Advertising magnate Lord Maurice Saatchi has spoken of the unbearable grief of losing his wife to cancer and how he visits her tomb each morning to have breakfast with her.
The 66-year-old says Josephine Hart’s death has been so painful for him that he still sets a place out for her during meal times.
And in the morning he arranges the papers in the order in which the bestselling author liked to read them
Hart, an Irish-born writer and poet, died from ovarian cancer in June last year, after keeping her health problems a secret for two years.
Saatchi told the Sunday Times: ‘I’ve never experienced grief before; this is an incomparable nightmare.’
Every morning when he is staying at their home in West Sussex, he drives to his wife’s tomb, marked J&M, at the end of the lake and eats a grapefruit cocktail.
At meal times the Tory peer behaves as if she were still there. He said: ‘I have thought, that this is close to madness.’
But in the moving interview, he rejected the idea that those suffering from bereavement need to move on.
He added: ‘In my view, to move on is a monstrous act of betrayal and to come to terms with – I think I’d call that an act of selfishness.’
Tragically, he admitted to the newspaper he has thought of suicide ‘continuously’ since her death.
Millionaire Lord Saatchi, who made his fortune with his brother Charles in Saatchi & Saatchi, the advertising agency, was four years her junior and Hart’s second husband.
They began an affair while they worked at the publishers Haymarket and married shortly after in 1984, when she was 37.
They had a son together, Edward, who is now in his late 20s.
Hart’s 1991 debut novel, Damage, sold more than one million copies, was translated into 27 languages and made into a film starring Jeremy Irons.
She also produced a number of West End plays. Her other novels include Sin, Oblivion, The Stillest Day and The Reconstructionist.
She had a troubled upbringing after losing her brother Charles at the age of six and her younger sister, Sheila shortly after. Within eight months brother Owen was killed in an accident.
In the decade before her death she made poetry fashionable with popular readings at the British Library.
A collection of her critical introductions to 19 poets and a few of their poems, entitled Life Saving: Why We Need Poetry, was published last Thursday.
After her death Saatchi launched The Poetry App, created by the Josephine Hart Poetry Foundation, which features classic poems read by actors.
Saatchi is half of the most famous advertising partnership in history. He now runs M&C Saatchi with his brother after being ousted from the original company.
He sees it as his role to continue Hart’s work and foundation and is devoted to ensuring his wife’s legacy lives on.