When those you love are killed

It’s been five days since they died. Since they were killed. Both of them. My loving parents who I was very close with. As were my sisters. As were our spouses. They adored and were worshiped by their grandchildren. They are gone forever. There will be no new memories made. They are now in the past.

It’s unbearably painful.

Floods of emotion

At first even breathing was impossible. I learned to do that again. It’s like that with everything now.

They say time heals all wounds. It’s hard to believe that at this moment.

What is it like to learn to cope with such a tragic loss? It is as if all my sadness and fear and tears are kept shut behind a door. The problem is that all of my memories of my parents are also behind that door. I crouch down and peak through the key hole. Sometimes I see sadness. Sometimes I remember. Sometimes I smile.

Smiling seemed impossible a few days ago.

Sometimes the door get’s kicked open.

Sometimes it’s mum. Sometimes it’s dad. Sometimes both together.

They come bursting from behind the door in a flood of emotion.

The thought of dealing with reality right now is unbearable. I’ve become intimately aware that whilst grieving one has to manage things like a funeral and the execution of a will and estate.

It’s exhausting. Literally.

Walking beside us

Wise people have said to me that you never get over the loss of a loved one. In this case two loved ones, lost in a tragic accident. They say that you learn to integrate the loss into your life. That it becomes a part of you. Once I heard it described that as your heart heals you will have them walk beside you.

They will live on through us; in our DNA and in what we know about them “Dad would totally say that”, “Mum would not be happy with that!” In this future they are there, with us. Living on through our memories of them. There are glimpses of this comfort. Then we slip back into sorrow.

Grief is a journey we must take. Whilst seeking to celebrate their lives.


If I could be half of what either my Mother or Father were then I will have achieved a great thing.

Their love knew no bounds. The community and beyond benefited from their warmth and generosity. The outpouring of grief and support has been a chorus of broken hearts. We deeply appreciate everything everyone has done from simple “I’m sorry” to hugs to friends going above and beyond to help with everything from driving, cars, airport runs, food, cooking. I honestly don’t know what we would do without you.

For those kind enough to make a gift we would be honored if you could make it to the charity my father was chairperson of, The Wiltshire Community Foundation – and specifically to the  “John and Judith Woodget Fund“. They would have been “tickled pink” by any donations that helped them help others despite them not being around to explicitly help any more. A fitting tribute to their lives.


I love you mum and dad. I will forever.

Below is a picture of my beloved parents on their 40th Wedding Anniversary in 2013. Mum is wearing her wedding dress.

This image is from my personal collection and is copyright © Matthew Woodget 2013  all rights reserved and reproduction completely prohibited. Family and friends of course can contact me for a copy.


17 thoughts on “When those you love are killed

    • Thank you Janet. Your perspective is kind and thank you for sharing. I certainly can empathise with you and your 31 year younger self. Every year, every day is so precious.

  1. To you and your family, my deepest condolences. I did not know your parents personally but myself and my family live in the valley and are aware of your parents, their names were known amongst our community. I cannot imagine the impact of such a severe and sudden loss. I hope you find solace in the fact that your parents were known and respected amongst a wide community. Take advantage of all offers of help and support to aid your long journey of recovery. Best wishes to you all xx

  2. Matt,

    An amazingly strong piece you’ve written.

    Both your mum and dad would be proud of your ability to open up and articulate such a difficult period.

    Whether you intended to or not, this blog will bring comfort to others who have “known uncertainty” (I realise this is a dichotomy) like myself and my family.

    As always, much love to you and your sisters.

    Michael xxx

  3. I am truly struck by the loss of your parents. I work at the school, and enjoyed the company of your mum on many occasions. Judith and I often stood by the gates sharing news and laughing. Her immense pride in your family was obvious, and doting grandmother definitely described her.
    She was unfailingly generous with her time and wisdom. She was always smiling, I loved spending time with her.
    Your father was a tour de force. I doubt whether the extension of the school could ever have gone so smoothly without his amazing stewardship of some very difficult meetings. He negotiated some highly charged meetings with such skill and diplomacy, and all the staff, and of course the children are indebted to him.
    Your parents did so much good without ever being do gooders.
    My heart goes out to you all.
    I can only hope that some of the immense pride you have in your parents, and your love for each other will give you strength.
    You are very much in my thoughts
    Sam France

    • Sam thank you – it’s been a rough ROUGH several weeks. Hearing such stories of them really lifts my spirits. I’m so proud of them and just hope I can follow in their footsteps.

  4. My deepest Condolences to you and all of your family. I met your parents several times at my sister and brother in law, Diane and John Calhoun’s home. I know that they were the dearest of friends and that says so much about both couples, The kind of people the world needs more of.

  5. Pingback: Grief is…. | Photography, Storytelling, & Growth Marketing by Matthew Woodget.

  6. Oh Matt, how terrible. My heart aches for you. I lost my Dad 11 years ago. I think of him often like when my toddler son does something awesome I will say “omg my Dad would love this kid so much” or when my Mom and Brother pick on me I think “damn I wish Dad was here to stick up for me”. The thoughts are positive and usually accompanied with laughter. It takes time and you will get there. I am glad you are back with us at 4pm EST on Wednesdays.

  7. Pingback: 2,803 days later. Living and growing with grief. | Matthew Woodget's personal blog

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