Thursday 15 August 2019

5 Years, 60 Months, 1825 Days...

5 years ago today we woke up to find one of our children had died. I've never gone to bed without checking on everyone in my house since. Each night I tell them I love them, and I'll see them in the morning. They have to answer. They have to repeat it back to me. I have to know that they intend to still be there.

Everyone who loses someone they love to suicide is a survivor. When you lose them you need to know why? But to understand why is the worst that could ever happen, so you can't ever understand exactly why. That door has to stay shut. Forever. Your job is to let those questions go, and carry on.

In the beginning everything seems so hopeless, pointless.  To keep going is the bravest and hardest thing you'll ever do, and 5 years on, I am so proud of my family for fighting through everything.

Beautiful bright image of a field of sunflowers in front of a lively moving sky

We have three big grown up kids at uni, something I'm incredibly proud to tell anyone, but whenever I say it, I know there should be four. I know that if she had done a 3 year course, Elspeth would be graduating now, alongside her school friends (well done to all of you who graduated this year - I hope you have something awesome to do next).

Two of our big kids have "moved out". Gone to live in the world of bills and private landlords. One of them has moved in with his boyfriend, and genuinely it makes my heart glow to see them together. Always though, you wish Elspeth could have met him and given her seal of approval - probably by taking the p1ss.

She's never truly gone, she's always there in your head. We all feel it, everything we do is tinged by a heavy atmosphere that we have to claw through to stay in the moment. The unsaid.

In some ways it still feels like this isn't a reality, that I could still wake up and find out I dreamt it. Life happens 'to us' much more now, we have less control over where we are going. I really don't have a good chronology of the last 5 years, just a jumbled mess of memories. It's like my brain tried to hold on to the important stuff, but it wasn't quite sure what that was.

I am so glad I have my blog. The opportunities it offers us that we could never afford. The events I agree to because I know it'll force us to go out. The memories it keeps for me. The smiles it creates. The friends I've made. The feeling of self-worth whenever someone says they are pleased with my work. It's very easy to feel a failure when one of your children has taken their own life.

We aren't failures, we are all surviving. We are all older than we rightly should be and tired, everything takes longer and is more effort, but we are still here and our kids are thriving. Our smiles and achievements are all so very precious, they make my heart glow. They are the proof that there is life after suicide.

The rain will fall, but the sun will return and each time you see that first glimpse of it shining, it will be so much more beautiful than you remembered.

Solitary sunflower in front of setting sun in large field
Thank you to Sim for this sunflower - and for everything else


Without any warning we lost Elspeth on 15th August 2014. She was my 16 year old step-daughter, one of our seven children. When she died she had 11 top grade GCSE passes that she never knew about, and had already accepted an unconditional offer to study Art in Manchester.


If you are struggling then you never have to be alone. There is ALWAYS someone you can talk to, and it is ALWAYS worth staying. 

The Samaritans are online and on the phone 24 hours a day for anyone who needs to talk or is struggling - Call 116123

If you are younger or worried about a young person then you may prefer to call Papyrus UK - Prevention Of Young Suicide Call 0800 068 41 41

If you don't feel able to talk, you can text SHOUT to 85258 anytime day or night and chat by text.

To anyone who has had suicidal thoughts. I am glad you are still here. Keep holding on.


  1. Thinking of you all today Jenny x

  2. I love you and yours with my whole heart Jenny. I know we’ve counted the months with you, but five years already? Sending love and light to you all today, and every day xxx

  3. A beautifully written post which will help others I know. Sending huge virtual hugs, wishing they would take the pain away for you xx

  4. Thinking of you and your family today x

  5. Hugest hugs to you and your family.
    It brings tears to my eyes to think that it being you could ever come into question because it is never about that. xx

  6. Sending all my love to you all. It's a tough journey and I wish I could give you a big hug. Keep counting smiles and stay strong, you're doing great xx

  7. Thank you for writing such a heartfelt post, as always. I have nothing but admiration for you all, keeping Elspeth's memory alive by raising awareness is truly wonderful x

  8. Much love to you all Jenny x

  9. Lots of love and hugs to you all, today and always. Elspeth is never far from my thoughts and you all do her proud every day xx

  10. Thinking of you and your family.
    I can't believe it's been 5 years. Sending you all a massive hug x

  11. Sending you warm wishes. I wish I could say that I don't fully understand how you feel but I'm afraid that I do.

    1. I'm sorry that you are in that position. I hope that you have the support around you that you need x

  12. My heart goes out to you and I think about you whenever I see sunflowers

  13. Five years has flown by Jenny. I often think of you and yours. You’re all amazing. I know that your writing will help others and certainly has led to us having some frank conversations with our teenager which we probably wouldn’t have had. Life comes at us thick and fast and time just flies over. X


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I read every one and try my best to reply!