Tuesday 15 August 2017

1,095 Days, 36 Months, 3 Years.

Three years where time has flown past so agonisingly slowly and the majority of it has faded completely. That morning three years ago is embedded into my yesterday, it recurs so frequently, yet I can't remember what life was like before it happened. Time is almost non-linear, the past creeps in constantly and not a minute can ever go by when you don't think of what has been lost for now and the future. How would life for the other children be different, the family dynamic altered. Where would you be now? How many courtships, part-time jobs, driving lessons. Borrowed make up, lost shirts and spilt tears. Exam results, friendships, nights out. How many times would you have made us laugh? The 3 years has gone so quickly and yet so slowly and it's been such hard work, although the sludge is reducing and the trudging getting easier, but always never a minute without remembering.

It'll never be easier without Elspeth.

Last year at Blog On Conference I won a holiday from Canvas Holidays and it took us more than ten months of build up, but we finally booked it and did it. We finally felt confident all of our young people were strong enough to leave behind - although they all had the option to come.

We booked a tent in one of the closest sites to drive to, we did all of the scary forms for passports and EHIC cards and all of that stuff, and we didn't get any of it wrong. We packed the right things and we went. It all worked and we're both sat here in a little bubble of stunned success, in disbelief that no disaster befell us at all. It was an awesome holiday.

I've been so jealous of people going away for so long now. I know it's mardy, but I really was green. I needed a break so desperately. We had a lovely time at Camp Wight on the Isle Of Wight 2 years ago, but it was also a struggle as one of our children had just become really ill. It was by far hardest for them, but worrying for everyone and not quite the 'time off' we needed. Two years further on and I was beginning to wonder if I might just one day actually collapse and be unable to get back up. It was only the knowledge I had the whole deck balanced on my back that gave me the adrenaline and sheer stubbornness to keep going so long.

I sat on the inland beach at our campsite and watched my partner and children splashing about in the water laughing and I actually had nothing to do, nowhere to be, no-one asking me to provide or find something. I didn't feel a need to message home, I had confidence everyone was okay and I could just relax. It took about 3 days to get used to it, but I managed....and it was sheer bliss. We all had an amazing time and it's been far too long since I've known so many smiles and so much laughter. Just what any doctor would have ordered.

For this holiday we left three of the big kids behind at home and they didn't set fire to anything or pull down any of the curtains. They even ate real food and fed all the pets and did all the laundry. All four big ones were working and busy, but we were aware we were leaving them during a very tricky week and they've all done themselves proud.

We are also beaming with pride with all of the kids, they've all pushed forward with their lives, and are all doing things young people should be doing. One in particular has impressed us so much the past few weeks, it makes my heart leap to see them doing so well. I can't begin to explain the joy it is bringing my partner and I to see them staking claim to their life and running with it. All either of us have ever hoped for is that our children are happy, anything else is ultimately just a tool to get there.

It's the 15th, but as we only got home and the kids into bed at 3am, and internet when I was away was a bit more random than I'd hoped, plus it feels wrong to add them to this particular post, so I will share your #TBCSmiles photos a little later. For now you'll just have to put up with our holiday smiles...

We're getting there. I still have no idea of where 'there' is, and I know it will always include Elspeth and the space she's left behind, but it feels like finally we are all on the right path...

Here are our smiles for this last month. More than any month before...and bringing more hope than any month before.


  1. Written so beautifully iv got to admit I had a little cry reading it not just about your loss but how you and your family have had to carry on what amazing parents you both are xx ps love the pics xxx

  2. I actually don't know what to say but I didn't want to say nothing. May many more smiles come your way

  3. Crying lady. Sad tears, happy tears. Tears cos I love you. I'm so glad you were able to take and enjoy that holiday. And I hope that you're now able to take many more like it. To take more time to do nothing but smile with that little ginger crew of yours x

  4. You have all been in my thoughts today, sending you love and hugs. I'm so, so pleased you had such a great holiday, it sounds like it was much needed and I hope it will encourage you to let go and relax a bit more often, as you really deserve to. Love you x

  5. I think you've broken the record for family smiles, it makes my heart glad! The three years have gone in the blink of an eye and it also feels like forever. Keep doing what you're all doing, it seems to be working.
    PS. Lovely to see so many sunflowers everywhere today. Never forgotten. Never xxx

  6. So ma y wonderful smiles. It's been lovely seeing your holiday posts over the last week and you have been in my thoughts today. I've loved seeing all the sunflowers in support and you know how much we all love you are your family. Im also glad you came back to a house in one piece and they remembered to feed the pets. Xx

  7. They are great smiles. I'm so glad you managed to relax, although I understand about the what ifs and all those thoughts. Pleased to hear for you that other successes are being had - little steps are always good steps. Thinking of you all today xx

  8. Oh lovely. I think of you all, all the time. You are all amazing. This post is beautiful and sad and happy. Tears I've cried for you all and tears, because it's lovely to see you all have some fun, smile and enjoy life the way Elspeth would want. She is never forgotten and always there in your heart in our hearts. Big hugs xx


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