friends did their best to cheer me up – they took me out to lunch and phoned me.

My carers and the managers were very good to me. It was in the Covid time so you couldn’t see many people. They looked after me.

On the table in our lounge, there is a colour magazine with our wedding photo and a story that the staff wrote about our wedding. I kept looking at that every day and I kept remembering my Ronnie.

After Ronnie died, I began to write my stories because I liked to remember him. I also wanted to help other people who might have lost their husbands, wives, sons, daughters or a grandparent. At that time, lots of people died of Covid.

Anyone who has lost someone can read my stories at any time on the Surviving Through Story website (see link at the end). If like me they feel sad because they have lost a loved one, I hope it will make them feel a bit better.

I also wrote about Ronnie in a book. Since then, lots of my friends have signed this book and it is another way of remembering Ronnie.

Ronnie and I used to do lots of things together. We went out to meet friends and for meals and to the pub. We went on holiday together to lots of places.

After Ronnie passed away, I was on my own much more. Now I’ve started to make some new friends and spend time with them. Some of them are neighbours from my flats.

Making friends

When I could go out again I went with my carers and my neighbour and friend to play bingo and ludo for the first time. I found I enjoyed it and made new friends.

It’s helped me a lot now I’m doing more things like going out, playing games, having tea and making friends I can chat with. Every week I go to bingo in the flats with my friend who lives near me. I always say “good evening” to all my friends and they all say “good evening” to me.

The second Christmas after Ronnie died, it was safe to go out again. My friends invited me to a Christmas dinner and I went out with them. I had a Christmas dinner with them on Christmas day in the flats where I live.

On new year’s day, I had a buffet dinner with them. I enjoyed this a lot and it made me feel better to be with other people.

This summer, I’m not going on holiday like I used to do with Ronnie but instead I’m going with my friends and my carers to watch an air show and on some special days out.

Read Susie Gentry’s stories about her life with Ronnie at