You Are Not Alone

I felt very lonely and afraid in the initial months after the accident as none of my friends could relate to what I was feeling and I didn’t know if some of the feelings I was having were normal, was I going mad?  I want to create an place where we can share our feelings about grief and loss and in turn feel that we are not alone in our grief and that the feelings we are having are completely normal and that we are not alone, there are many people experiencing the same pain. 

Please write in with one line or 100, funny stories or poignant ones, sharing our stories will help others and reading other people’s will help us.  

I look forward to hearing from you,

Victoria x

Your Stories

Alex
Hi Victoria, I remember reading about your terrible accident back in 2013 and how in an instant your life and lives were changed in an instant. I am so glad that you have been able to not only pick up the pieces but also work at becoming a better and such an amazing person since that time both for your children and as an amazing example for all of us. Last year, I lost my mother, she and i had such a close bond, for years I had always worried how I would cope the day something happened to her. Fortunately or unfortunately we had about 15 months notice although she had been diagnosed originally with cancer and 3 months to live. I can therefore only imagine the pain and anguish that you have gone through, but i can resonate with so much of what you have written about facing into your grief head on....I did that and whilst there have been and still are some really low / down moments they do pass. I decided that for a year I wouldn't make any huge adjustments to my life b ut that in time when I felt ready I would do so. Whilst I have always been a keen runner and enjoyed sport on of the areas I have really focussed on is getting mentally and physically more fit through regular gym training, running and as you have written making sure I eat the right food. I had no idea how important that was but in the space of 2 months I have lost 7% body fat and 6kgs! I am not sure why I am writing to you, but I know I did want to say and encourage you that your writings have really spurred me on and I am sure will do the same for many other folk too. I do realise that there is still plenty yet to fulfil in my life and whilst we may not know what is around the corner we do need to make sure we live life to the full. Thank you for your truly inspirational writings - I feel privileged to have found your website today. Best wishes, Alex.
Carolyn
Dear Victoria I have just read your article and found your website. What you say resonates so strongly with me and it has been very helpful to read your thoughts on grief. It has to be life's hardest challenge....to lose a child. I always wondered how people managed to carry on living. My beautiful daughter, Ella, died on May 1st 2013 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 28. i remember reading about your terrible accident just afterwards and wondering if it was worse to lose one's child in an instant, as you did, or to have to watch your child die, as I did for 6 months after her diagnosis. So much of what you say resonates with me....for instance, I feel my other two daughters have absorbed parts of Ella too....like your Emily, Ella lit up a room. Her gift to us was to prepare us for a life without her and we all make the most of every precious moment as much as we can. Absolutely everything you say is true....I would add that My two daughters and I feel we owe it to Ella to live our lives to the fullest. We feel she is with us all the time. We had such a memorable 6 months with her....Ella was a gifted writer and she wrote a blog at www.sharkyandwillow.wordpress.com. It is in turns hilarious, poignant, devastating but most of all life affirming. It helped us so much that she wrote it and I think all her family and friends still live by her rules....eg " run up those stairs!" If you do have a minute do look at it....but start from September 2012 as she tells her story from the beginning. Counselling helped Ella but I have found the support of family and friends has helped me so much. This Friday would have been her 31st birthday. I so agree with you in planning for the event. Her two best gay friends are coming here to Cheltenham and we will share very happy....and crazy! ,,..memories over a few drinks. I always plan different Christmases now too and we usually go away. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on your blog. I have often read about you and how well you are doing. We never want to get over them do we? But it is a life sentence and we will remember them all the time, forever. Thank you Carolyn x
Victoria
Dear Carolyn, Thank you for your kind words and it is so good to have contact with other people who have also lost their precious daughter. As you say, life will never be the same again, but we owe it to our girls to carry on living and live the best life we can. I often ask myself the same question, is it better to lose a child suddenly with no preparation or after a long illness? Would I have wanted to have more years with her or would that have made it even more painful when she went? There is of course no right answer to these questions, they are just more questions that us bereaved parents are tormented with - along with what would the look like now? What would she be doing now? etc… How brace of your daughter to write a blog and what help she must have given other people going through a similar path. Would you mind if I added your email to my You are not Alone section on my website? I want to create an area where we feel we can talk to other bereaved parents, to share our feelings and not feeling so isolated.

