Four years ago today I became a widower. At just after eight in the morning on October 5, 2019, in Strathcarron Hospice near Denny my wife Jeanie stopped breathing. And my world stopped with her.

Some 96 months later it’s clear I live in a different world now. A more monotone, less interesting one to be honest. That will not surprise anyone, I guess.

But the truth that would have seemed impossible to me four years ago - and certainly uncomfortable - is that in time those of us grieving can be pulled out of that eddy of loss by the current of life; a current that keeps moving dumbly on, however hard we beat against it.

In short, eventually you may well find an accommodation with your grief. I suppose that’s one of the few lessons I’ve learned in those four years. Not a happy accommodation perhaps, but enough of one to get you through the days and weeks and months and, now, years.

That said, every so often grief will casually raise its head to remind you that it hasn’t finished with you. That it never will. That it is part of your make-up for the rest of your time on this planet.

Anniversaries can be tough, but at least you’re prepped for them. You can see them come towards you, a Belisha Beacon on the calendar, pulsing on and off, edging closer and closer.

But that means you are kind of ready when the day arrives, I find. Ready to protect yourself. Forewarned is forearmed, and all that.

No, it’s the unexpected memories that catch you out. Often sparked by the smallest things. The other month I was grating some cheese to make macaroni for my daughter and I suddenly flashed on the fact that this was also my job when Jeanie would make macaroni. A little fissure in time opened up between then and now and the ache of loss quickly moved to fill it up.

Perhaps it’s to be expected, but Jeanie has been everywhere I’ve looked this last week. I turned on the radio at the weekend and Radio 2 started playing Bowie’s Jean Genie which is a double assault. Jeanie loved Bowie and the two of them - Bowie and Jeanie - are now fused together in my head forever. I think she might have liked that.

Last week I was in Wigtown for the annual Book Festival (if you haven’t been you really should go next year; it’s such a joyous thing). Browsing in one of the town’s many fine second-hand bookshops I came across a long-forgotten travel book entitled Twixt Forth and Clyde by AG Williamson, originally published in 1946. Not forgotten by Jeanie though. I remember her finding a copy and bringing it home to read passages out to me. She was thrilled to find a book that mentioned her home town Denny.

Standing in the bookshop last Thursday I could feel a line connecting me to her and back through time to Williamson some eight decades ago. I didn’t buy it in the end, though a week later I am slightly regretting that. The temptation to gather up artefacts is so strong, however slim the connection to the one we’ve lost.

Even the Rugby World Cup reminds me of her, though she would have no interest in it. Four years ago I was watching the last one during the sleepless hours in the hospice.

Yes, Jeanie is everywhere. But, of course, she’s nowhere too. It’s the nowhere that’s the hard thing to deal with. The conversations not being had, the life experience unlived, the dreams unfulfilled (she always wanted to visit Versailles, see how Brexit turned out and watch our daughters grow up).

Four years. A blink of an eye. Or an eternity. It feels like the latter from this end of the telescope. One day, maybe, I can celebrate her life without feeling the crushing unfairness that she is still not living it. But that’s not today, I’m afraid.