Robert Peston, the economics editor of the BBC, has revealed that after the death of his wife male friends made insensitive remarks while female friends offered “really useful, practical” advice and help.
Novelist Sian Busby, a school friend of Mr Peston's sister Juliet, dated Mr Peston while at university but they split up, only to rekindle their relationship and marry in 1998. She died from cancer at the age of 51 in 2012.
Mr Peston noticed that women seemed better equipped to help him cope with her loss.
“A lot of the things that men said to me after Sian died were just stupid,” he said in an interview with Red magazine.
“Things like, ‘Give it a few months, the pain will ease and you can move on and get a new girlfriend’ kind of thing. ‘You’ll get over it’ sort of stuff.
“Most women said, ‘Can I help? What do you need?’ Lots of really useful, practical stuff.”
He said he was particularly touched by friends who had offered to cook for his family, which he said was “the nicest, warmest gesture I could have imagined… a manifestation of love”.
Mr Peston, 55, said grief was “a terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible thing”.
“It’s taken me a f*** of a long time to develop strategies to try not to feel lonely. Finding things you like doing, seeing friends,” he said.
“For quite a long time I couldn’t do those things, because I’d lost the ability to do those things.”
However he said that now “things feel a hell of a lot better than they did”.
“I increasingly think I’m a bloody lucky person. I’ve got a job that I love, I’ve got kids that I love,” he said.
“In the immediate period after Sian died, I did wonder whether I would ever be able to have a relationship with anyone else ever again. And the positive thing is that I think that is possible.”
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