"I became a widow at just 22 - I'm now travelling the world to carry out my late husband's bucket list"

1 年前
A 22-year-old widow is travelling the world solo - to help carry out her late husband's bucket list. Luke Barnes passed away earlier this year aged just 34 - leaving behind wife Isobel Barnes. He was diagnosed with a heart muscle disease in 2019 and died from multiple organ failure while waiting for a transplant. Bereaved Isobel, from Nottingham, vowed then to go travelling - something they both loved doing. So she sold her house and booked a ticket to Australia. Isobel, an emergency medical dispatcher, hopes to see the world for a few months before returning to 'real life'. And she said: "No matter who I'm surrounded by, I'm grieving and I'm sad. "But I'd much rather be doing that in on the beach than in Nottingham. "[Luke would] want me to go and live and have the best life - and I want to do it for him too. "Sometimes you feel guilty for not crying at certain times but grief is complex and you can't live your life like that. "I booked a one-way ticket as I didn't know how I'd feel. "I don't have a clue what I'm going to do but so far so good. I'm feeling quite at peace with the journey." Luke - who was an IT service desk manager - was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy four years ago following a test for a dislocated shoulder. After routine six-monthly MRI scans, his health began to worsen. And he was eventually put on the list for a heart transplant in March 2022. But Luke's health continued to take a downward turn and he was kept in hospital permanently in November 2022 whilst he waited for a matching heart. Luke had a BiVAD (biventricular assist device) administered in December to help blood move through his heart. After two occasions of a matching heart no longer being suitable, Luke passed away peacefully after suffering a catastrophic hemorrhage and mutliple organ failure due a excess bleeding from a BiVAD failure on the March 17, 2023. Knowing how much Luke loved travelling, Isobel decided to take the plunge after he died - and booked a ticket. She said: "Luke used to document his health journey on Instagram and he spoke about travelling on one of his posts. "He wanted to see the world and make the most of it. "Luke and I had made the decision to sell the house anyway because financially we had no income between us and selling the house freed up some money which is what I'm using as my safety net now." Luke and Isobel tied the knot at the end of June 2022, just over a year after they met at work. Now coming up to their one-year anniversary, Isobel has plans to celebrate it in Bali. She said: "I just need to lie around, get sunburnt and drink a cocktail and I think that's what we would have done together so why shouldn't I do it?" Isobel hopes to tour much of Thailand and South East Asia before needing to return home briefly in August. She said: "The latest I can come home is the middle of August so that's when reality will hit again, but I think once I've sorted stuff back at home I might come back again over Christmas. "I also want to go over to the east coast of Australia as I've connected with a lot of transplant survivors on a Facebook page and we've bonded over this journey that we've been through. "It would be amazing to go and meet them in person." Isobel also hopes to change the talk around grief and organ donations and says sharing his story has encouraged others to donate their blood. She said: "Of course the only thing I want to do for the rest of my life is make my husband proud. "There have been days where I've thought, 'This is pointless'. "But I just know there'd be days that he'd been looking down at me and saying, 'That's my girl living her best life'. "I want to change the talk around grief. It affects everyone and the same with organ donations. "So many people screw their face up when you talk about donating organs and ultimately, Luke died because not enough people donate their organs. "That's one of the things that's been really difficult is that because none of his organs were working when he died that he couldn't donate any. "But through sharing his story on social media so many people have said they are now donating their blood or planning to donate their organs one day."