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Martin misses his wife “each and every day”

This article is comprised of a series of posts and selected comments by Martin Connah, written over the course of nine months on the Leukaemia Foundation’s Grief & Bereavement Community on Facebook.

They begin four years after the passing of his beloved wife, Linda. They spent 40 years together, and Martin supported and cared for her during her final 10 years, following her diagnosis with myeloma – a journey that was challenging and long.

22 March 2021 

It has taken me a while to get to this point where I am comfortable to share my story after losing Linda Connah, my wife, to Multiple Myeloma in late 2017. I have gained considerable support, strength & comfort from being in this precious & very special group of people, who have similar situations, & I admire your courage to have shared your losses, thoughts & feelings with the rest of us.  

Martin and Linda with grandchildren
“This is some five years back, with our five grandies: Pheobe, Linda, Martin, Abby and Ruby (then one-year-olds), Riley, and Amelia. Without our grandies we wouldn’t have managed as well”

Linda & I were married for 37 years of our over 40 plus years together the most wonderful experience of my life without doubt. We have two children who gave us five grandchildren (our wonderful amigos). Over that time, we made the most wonderful friends & life was always so full of happiness & laughter, with family being everything. We started what was to be our travel-the-world trips in 2006 & she had severe DVTs in Austria, which put a stop to that wonderful experience. But we returned home & she managed that & we resumed normal life.  

She was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2007, which was the start of a series of challenges which we shared together. Many chemos were used initially & we became accustomed to the change of life that living with such a disease creates. Linda experienced two stem cell transplants, the stem cell harvests that go with that & the huge impact that has on the patient. She took it all in her stride & always had a smile. However, each transplant only gave very minimal benefit & didn’t allow her to be in remission long at all. Over time, several newer chemos were used with differing results. Then the monoclonal drugs were used which had wonderful benefits with minimal side effects – we thought this would be our saviour. However, a number of other health issues crept in over time, kidneys, lungs, heart, let alone that constant fatigue & feeling unwell, etc. Even with all this we managed regular trips to WA to visit family & explore that part of our country. This gave us strength & allowed us to put some happiness into our lives & keep things in perspective.  

In early 2017, her health deteriorated more progressively & over several months she had to endure radiation for plasmacytomas (a variation of longterm multiple myeloma). It was this variation that in the end consumed her life, as it progressively spread through her upper back, shoulders, chest & abdomen, mainly in the lungs. Our family support allowed us to enjoy life as much as possible, mainly from all our little amigos being with her every day. Sadly, she passed away in September 2017, in hospital (our home away from home) with many family members & friends surrounding her & myself. This was just as she wanted & had asked for – she never wished to be alone. 

Her Oncologist Dr Nicol said to me that Linda was her hero, as she had managed to contend with this insidious disease with her positive attitude & a smile on her face every single day! 

I have shared this detail simply as recognition of how much I loved my wife, how lucky i was to be her fulltime carer for some six years & now, how much I miss her each & every day. Some of the most important things I learnt from my beautiful wife, in no particular order are, she brought me so much joy, she was my everything, being her husband taught me how to love unconditionally. We have to stop and be thankful for our spouses because life is very short, and most importantly, live and love every day like it’s your last. 

Martin and Linda
“We enjoyed time away when possible, especially as I was her full-time carer for a number of years. Here we are in Tasmania some six years ago”

The strength I have gained from my loss surprises me, but I admit some days the loss utterly cripples me with sadness. I allow myself to feel lost at times, as it is very much part of my grieving process, & I have grown to understand everyone is different. The hardest thing in the world is losing someone you love, someone who showed you how to love.  

Please take care everyone, life is precious & it goes on. Take chances and go live life & tell the ones you love that you love them every day. Don’t take any moment for granted. Life is worth living.  

The Leukaemia Foundation’s National Grief Lead, Shirley Cunningham, commented 

Thank you Martin Connah for sharing your beautiful wife Linda with this community. Thank you all for sharing and trusting this group with loved ones’ stories. It is beautiful to hear the love you have for those passed and by doing this supporting others. Others who may be having a “bad” day or in need of hearing what you have to say. 

Martin’s reply to Shirley  

Shirley, I appreciate your comments & support over the years. As I said, I had been wanting to do this for some time, but hadn’t had the courage. But I got that courage from so many other people here sharing their stories & the final determination has sadly come from Linda’s dad (my father in law) recently ending up in hospital & will pass away also. So, I got the gumption to read this to him in his hour of need & posted the story. 

I sincerely appreciate the strength I’ve gotten from this group of amazing people. 

Other comments made by Martin in response to the many comments his post received: 

“This group is so precious & you feel safe & secure as everyone has experienced a similar experience.” 

I miss no new memories with her & whilst I have many memories to be proud & happy of, it’s just not the same.” 

Linda and Martin with ice cream
“We’d travelled to WA many times but it was our last trip, in March 2017, when we finally got to Margaret River for the wineries which are fantastic, but we enjoyed a simple ice-cream!”

