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Richard E. Grant reveals loneliness he’s faced in wake of wife Joan’s death

New York Premiere Of Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Richard E. Grant

Richard E. Grant has detailed the loneliness he’s felt since the passing of his beloved wife Joan Washington.

Joan, a celebrated voice coach, died aged 74 in September 2021 after battling lung cancer.

Recalling her death and the “tsunami” of grief that followed, Richard has penned an honest and eloquent account in his new diary-style book A Pocketful of Happiness.

“It’s the sheer aloneness of being alone,” he confessed in an autumn 2021 entry. “Whoever and however many people you meet and play with, you return alone.”

Later in November, the 65-year-old manages to inject some of his trademark humour into his heartbreaking situation.

“It’s utterly country-winter-night silent here. No distant urban hum. Just a kind of white noise in your ears,” he wrote. “No matter how many lunch and dinner arrangements are made, calls, texts or emails received, nothing can protect you from this silence.

“Where shall we go tomorrow or shall we just stay at home, get a takeaway or have our beloved beans on toast, with Marmite instead of butter? Us. We. Let’s. Now it’s solitary. Single. Solo. Alone.

“In Gwyneth Paltrow-speak, we’ve now been de-coupled by death.”

The couple married in 1986 and welcomed daughter Olivia three years later.

Writing about the moment Joan died, Richard shared with fans his last words to his wife.

“At 7pm, her breathing slows quite suddenly. Keep repeating: ‘It’s all okay, my angel. Don’t hold on. We all love you so. So, so much,'” he remembered. “After each intake of breath, the gap until the next inhalation gets longer. At 7.25, I thought that her hand felt like it was cooling in mine. Was I just imagining this? No, it is getting colder. Do I let go of her hand and call Oilly to come? Can’t let go now.

“Then another breath, and count the seconds before the next one. None comes. She died at 7.30pm. Let go of her hand and call out for Oilly to come quickly. Feels like my heart is going to explode out of my chest, such is the intensity of this grief.”

– Cover Media