We're beginning to get routine into our lives. Washing gets done, people go to bed on time, meals get cooked and served. Life carries on.
We had a massive blow this week with the sudden and unexpected death of a little girl from my children's school. After 5 nights sleeping well my little boys are now unsettled again, and my 6 year old is troubled, short-tempered and crying a lot. Knowing just how those parents felt when they discovered their child had not survived the night has been very hard on us, and as yet we have shielded our little boys from that fact because nights are hard enough for them already. I have cried so much for her family and their loss, and felt far too hard the pain and confusion they will have experienced as they wonder 'what on Earth do you do now?' Whether the cause of her death is ever found or not, it will be little comfort.
When I wrote my Dear Elspeth post I wanted to tell her story. I didn't want people to gossip and guess, I wanted them to know it was as much a shock to us as to anyone else. I wanted to explain that she hadn't spent the previous 6 months in her room sobbing and being an angst-ridden teen. I felt that, scary as it is, other people needed to see that this could happen out of the blue, and I needed to let them know she did it because she loved us and felt it would make life easier for us. She wasn't 'just another teenage suicide', no-one who takes their own life is 'just another' anything. They're human beings, and they have other human beings who love and care for them. I felt that if it helped just one other person then it was was worth making it public.
Since that day I have had many hundreds of messages. I have heard from many, many people who lost their siblings, parents and friends when they were young, and when they weren't. I have heard the story of the mother who battled to prevent her son taking his life for 15 years and eventually failed. I have spoken to friends who have never told people of their own loss, and I have spoken to the parents of 3 young women who are now in the care of their Doctor since reading my post.
I have had support from the unlikeliest of places and I have been able to support others who need it. One of the most important to me is a woman who contacted me at the end of her own limits, who read my post and realised what it would do to her family, and has instead found strength and has started to turn her life around and remove herself from a harmful situation.
So many people with so many heartbreaking stories.
None of this brings Elspeth back, none of it can ever tell her everything I wish I could tell her, but it shrouds the futility and leaves me in no doubt. You are never on your own.
Thank you to everyone who has contacted me, and anyone who found strength to speak after reading. Thank you to everyone who shared the post and let it reach so many. You made it worth writing x
'Elspeth's Field' by Laura Holloway. A beautiful gift from friends x