6 September 2021 

Today, I celebrate what would have been our 41st Wedding Anniversary.  

My beautiful wife has wings & I miss her dearly.  

There’s more than a few sad tears I must say, but I have beautiful memories so a few happy tears also & her love still guides me & keeps me safe. 

Marrying Linda was the best decision I made in my life & I can proudly say I still love her.  

You are always by my side even though I cannot see you.  

Happy anniversary my beautiful girl.  


A comment by Martin as part of this post: 

“I want to say thank you for your kind comments. I’ve found this year somewhat harder for some reason, but having family n the support here makes me grateful. 

Have a good day everyone.” 

28 September 2021

Today, four years ago, my beautiful girl Linda passed away. I feel i can never put the right words down to explain how wonderful she was in every way, & whilst my family & i have so many wonderful memories, i have to say that some days they’re “just not enough”. Linda’s smile & positive attitude were the most important things for me, as every single day of our lives, i experienced & witnessed them as did everyone else, even to the last day or so when life was just too unkind to her.  

Linda Connah in hospital
“Our last wedding anniversary together on 6.9.17, not how we planned but at least she was comfortable”

My heart has been torn in so many ways. We loved so intently – ourselves, our lives, our children & family & to have been loved was such a wonderful feeling, and this is now gone.  

So hard to let go & move onwards.  

R.I.P. my beautiful girl. 

A further comment made by Martin:  

“I want to say thank you for all your lovely & kind messages, this means a lot to me. 

I know everyone understands me, as we’re all in that different place in life, & this group is so precious. 

I simply wanted to share how much love I had for my Linda & whilst I have so many wonderful memories, I don’t have that amazing woman with me now. 

Yes life continues, but some days are very real & very tough. 

Thank you & look after yourselves.” 


Linda Connah
“This is just such a typical smile that Linda had nearly every single day of our life together. OMG, I miss her so much, so very much ”

28 December 2021 

Merry Christmas to one & all. 

I hope you had some wonderful & happy times with family & friends over this season, with great conversations & a few drinkies even though your loved one was watching from above. My daughter & I hosted a Christmas lunch for Linda’s family which was lovely & I had a chair for her at one of the tables, knowing her mum & dad were on her shoulders also. I’ve also come to understand how differently her passing has affected her brothers & sisters compared with me.  

This has been a different year for this young fella. Whilst I live with the grief as I come to terms with the loss of my precious Linda, I have finally accepted that I have permission to let go of my grief & be happy, & accept the life I’ve been given. I am so fortunate to have the life, family & friends that I have, & I guess it’s taken me a while to understand this position. Having said that, I am still very lost but do feel at peace with my position – I am not sure if that is good or not to be honest! 

I just wanted to share even though we’re all at very different positions.  

Take care & we just need to be kind with ourselves. 

7 January 2022 

Sharing something a friend sent me – this is soooo me many days.  

Statement from Martin Connah

But at least I know that now & makes me feel a little easier, just a little! 

I’m Not sad but I’m not happy either. I can smile and joke around during the day, but sometimes when I’m alone at night I don’t know how I feel. 

A follow-up comment made by Martin: 

“Daytime is easier & that’s when others see us appearing to be sort of ok hey. Some days I also have to try so damn hard too.”

Monday 21 February 2022 – Comment on another member’s post included the following: 

Martin Connah commented on a post: 

“Nicely said. We did say goodbye which I will always remember – I mean the last few weeks in hospital became a blur of sadness but we were together. To have been able to comfort my Linda until she passed is a moment I will be forever grateful for. Being within this precious group means a huge amount to me.” 

Linda with daughter Bec
“Our daughter Bec lived her mum’s journey every day as they were so very close & she was also with us at her last breath – a precious moment in life. Now she, like Linda, makes life look so easy even though she misses mum so much.”

These posts were made by Martin on the Grief & Bereavement Community on Facebook, which is facilitated by the Leukaemia Foundation. This closed Australian community is a group of people experiencing grief and bereavement in relation to blood cancer and it provides an opportunity to share experiences. Martin joined the group in July 2020, and he has described it as “such a special place”. 


How Martin benefitted from reading others’ posts and by posting online himself  

Living Well With Grief spoke to Martin Connah and he shared additional personal experiences around his emotional turmoil since Linda’s death and how the Leukaemia Foundation’s online grief community helped.  

During Linda’s illness, the couple had attended support groups held in Brisbane for people living with blood cancer.  

“Linda and I found them extremely useful,” said Martin, 66, of Logan Village (Queensland). 

These were coordinated by Shirley Cunningham, National Grief Lead for the Leukaemia Foundation, and it was Shirley who, after Linda’s passing, told Martin about the grief community. 

“She thought I might be interested to have a look, and I fell into it very comfortably in the sense that I felt right at home there because, sadly, everybody is in the same boat,” Martin explained. 

