She should have been preparing for special birthday celebrations this year, instead Lyn Armstrong is facing life without her soulmate.
For the last 16 months she has struggled to come to terms with Colin Burnett’s death.
What should have been a good-natured night out with workmates from James Callander’s Abbotshaugh Sawmill in Bainsford ended in tragedy.
Her partner of 14 years received a head injury on December 23, 2011, which saw him hospitalised the following day. However, medics were unable to save him and he died in the early hours of Christmas Day.
Steven Wisdom (44) was originally charged with his murder but this was later changed to culpable homicide.
Earlier this year his trial was halted on a technicality.
Last week, Lyn, who runs Greens Hairdressers in Vicar Street, Falkirk, had to attend the High Court in Glasgow again and go into the witness box.
She told how she watched from the window of the upstairs flat in Woodside Court, Falkirk, she shared with Colin as the incident with Wisdom took place.
But within 30 minutes of the jury retiring to consider their verdict on Friday they came back with the not guilty decision.
Lyn said: “I still don’t understand it.”
The court heard the pair had been friends and, as rival Old Firm fans, often indulged in “banter”.
However, on the night out there was said to have been an incident outside a pub.
Wisdom returned to his then home in Glenbervie Road, Grangemouth, but it was claimed he later turned up at Colin and Lyn’s flat.
The jury heard allegations Wisdom punched or pushed his workmate causing him to strike his head on the ground.
Sawmill shop steward David McMurdo told the trial the men had been “good mates”.
The court heard Rangers fan Colin had Celtic supporter Wisdom listed on his mobile phone as “pape scum”.
Wisdom’s QC Ronnie Watson asked Mr McMurdo: “Was that the kind of banter tolerated in the sawmill?”
He replied; “It probably went on. If it is against mates then I don’t see a problem.”
Lynn added Colin’s sons, Aaron (20) and Corey (16), had been badly affected by their dad’s death.
She said: “Family, friends and the girls I work with are what’s helped me get through this.”