Victoria x
Sharlene
Dear Victoria, I was just watching This Morning whilst making myself breakfast and I caught a glimpse of a very pretty lady who I thought looked very happy and healthy, I sat down to eat my breakfast and realised this lady had an amputated leg and was doing a 10k run how amazing I thought, that lady was you. Looking at you i would never had imagined you have been through what you have and alot of people have said that to me also, I hardly look down or sad, I always make sure I look presentable and most often have a smile and it just goes to show we never know someone's journey until they say. Initially I thought you had just lost a leg in an awful accident, then you went on to say you had lost your child and partner in the same accident... I almost cried hearing that. It isn't often I come across many people who have lost a child and when I do I instantly see something in their eyes that I know is in my eyes too, something that tells me even though they are coping and moving forward they will never be the same again as losing a child is the worst thing ever. How you have remained sane after losing a partner and a child is a miracle however i can relate somewhat. I lost my 1st daughter to a rare lung condition on November 5th 2008. Since then I have had 2 more children, one in 2011 and iv just recently had a little boy on 14th October. For me having more children with a new partner has proved to be very difficult and accepting they haven't replaced the daughter I have lost has been very hard, however they have definitely helped me to be happy again and give my love and have a purpose again. After losing my daughter I was only 21 years old and planning a funeral was something I never even dreamt I'd ever do, I remember going to the cemetary to pick a plot, I didn't realise you had to pay for that plot, it was all very overwhelming. I was at university and just a normal 21 year old. I think I dealt with everything so well and in a mature wa y because before my daughter passed away she was an outpatient at Great Ormond Street hospital, on oxygen therapy at home and had a cocktail of different drugs which i had to give her 24 hours round the clock so my life was extremely busy with appointments back and forth to London and I had to be very organised. The hardest bit for me and this still gets me today is the fact that my daughters life and future was put in my hands, I had to agree to the doctors switching off her life support machine, in a way i was so grateful that I could hold her for the last time while she slipped away, it was the most heartbreaking thing ever but also comforting to know i was with her and she wouldn't be on her own. It was also very traumatising to know that when my daughter was admitted to great Ormond street that month it was to make her better as the doctors finally believed they knew what to do, so being told she was deteriorating after we had just bought her Christmas presents was a sh ock. We had left her room at home in a bit of a mess thinking we were going home soon to tidy it. Things just changed so quickly and my mind and heart had to keep up. I remember just after she passed away I walked out of the hospital to go round the corner to the hospital home we were staying in to get her the new clothes I had bought her days before... I was in a trance like state, didn't cry just walked and smiled at people as I walked, looking back now I acted very strangely but there is no right or wrong way to deal with these things, you just have to somehow get through the next few minutes and hours, then days. It's now been years and I still cry on her birthday and anniversary of her death but I know I can't for too long or let myself completely be taken over by emotions as I have the other children now, in a way thats challenging as well because sometimes I feel as though I am suppressing how I feel just to keep a smile on my face and do simple things like cook dinne r for my children, however I have come a long way and each day is better. Since my daughter Chey-Anne has passed I have held charity events to raise money for the pulmonary hypertension association and bliss for premature babies and have also donated toys and clothes to hospitals across London. One of my most memorable charity events was walking 26 miles from great Ormond street hospital in Holborn where she died with several friends amd relatives to Queens hospital in Romford where she was born. Like you i will continue to raise money for charity and continue to be the best mother I can for my children always remembering life is ever so precious, especially with them in it. All the best to you and your children, thank you for being so inspiring and being brave enough to share your story and touch people like me. Sharlene x
Cala
Dear Victoria Thank you for your reply I had not expected one. Yes our son died on the 30th May 2013 following an operation to repair a broken collar bone. Who knew you could die from such a common accident? I remember your story in the newspapers prior to our own loss and recall thinking it only takes a second for your whole world to be spun 360 degrees and then only weeks later my own world exploded in a way I could never have imagined. Thankfully I have always been a positive thinker and decided on day one that Elliot's death would not define my future. I have looked for answers in books, websites and online support groups and have finally come to the conclusion that no one really knows the answers. Each parent that loses a child will follow their individual and unique journey through their grief. I believe firmly in the age old adage that it not what life throws at your that defines you but how you deal with them. Some say time is a healer, some say not, there are people out there twenty years on still so deep in their grief they will probably never move on. I have chosen the 'go with the flow' method and like yourself have started to feel a little lighter recently. The only fear I had is that one day the full force of my loss would smack me round the head like sledgehammer and I might never get up again. Having come this far I have started to doubt that will happen but the thought remains. I do believe that time, although not necessarily healing, separates us from the pain in such a way that when revisited it is not so breathtaking. Unfortunately, unlike you I have not achieved that much since Elliot's death but I shall take strength from your story and move forward in my own journey. If nothing else the loss of our children should become a reason to live life to the full and without fear. Love and healing to you and yours. Cala x
Victoria
Dear Cala, we lost our loved ones about the same time and for me it is starting to get a little easier but is still one day at a time and unfortunately time is the only healer. Good luck.

