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'Talking keeps his memory alive': What it's like to be widowed and young

Sian Morgan was 30-years-old when her husband died from Acute Myeloid Leukaemia Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Losing a loved one is devastating, but if you become widowed at a young age the impact of a partner's death can be earth shattering.

In 2016, over 100,000 men and women in England and Wales were widowed under the age of 54.

Sian Morgan, from Glynneath, was just 30-years-old when her husband Jonathan died from Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, leaving her a single parent to their 7-year-old twin boys.

"It's just such a unique loss in the way of how it affects so much. None of your life stays the same", said Sian. "Obviously people went back to their normal lives, even though they are still very supportive, but life goes on for people. And to suddenly turn around and think 'this is it now, it's me and the boys'... it's still something that overwhelms me sometimes".

Sian became a single mother to her twin sons Credit: Sian Morgan

Sian says talking about Jonathan keeps his memory alive, and helps her to grieve. But although family and close friends have been very supportive, she says her openness can leave some people feeling uncomfortable.

I can cut a conversation dead sometimes, you're talking to people and I say 'oh I can remember when Jonathan did that', and you can see people feel uncomfortable and thinking 'oh I don't know what to do here.

– Sian Morgan

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"Just, you know, if it's a funny story, laugh, roll your eyes, just like normal. Because I think that's a real gift to people who have lost anyone, just to talk about them and still relate to them all the time. You know, I'm very grateful when people do that".

A few days after Jonathan died, Sian joined the peer support group Widowed and Young (WAY). It's the only national charity in the UK for men and women aged 50 or under when their partner has died. Members can meet up in person or simply talk online.

Members of WAY speak online or meet up in person Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

The charity's founder, Caroline Sarll, says that although society is becoming more open to talking about death and bereavement, there is still a way to go.

"I do think there's still a tendency for people to feel uncomfortable around bereaved people", said Caroline. "From my own experience people could say ridiculous things after a week like 'are you over that yet?' No, you never get over it - you just have to learn to live with it".

Sian says the support she's received from other members of WAY has been "nothing short of a lifeline".

They can't fix it for you because nobody can fix it, but they can just say I know what you mean or yes, this is really unfair. And when you've got someone who's actually been there, you believe them and it gives you that bit of hope that maybe I can do this, and just to keep going bit by bit.

– Sian Morgan