Monday 15 August 2016

24 months....2 years.

The last two years of my life have sped past so incredibly slowly. A moment in time that I'll carry with me forever, memories that will never ever be distant, yet every minute since has dragged into an eternity and I cannot remember life before her loss.

I wish I could say that I had the confidence I found 3 months ago. My days are spent collecting the pieces of our lives and frantically trying to put them back together, carrying on in that way that I appear to manage so very well.

But it feels like a lie. I watch over my shoulder the whole time, I stuff random collections in bags, and grab what I can as quickly as possible before running away to hide again. The need to be under cover is so great when above our heads is the most huge of clouds. One of our children is not with us at the top of our mountain, cannot bear to start collecting up those pieces. And that tortures us all.

"Don't Cry Because It's Over, Smile Because It Happened."

Wise words indeed Dr Seuss, but so much easier said than done. Still we try. I collect the smiles each month as I have since the very first, to try to remind us all that while Elspeth is gone, the rest of our forevers are full of hope and possibility.

We talk of Elspeth, and we talk of her fondly. Sometimes we laugh and remember the good times, her wit and humour, her favourite cake. We joke that she'd be annoyed by scriptwriting on her favourite TV shows. We miss her, we will always miss her, but we have memories we can enjoy, and there can be smiles when we say her name.

I long for that message to be understood by our own young person. I want them to appreciate that however crap and hopeless life seems for them right now, you have 70 years left and you will see so much more than this. You will shout and you will lose, and you will have times when you cannot see the path ahead, but you will also win, you will love and you will laugh. You will always miss her, you will cry and when you least expect it that hole will get so big your heart will feel it is being torn in two. But the day will come that you will be able to remember her with a smile.

Even on the darkest of days, the smiles are always there if you look for them. I post ours each month as a reminder of where we are, and I can see in every one the reason why we carry on. My little boys feature heavily as ever. They smile, they play, they laugh. They accept what little they are told about their hospitalised sibling without question. It comforts and saddens me in equal measure that 2 years after losing their sister to suicide and with another sibling desperately ill, they are naively unaware that everyone else's life is not just the same as theirs...this is their normal.

Here are the smiles I have collected over the last are welcome to share yours on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #TBCSmiles - because they always make me smile too.

Bravery is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it. ~ John Berridge

Thanks to Hayley for sharing the goldfish. Origin unknown.


  1. Oh Jenny, I've wish this was a better time for all of you, although today will be a mountain to climb I hope the the smiles of those two curly haired boys and the support of each other gets you through it. Virtual hugs and an upu for real life ones soon xxx love you xx

  2. Sending lots of love darling.

    Thinking of you all. Anniversaries make the tough times even tougher, and the memories stronger and harder.

    Let the tears flow and gently and slowly the smiles and happy times seap back though knowing it's OK to be sad as you're never alone.

    Thinking of you all

  3. The goldfish is awesome & a perfect representation of how I see you. Strap that fin on and keep swimming Jenny. Swim for your life xxxx

  4. Sending you all many hugs and much love.

  5. Oh Jenny. How can two years have passed since the loss of your beautiful girl? I'm sorry that the path I'd still so rocky and that one of your teens is finding life so hard. Your little boys' happy smiles are testament to the wonderful family they have around them. Sending love as always.

  6. Sending you lots of love as always and really hope that he makes a recovery soon. You guys have suffered way too much the past two years and I am really hoping that you have something amazing and happy waiting around the corner. Your two little ones have the happiest little faces and they always make me smile!

  7. Lovely post Jenny, sending love to you all today and for the future. Take care Xxx

  8. Thinking of you x
    Today is the anniversary of when I was widowed and having been wallowing in self pity, reading this was what I needed. I need to remember that others are facing sad anniversaries too. Your photos of those beautiful smiles are lovely and have made me smile too. Thank you x

  9. The biggest hug and parcel of love ever in the world to your family. I have no idea how to help ease the pain, but please know that I have always remembered Elspeth and thought of you all, and am always here.

  10. Oh Jenny .
    My heart is forever with you all xx
    Much love and hugs now and forever

  11. I love that you collect smiles each month. A ray of sunshine for you all even when the clouds are dark. Much love xxx

  12. i love the gold fish ,and the smiles are amazing

  13. Jenny xx Anniversaries are always the worst but although I can see the pain behind your words I can also see your strength. Keep on collecting those smiles, keep on living life as happy as you can even if you are dying inside, be brave, be true, be you. Know that it's your pain you carry and that Elspeth is free from it. I'm sure that one day your children will know that life is special no matter what you go through, we are here such a short time, it's not to be wasted. Some people just think that their time here is done and decide to go early, that's their choice. Smile when you think of her and keep her memory in your heart. That way she will be with you forever. I'm sorry, I ramble on sometimes, but I feel your pain and send you many hugs and so much love today and everyday xx

  14. Much love to you all at the such sad time. Anniversaries are hard but grab the comfort from you children and family around you. x

  15. Hi Jenny, been thinking of you all today, and I'm always thinking of said sibling in hospital and am sending my best wishes and love. Every day I think about how much has changed since Elspeth passed, and how I long to tell her about all the things that have happened in the world and in our own little worlds over the past two years. I miss her everyday, it still hurts me so I cannot even begin to imagine how much it hurts all of you. The sun shines for Elspeth and her family today xxx
    From Megan (Elspeths friend from school) X

    1. It's so hard to reply to the comments on my smiles posts, but I couldn't let yours go unanswered. There's so much we could tell her, so much she's missed, and missed out on.
      I hope that your life is treating you well, and you are out there grabbing as much of it as you can - and enjoying the warmest Summer on record as you should be. Thank you for your comment, it really means an awful lot to me, and to her Dad too.
      Best of luck to you and all of Elspeth's friends with your exam results. I hope they take you where you want to go xx

  16. You are definitely allowed to have difficult times at any time over the year, but I imagine eanniversaries must be extra hard. You're doing a fab job of hanging on in there, even when you may feel like you're not. Those smiles need collecting, and I hope they give you a little strength. Thinking of you all x

  17. I think about you all a lot and wish there was something I could say or do to help with the pain. I do love seeing these posts and reading about all the lovely memories you've made and smiles that beam out. I know Elspeth is looking down on you all and smiling with you xx


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