Hey Lou,

I read a while ago that it can help if you write a letter to those that you love and have lost. And I guess right now I need a little help, so I’m writing this to you and thinking that you are just away traveling somewhere lovely. Which I wish, more than anything, is true.

I’ve realised, over the last few months from the build up to Xmas and onwards I suppose, that things were really not quite right with me. Up until then I’d busied myself with everything to do with you. In the immediate aftermath of what happened, your service (exactly as you wished) though as I told you, playing our song ‘La Vie En Rose’ the first dance at our wedding, the last song we danced to at home, would get me going and so it did. Then the remainder of the gifts were made – people were incredibly touched by them. The handbags, well I can promise you that none of the girls dare to put them on the floor! They’ve told me. And a bench for you, it’s in the Botanics directly in front of our home and sits under our tree looking across the pond. It’s a beautiful spot for it to be all year round. I’ve sat there many times and felt close to you.

Of course I was grieving too and it was incredibly tough but people, friends, family were incredibly kind. It didn’t take any of the hurt away but it helped. You’d be mad at me though, ‘cos (your word there) I did go back to work too soon. I thought I needed to keep busy. Instead I’d often have to go disappear for a walk and find somewhere quiet. I didn’t shout into the wind at the unjustness of it all, like I did when we went to Arran, but I would weep. It was never for me, but for what is gone. You. Us. Our plans for what we were going to do.

The build up to Xmas was as we thought. I tried to smile, told people I had plans, but I didn’t. We knew it was never going to be great didn’t we? And I never did get a tree, it never seemed right and I certainly wasn’t in the ‘festive’ spirit. So your favourite bauble from San Fran is still safe from my clumsy hands for now. That’s a joke. Don’t worry, it will always be safe.

Anything that is yours is incredibly precious, I probably take more care of them now than when you were here. Sorry about that. And a lot of things are still as you left them. The peanut-butter is still on the shelf, the last shopping list you wrote is still on the board and your comfy hoody is exactly where you left it too. I do know that these things are not entirely good for me. I know what it means. Keeping them as they are because one day, you may come back. But you won’t. And I know that too. But stupidly knowing that they are there exactly as you left them does help me get through each day. And that’s good because it has felt hard lately and feels as if it’s getting harder.

I don’t want to use the ‘D’ word because like the ‘C’ word, which we dismissed, it’s more than that. It’s the overwhelming loss – the sense of drifting, rudderless and I suppose being just being plain scared of what’s in front of me. Of seeing new things and feeling guilty because you’re not here to share in them. Those are the times when I think all of those years, what you went through, it was so unfair.

I see your picture every day and you do make me smile, like you always did and I say ‘hello’ or ‘morning’ to you every day. I carry the same image of you with me on my phone with a different passport sized pic of you in my wallet. So you are always with me. Even when I’m cycling. You’re with me every moment of every day and I always think of you. You always said you would be and I do feel that, how could you not be part of me? We really did share so much. But I find it incredibly hard without you. Your wise counsel. You were right about everything! Your beautiful smile. Your infectious giggle. You were the best of both of us and I always knew that. And you were so, so much more to me besides.

Don’t get me wrong, given what you had to go through. I do try and be positive about every single day. When I’m down I often read the cards you gave me. At the beginning I probably read them every day, a little less now but that’s only because I know them so well. And I found the letter you left in the book by the bedside. It took me a few months to pick it up. Did you know I would look in there? I can’t tell you what it meant. The surprise when I found it. Sean the sheep now guards it you’ll be pleased to hear. Yes he’s safe too. And Xavi of course, your Xavi. Currently out again in the botanics but no doubt back soon to be fed. Again. I do spoil him you’ll be pleased to read.

When I go to sleep I keep close by the Neruda poem ‘Not only the fire’, the one you’d written out for me when we first met. I have to sleep on your side too, have done since that first horrible night I came home without you, and every morning I wake up to the view ‘our trees’. It all helps. A little.

I did take Jake away. You asked me to promise you that I would, and we had as good a time as could be had. You were always there with us, we talked about you often and it was hard for both of us. He misses you. He got himself a placement in London last Summer, at a magazine, and one day had to return some cool fashion bits from a shoot. So he rang you. Instinctively. Then realised he couldn’t speak to you. He thinks of you often. We all do.

You touched so many lives LouLou. I don’t think you ever knew just how much you were loved. Still are and always will be. Your story still lives on helping others. And your pic is now going to hang in the Scottish national portrait gallery! Get you. You’d be so embarrassed by this but kind of chuffed too. But it’s you Lou, you are special. And that’s why I miss you.

I love you more than I would know how to express in words. I wonder if I ever told you enough. You are loved and always will be. We made each other happy, we were blessed with that and I am thankful for it. Today and every day I just want more of it. I’m starting to accept that you’re gone, though may not sound like it reading this, but it doesn’t mean I like it one bit. And that’s why I wanted to write to you to feel like I could speak to you again.

Au revoir my gorgeous girl.
Your Alberto forever.

PS. when I get really down I always play that clip of you talking about how we met.




  1. Kitty Brennan · · Reply

    Thank you Alan – that is a beautiful testimony to love

  2. Many many thanks for sharing your most precious thoughts, your letter really touched my heart, as did all Lou’s updates. I visualised all your words, the places you spoke about and the love you have for such an amazing woman. I am.sending you some heart felt hugs, and a smile…xxx

  3. nomoreexcess · · Reply

    Have been wondering how you were getting on. That letter is one of the most honest, beautiful, loving I have ever read. Just sending so much love x

  4. jacqui skelton · · Reply

    Alan, so touching. It is heartbreaking to lose someone so close. Try not to beat yourself up, time makes things feel easier though the loss will always be there. Louise is with you in spirit and you have so much to live for to carry on her good works. Know that you have so much love and support across the world

  5. Hi, I have thought of you often and wondered how you were, Lou was amazing as an individual and you were both amazing together. The hardest thing I found was that when your loved one asks you to get on with your life when they are gone, it’s the only thing I have been unable to do. I feel I have let them down because I struggled through all the other requests and they have been painfully completed. Being happy without them is impossible the pain is all consuming and so much harder than I ever imagined. Your grief is individual to you, there is a way through just hang on even when you think you can’t. Lou is with you always.
    Much love and hugs x

  6. Wow Alan – what a heart felt letter. Have been wondering how you have been getting on. Sending you big hugs. As you say, Lou touched so many people’s lives – and for me during my first Fringe Festival in 2006, when she was so supportive. And I’m so pleased that her picture will be in the Portrait Gallery – I was there only yesterday – so will be looking out for it. And I may take a little contemplative sit on the bench when I am next in the Botanics.

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