There is no easy answer to this question. No formula, no prescription, no set of rules. Each person has to find out for themselves. But the first thing I tell them is that they will survive, and more than that they can go on to have a good life. Of course they won’t believe this at first, how can they? But then I urge them to join the support group and talk to other parents who have faced the same nightmare and found ways to cope, survive and even thrive.
I realised today that the most powerful thing to do is to search for what heals the soul. Even after four years I still find that it can be the simplest things that gives healing to the part of my soul where I feel the loss of Toby most deeply.
I am fortunate because I live in Cornwall which is a beautiful place, by the sea. I am on a break from my studies so I am free to go out and explore and enjoy the natural beauty of this breath-taking county.
I have found a new beach which is dog friendly all year, and is a 15 minute drive then a 20 minute walk from my home. I pack my backpack with coffee, water, biscuits for me and biscuits for Elfie and leave home at 9 am. By just after 9.30 I am sitting on the beach which is usually deserted, looking out to sea, listening to the waves, feeling the breeze and watching Elfie playing on the beach. This morning I realised that this experience gives me a powerful healing energy which permeates through my body into the deepest recesses of my pain and loss and this is all I need.
I just sit and drink in the experience; the beauty, the calmness, the sounds. I feel the warmth of a little dog’s body on my lap. I watch her digging in the sand, rolling on her back and romping around. I look far out to sea and just be in the power of now. I realise how grateful I am that I can experience this.
As I walked across the beach to my sitting spot, I wrote Toby’s name in the sand. As I sat looking out to sea a single white feather floated down in front of me and I picked it up and put it close to my heart.
This is how I survive.