Out of tragedy can come change: the other legacy left by Robin Williams

RobinThis week has been a sad week for many fans who loved Robin Williams from afar, who loved his humour, his films and his spirit. It has been an especially difficult week for those of us who have lost loved ones to suicide. Every week is difficult, but this week we have been bombarded with articles in the media about depression and suicide, the aftermath of the shock of discovering that someone who made a living making people laugh was so sad inside that he would take drastic action to escape his pain.

His wife, children, family and friends are now left with a life sentence of pain and a million questions that all start with the word ‘Why?’ If he had died after a long battle with cancer there would be tributes and outpouring of grief as well, but we would not be asking ‘Why?’ We wouldn’t feel so shocked and the sense of tragedy would not be so intense. Continue reading

Posted in bereavement, gratitude, guilt, suicide | 2 Comments

Three years

imageIt’s three years today since Toby died. I hate to even write those words. I am on holiday on The Isles of Scilly. I am staying on a tiny island called Brhyer where over every hill is a deserted, white sandy beach, glinting with diamond dust. The views are breathtaking and I have never felt closer to heaven on earth. So I couldn’t be in a better place to remember Toby and reflect on my life since he went away, my life now and a future that beckons.

Coming here this week was a conscious choice. I decided after the first heart wrenching, gut churning, tortuous first anniversary that I would do something special for this week every year from now on to honour my son, to remember him and to honour my grief as a mother. Continue reading

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Leave Wayne Alone

WayneListen, I don’t like football, don’t watch football and can live with the fact that England didn’t play terribly well and crashed out of the world cup after two games.

However I really don’t like the current trend in the media and social media that seems to accept it is OK to publish to a wide audience cruel, insulting and hurtful personal comments about a young man just because he is a celebrity sportsman. I was driven to write this post after reading a snippet in Amanda Platell’s column in the Daily Mail today.

Continue reading

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Rebuilding after the storm

hole 2Cornwall like a lot of the country was battered by devastating storms this winter. Whole swathes of coastline that had remained largely intact for hundreds of years were battered by relentless waves with a force that could not have been predicted. Miles of coastline dissolved into the sea and beaches left completely devoid of sand never to be the same again. One day they were there, the next they were gone.

I live seven miles from Lands’ End.  I have a little dog and a large part of my life is spent walking those coast paths and beaches. Immediately my daily routine was changed because I could no longer walk along my little bit of coast path along Newlyn Green with my view of Newlyn Harbour on one side and St Michaels Mount on the other. I had to go round a little park instead across the road where I couldn’t see the sea. It sufficed for our morning constitutional but it just wasn’t as good. We didn’t know when and if our little coast path would ever be the same again. So I adapted to my new routine, not happy about it but I had no choice. Continue reading

Posted in Healing, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Mother’s Day takes on a new significance after the loss of a child

2013-03-10 16.15.02After the loss of a child it can be difficult to get through all the special days; birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas.

But Mother’s Day is especially difficult. We are surrounded by fluffy images of Mums and children and all our friends with children are looking forward to a happy day where they get cards, flowers and get taken out for a treat, or are brought breakfast in bed by the hubby and kids.

Toby was my only child, but I still call myself a ‘Mother’, I still feel like a mother, I am a mother and will always be ‘Toby’s Mom’. Continue reading

Posted in Grief, Loss, parents, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Is acceptance the key to recovery?

hopeI read a great quote the other day from Michael J Fox, an American actor who seemingly had everything but was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease at the age of 30.

“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.”

I have found that accepting my son’s death and making peace with it has been the key to my recovery.

So what do I mean by acceptance? Three weeks after Toby’s death I was sitting in the garden with my new puppy. I really felt like downing all the diazepam pills my doctor had given me to take the edge off my pain and walking into the sea. It was only the little puppy gamboling around at my feet that gave me second thoughts. I just wanted the pain to end; it was too much to bear. Continue reading

Posted in bereavement, Grief, Healing, Loss, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Will I ever get over the guilt?

guilt-heart‘GUILT. Guilt comes from a mistaken belief that we could have, or should have, prevented the death from happening, or from regret over irreconciled aspects of the relationship. In truth, we all do the best we can given our human shortcomings. We cannot predict the future, nor do we have power over the events in our universe. It is human nature to subconsciously blame oneself rather than accept these truths.’ (From a Handbook for Survivors of Suicide by Jeffrery Jackson)

It breaks my heart every time I hear of another young life lost to suicide and another family shattered.

When a newly bereaved parent joins the support group, nine times out of ten the first thing they write about is now they feel responsible for their child’s death.

As parents we feel we should be able to protect our children from all harm, therefore when anything happens to them we tend to blame ourselves. When a child dies by suicide, whether a teenager, a young adult or an older adult we still feel somehow that we should have been able to do something to prevent it.

Why didn’t we see the signs? If we did see the signs, why didn’t we intervene? Why didn’t they come to us for help? We failed them, we let them down. I hear this over and over again.

If course this is illogical. We know we loved our children with every fibre of our being and we would literally have laid down our lives to save them, but we couldn’t. Continue reading

Posted in bereavement, Grief, guilt, Healing, Loss, parents, suicide | 14 Comments