Victoria x
Julieann
My 41 year old Husband took his own life in 99,a 6ft + successful,engaging daredevil with amazing blue eyes.We were not together and I was blamed,it was very very traumatic as we shared our daughter and a huge part of me still loved him.It was made worse as I was still legally his wife and so everything had to be signed by me.His family hated that and me and never once considered my loss too.I remember thinking "let the nightmare begin" and it did.One of those dark January mornings I remember going outside and being so cross at the normal everyday life going on around me but the thought that came to me that day was that Life Goes on.It was brutal but true . I have experienced several bereavements since and I liken the grief ,especially in the early days to a lake.Somedays its calm,somedays theres ripples and others it has huge waves xx
Victoria
Dear Julieann, What a horrendous time you have been through, it is hard enough going through bereavement but then to be blamed for your husband’s death is just cruel. We all know how destructive guilt and anger can be as emotions and they don’t get us anywhere. You have been so brave to face up to the Life Goes On mentality, hard as it is somedays. I love your analogy of life is like a lake, that really resonates with me. Thank you for sharing.

Victoria x
Gill
Good Morning Victoria. I have an elephant, who sits on my chest and weighs me down , he gets heavier when my day is not a good one and a friend bought me a children book entitled The Slightly Annoying Elephant by David Walliams, my aim is to get my elephant sitting on the side of my chest to ease the heaviness . The book sits in view to remind me of my challenge with him.

The other aim is my "Fog". I try and remember the times after Ian died when we were in Mombasa, so much to do regarding his repatriation , death certificates, ensuring Ian and paperwork met with requirements needed when he landed in London, and so so much more, if it had not been for my net work support who rallied around as my family were in UK I could not have coped. The fog took over and my friends lead me all week with direction and so much love.

Todate I asked my family " how did I get home" ? Who met me at Heathrow? And much of that week seems to be lost forever as are weeks that followed my return. My "fog " diminished my memory and how I repair is a working progress with currently poor results.

I have shares in Tesco now with yellow sticky notes and friends that call daily ask, " how many stickies on the table today Gill, let's count" My net work locally are my for friends, my children are in England and San Francisco and we are all in contact every day.

Ian and I had a beautiful Labrador called Maasai , he was my huge comfort and have me a reason to get up however he very sadly died too two months ago and had a huge impact on my day to day life at home.

One step forward and two steps back and I felt I was being tested every day and knocked back .

" Ian, your perception of me is a reflection of you" " I may not be there yet , but I am closer than I was yesterday " With very best wishes Victoria. Gill.x
Ken
Hello Victoria, I just read an article in the Mail which describes you dealing with the grief of your situation and I just wanted to empathise with your observations. I lost my wife in a car accident nearly three years ago and have been left to raise our children aged 12 and 16, I was comforted by the article as I recognised many of the observations you made and just wanted to let you know I feel the same. The madness that completely surrounds one after such a tragedy that you just have to silently scream at so as not to upset anyone, especially the children who look to you for an explanation but bravely remain silent because something truly impossible has happened. The difficulties around Mothers Day, drinking, inappropriate encounters and in my case M&S Eccles cakes which hit me like a sledge hammer when I least expected it. The endless letters and emails of condolence and familiar and unfamiliar people who try to enter your life with offers of help, religion, reque sts for money, friendship and all manner of strange things. I just wanted to let you know you are not alone and well done on your charitable efforts. Best wishes Ken
Evelyn
Dear Victoria, I have just read your article in You magazine and can relate to all you have said and especially the list of things you have learned. My husband died suddenly 21 months ago and we had been married for nearly 39 years and he was a week off his 60th birthday. I still struggle big time but you are an inspiration and reading all you have gone through is very humbling. I wish you and your family every happiness in the future. Evelyn
Anne
Dear Victoria...thanks for your honest comments,recall and blogs.. you dare to say and go where most people won't. I loved your advice on lessons learnt about grief.. wish i had been more kind on myself. My daughter Lucy died when she was 10..in 2004 and during and after her illnes I was frequently up at 4am replying to letters etc... so scared of offending or having someone think I was ungrateful... and i put pressure on myself to reply to absolutely everything....thankyou... it actually made me laugh... Well done you and Amber, Olivia and Kit... it is never going to be easy, but you have the right approach.. trying to make each day the best we can... Anne x
Guest
Victoria, I read your story in the US Daily Mail today...you inspire me. Thank you for being such a wonderful person and sharing so much of your journey through grief. It helps so much to know we are not alone on this lonely journey. I lost my fourth of five children, my beautiful 24 year-old daughter, Megan, over 11 years ago to an accidental overdose of prescription pain medication and feel forever broken. Thank you for helping me remember that I am not alone and need to help others on this path. XXXOOOc