“It was 12 months after Linda passed, when I went back to work. I was having counselling virtually once a week because I was still struggling. 

“If I’m having a bad day – for some reason something’s really touched me, and it’s knocked me around – I’ll allow myself to immerse into and feel where I’m at, and I do tend to come back fairly well.  

“But for a couple of years, I probably struggled pretty much every day. I just never told anyone,” he said. 

Martin and Linda at Christmas
“A fun time having Christmas in July in 2015 at our best friends’ in Ballandean”

“My son was very supportive in terms of saying, “well, you need to just do whatever you want to do. If you’re not ready to do something, don’t do it. If you don’t want to go away, don’t go away. If you want to be involved with that group, Dad, do it.” 

And Martin found the grief Facebook community “really supportive, really beneficial”. 

“It felt very safe, to be honest,” he said. 

“When I read some people’s comments, when they’ve lost someone or have an anniversary or an aha moment, sometimes it really resonates with me, and I can just be quite comfortable and say, ‘well, I can relate to that as well’. 

Initially, Martin just read the comments. 

“I didn’t feel ready or competent or capable to make comments as such,” he said. 

“I’ve got a very close family. They’re very supportive. I’m very fortunate in that regard, and then I realised, when I read a lot of people’s comments, that maybe they don’t have anybody or they have very little contact with family or friends to help them or support them. I guess I felt obliged to pay back because I feel I’ve learnt a lot. 

“I read and absorbed everyone else’s comments and posts before it dawned on me that I’ve got a story to tell.”  

Connah family brunch
“We often did family lunch or brekkie. This was one of the first after Linda’s passing – a really special moment, but less frequent since COVID”

“It took me a long time to get to the point where I had the courage, the wherewithal, to actually put it down, and it took me a few goes to massage it into what I really wanted to say. 

I’d pop the comments down, read it, and think, ‘oh no, that’s not what I’m wanting to say’. I didn’t want to overdramatise it or miss out stuff that was important. 

I’ve tried to keep it as simple as I can because I know there’s a lot of people out there, at any given point in time, who are going through and dealing with being in the same position in life. 

“That particular community chat has allowed me the luxury of having a place where I can talk and I’m amongst friends. I can relate to what they’re saying, and I know they understand what I’m saying,” said Martin. 

“It’s like being in a special classroom, where you’re all at the same level of understanding.” 

Martin Connah and his memorial ring
“This is the memorial ring I had made so I can have Linda’s ashes with me as I venture forward. It took me a long time to decide… silver and blue, as Linda loved silver jewellery and blue.”

“I’m very mindful of the fact that people are going through what it is I was going or had been through. Everybody is at different stages. 

“I get absolutely gobsmacked and almost bewildered by some of the people that are able, or appear, to have the strength to make comments within a couple of months of losing their partner and put down a little bit of their story so early in the piece. 

I don’t understand how they do that, how some people are that strong but I’m glad that they do it, because, sadly, it’s really nice to hear their story. 

“It amazes me, and then I think, ‘oh, well maybe I was weak’. I realise, well no, it’s just – I wasn’t ready, as simple as that. In terms of timing, I don’t dwell on that anymore. 

“This is just a life-changing thing that you go through. Everyone is so different and so is the timing of where you are at,” said Martin. 

“At the moment I feel fairly strong, fairly confident. 

“I can go out. I can have a conversation with people. I go to family dinners or whatever the case might be. But I must admit, there are times I come home and I could almost cry, because it’s like, ‘oh, hang on, now I’m on my own again’. 

“Whereas two years ago, I just never went out. It was like, I’m not doing that because I just could not cope with that isolation when I got home,” he said. 

“I’ll be interested to see how it goes on Mother’s Day. 

“Usually for me, the last couple of years since Linda’s passed, every Mother’s Day is when it really starts for me, because of the impact on the two kids, and my grandkids. It really hurts. 

“And then there’s my birthday, then there’s Linda’s birthday, and then there’s our anniversary, and then her passing. 

“I just feel like it’s one day after another. It’s like someone’s hit me on the head with a baseball bat, you’re just denied the normality.  

“Yet, last year, I was probably a little bit better than I’ve ever been. It wasn’t quite as bad, to be honest,” said Martin. 

“Maybe I’m getting a bit more accepting of the fact that this is where I’m at. 

“There’re still times when you just feel, well, I’ve been robbed. I should have been able to enjoy retirement and we should have been able to go travelling and doing the things that we had planned to do, and we’ll never get to do that. That’s off the table. 

“And yet I counter that very quickly with, at least I know she’s not suffering, because it was pretty crappy. The last couple of months was really bad. 

“I’m fortunate I had such a strong woman, and we loved each other dearly. 

“What I really miss now is not having the company. I don’t have that closeness.” 

Finally, Martin said he hopes his online posts are of benefit to other people.  

“If somehow, it can help someone, I’d be really proud of that.” 

Last updated on June 8th, 2022

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