The Monty Python comedy legend and travel documentary maker lost “bedrock of my life” Helen, 80, weeks after their 57th wedding anniversary.
He said losing his teenage sweetheart, who had been battling chronic pain and kidney failure, had left him shattered.
But despite his sorrow, the father of three, whose films include Brazil, A Private Function, Life Of Brian, A Fish Called Wanda and The Meaning Of Life, is determined to remember her with humour.
Helen died last May after deciding to give up dialysis following years of being “so ill and disabled”.
Michael, 80, said: “When someone’s gone, someone who has been so much part of your life for the past 60 years, you can’t believe they’re not there to enjoy a little joke, or an observation, or a b***h about somebody.
“A great sort of emptiness comes in. The last 10 days of her life…I’ve never seen her happier in a way. She’d accepted it, we’d accepted it, she was in a wonderful hospice.”
Michael added: “We had lots of laughs together, so I’m very keen to keep humour as part of her memory.
“I don’t want it to be seen as a dark pit into which I have now fallen.”
Helen and Michael were 16 when they met on a summer holiday in Southwold, Suffolk.
Michael was living in Sheffield and Helen in Cambridgeshire, but they stayed in touch by writing letters.
Fate then brought them together again on Michael’s first day at Oxford University, when Helen visited a friend for the weekend.
They married in 1966 and had children Thomas, now 54, William, 52, and Rachel, 48, as well as four grandchildren.
Michael said of their marriage: “There’s something underneath that works – that you’re happy to be with somebody for an awful lot of the time.
“The more time you spend together, the more things you have to share, the less likely it is that you want to throw all that away.”
Michael was a member of the Monty Python comedy group alongside Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle and Terry Jones.
They rose to fame on the surreal TV sketch series and found further success with a series of films.