It’s just 04:00, the bongs have struck on my clock and I’ve woken up with a fierce, breath-taking pain in my chest. For a moment I wonder what’s happening, heart attack? And then I realise it’s the physical reaction to the enormity of loss – Stephen hasn’t miraculously reappeared.

This sense of desolation manifested in a sensation of pain – enough to wake you up – is real. It doesn’t last long but it leaves you with after effects similar to those with cramp.

It’s what is called ‘loneliness’ and there’s a reason why it is now recognised as detrimental to your health as smoking or obesity.

We can never truly replace the love of our life partner. We can make sure that we’re not alone. Good company and convivial environment certainly help. But there’s also a need for time alone to reflect and what I call “wallow”.

Major life changes affect us in different ways and for those of us left behind, we want to retain control over how we live the rest of our lives.

Evermore intends to do just that: retain independence and control through owning an apartment within a small household of like-minded people.

I don’t want to spend every evening reading my newspaper whilst forking in my meal for one with the radio in the background – but sometimes I relish the peace. It is having the choice that’s important to me.

So we’re going to get on with building Evermore villages for all of us who want to choose how we live our lives when we’re left behind. Perhaps you’d like us to build a village near you? Don’t wait for a crisis to strike. Downsize in good company and continue to live life as you choose.

Sara McKee

Founder & Director, Evermore

@SaraMcKeeFRSA