Surviving after Child Loss

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Whilst I was sat on a train heading to Glasgow earlier this week I decided to write a few blog posts touching on subjects people have been curious about.

How do you cope with losing a child?

People often ask me about how we coped with losing Violet and about the techniques we employed to try to help ourselves get through this time.

Force yourself to do things

We tried to remember what we enjoyed about life when our daughter was still with us. We focused on making ourselves do these things even though we didn’t want to and certainly didn’t have the motivation.

It all began with us still going on a mini-break to the Lake District only a few weeks after she had died.  A break we had already planned and paid for when our daughter was still alive.  That trip was an extremely hard one for us and we only stayed there for the bare minimum of time. 

We also had lunch at L’Enclume that I had arranged as a belated birthday surprise for my hubby months earlier.  We just went through the motions and returned home early on the final day as we felt lost.

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Cartmel, Lake District

What did you enjoy before?

The things we had enjoyed doing as a family trio were travel. Violet was a true jetsetter and travelled more in her short life then many adults do in theirs. We also liked dining out in new places. 

Admittedly the fondness for dining out was more mine and my hubby’s as Violet disliked food although she did enjoy people watching.  She was always good as gold too preferring to use high chairs to rest her books on for reading. She often got praised by staff for how clean and well behaved she was.    

I work in travel and hospitality PR so my work has always channeled my passion but I felt as though this love had disappeared with Violet.

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Violet watching the Snoopy film on the flight to New Zealand at 7 months old

After the initial Lake District trip we continued to make sure we planned and booked other things in advance. Then we had less chance of being able to back out and change our minds at the last minute.  Don’t get me wrong there were quite a few dinner reservations we made and then couldn’t be bothered going to. Or arrangements with friends we had to back out of as we simply couldn’t face it.

Remember to mark anniversaries

We jointly decided that we should focus on ensuring, despite our misery, that we booked restaurants or mini-breaks for anniversaries and birthdays.  We encouraged each other to make an effort to keep the reservation. We often found that only one of us would wobble and want to back out of plans.  So we worked as a team to persuade each other knowing that it was for the best in the long run.

Book things in advance

We planned trips to places we had already wanted to visit but only for a few days at a time. We knew a big trip would be too much for us.  Places like Florence in Italy for Valentine’s day. Bilbao in Spain to visit the Guggenheim. Montenegro to escape for Violet’s anniversary. Morocco to escape Arthur’s due date etc.

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Sunset in Bilbao, Spain

Slowly but surely after nearly 2 years I can now talk again about travel being a passion of mine without instantly feeling guilty about it. Now I realise that this was also a passion of my daughters and something she would still relish if she was alive today.  I also embraced a new hobby for photography, especially landscape and architecture.  All the photos in this blog are mine.

Always a work in progress

I’ve not yet gotten there with the dining out thing. I’m still fond of food and work in hospitality however we don’t dine out as a couple anywhere near as much as we used to.   I know in time we will and this will be easier too. 

To the “friend” that said to us after Violet died “well at least you can now travel whenever you like and dine out whenever you like”. Well we did travel and dine whenever we liked with Violet. She loved it and we can nearly do this again without pangs of guilt and imagining what she’d have thought of it/been like in these places. Every day is tough.  It’s not as easy as “at least you don’t have to arrange a babysitter” that we’re constantly told by people.

Hang in there with everything in life some things take practice.

Love Sarah

Always Violet Skies x

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