A dream come true and my worst nightmare

Well I decided I should start blogging regularly. Why? I am in a reflective mood and feel  I have something to share and if nothing else it may help me to write about what is going on as it is all rather overwhelming.

Where do I start? Well I could begin by saying that in 2011 I have had a life-long dream come true, shortly followed by the worst nightmare you could possibly imagine. It is too mind boggling to process.

In April this year I moved from London to Cornwall which has been a dream of mine for years. I can’t emphasise enough how huge this was for me. I was happier than I ever thought possible. I kept pinching myself because I couldn’t believe it had happened. I had handed in my notice at work and was longing for the day when I didn’t have to manage stressful IT projects which I was finding more and more soul destroying. Finally I was to have the life of my dreams, living in Cornwall with a fulfilling job and a little dog to take for walks on the beach – bliss. I had to move with my 81 year old Dad as I had been living with him for 5 years since Mum died, but he was all for it, looking forward to seeing out his life by the sea and the house we bought had a lovely sea view.

My only child, my son Toby who was 23 had been living with us for the past year, and we gave him the option to come with us but all his friends were in Cambridge where he had attended University so he went to lodge with a friend and I said I would pay his rent for 6 months until he found a job and could stand on his own two feet. I felt this was a chance for him to finally be independent and make a life of his own.

But then it all came crashing down and I still can’t quite take it in. On Sunday July 10th a young policeman knocked on my door at precisely 10 p.m. I know the time as a movie ‘Marley and Me’ had just finished and I was watching the highlights of the British Grand Prix. It was just like a scene from a TV programme where they tell you to sit down and in that moment you know your life will never be the same again. He told me that my beautiful 23 year old son was dead, and in the next sentence he added that he had taken his own life.

I didn’t fall to the floor in hysterics as I would have thought. I just immediately went into shock and had to go and tell my Dad upstairs who thought I was so upset because of the end of Marley and Me, where the dog dies. I was pacing up and down muttering and putting the kettle on just in shock. But not once did I scream or cry or break down and I kept commenting on the fact. I kept asking this young policeman why I wasn’t on the floor sobbing.

The next 3 weeks I just got on with seeing my son’s body, meeting his friends, arranging his funeral, having an endoscopy, going to the dentist, having the chimney swept, driving from Cornwall to Cambridge and back again twice. How did I do that?.

I bought a puppy as I was so scared that if I didn’t have anything to live for when I got back that I would just walk out into the sea and end it all. It is the ultimate irony that suicide can cause suicidal thoughts for the loved ones left behind, where there never had been any before.

Then on August 2nd I took my Dad for a routine check up and was told in the hospital waiting room that he had a tumour in his bladder and that it was cancerous. This can’t be happening I thought but it was. So now it is December 7th and Dad is gone too and I am all alone. Dad died on November 19th, I had to go to my son’s inquest on November 25th and hear how he had been found in a field with a bag over his head, then arrange my Dad’s funeral.

So that is all behind me but what does it mean for me now. How do I process all this and get on with my life. Some days it is all just too huge and I feel scared. Other days I just get up, take the dog out, have lunch and go about my day and feel numb, devoid of any emotion. I am scared that if I let the emotion in it will devour me and there will be nothing left.

Everyone keeps telling me how brave I am, how amazing I am, how strong I am? Am I? I just think I get up every day and breath in and out until it is time to go to bed. What other option do I have?

So this blog will chart my journey into the unknown. How does a 55 year old woman, alone with no parents, no children, no partner rebuild her life and find meaning and purpose out of loss and tragedy. Watch this space.


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4 Responses to A dream come true and my worst nightmare

  1. Karen Arthur says:

    Dear Anne
    I too live in Cornwall and my only child took his own life in September 2010. I don’t have any other family apart from a sister in Norway, and also live alone. Oddly enough, I am collecting a puppy next week. I would be interested in hearing from you. I live in St Just (Penwith) and have some very close friends, but I don’t know another person in this situation so I can find it very isolating. Perhaps, if you would be interested, we could meet up and walk the puppies and have a bit of a talk? my phone number is 01736 787091.
    Wishing you the very best. I’m going to a friend for lunch on Christmas day, I hope you have found something you can do.
    Take care and best wishes
    Karen Arthur

  2. Hi Anne, I just found you via Suzy Greaves’ blog. I have been in floods of tears reading about your tragedies of this year. Reading your words has taken me on the journey with you. My heart goes out to you.

    I have a son, Luke, he’s 9. Every day I thank God he’s still with me because I know how precious life is and how suddenly it can be gone at any age. This time last year my mother’s boyfriend of 18 years died of cancer aged 57. This year she’s with me. For the past 18 years she’s never had a Christmas with me because she always went to his sister’s house up North. Events like this do bring huge change and I am still crying as I type this to you because I truly feel so deeply for you and the circumstances especially. If you weren’t so far away then I’d be inviting you up to Hertfordshire, but instead would like to offer my support in whatever other way would best support you.

    Hugs and thank you for sharing your journey. Something of this manner will happen to us all one day.

  3. Jan Gore says:

    Dear Anne

    I found you via Suzy’s blog, and we met at her Big Life party last year. I am so sorry to hear about your year, and you’ll be in my thoughts this Christmas.

    With love and sympathy

    Jan x

  4. Anne
    I send you every ounce of Love I can; a warm radiant holding a comfort and support as you make your way through this frightening time. I will think of you often during the holiday season and on into the coming months, hoping you are continuing to wake, breathe in and out and sleep.
    With deep Love and Respect for your Courage.

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