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My Lucie - 18 Months On

Cousin AJ, Fraancesca and Lucie

Everyone says that time is a great healer and I truly believe that to be true.  


Grief is such a personal experience, there is no magic formula or guidelines for making the process happen faster, smoother or more easily.


The last 18 months since our precious little girl Lucie passed away have been some of the toughest and darkest I have ever experienced, but also there have been times when I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.


I still truly believe that our Lucie was sent to us for a reason, she was never meant to be here long, but she had a very clear purpose.  I am still not sure what that purpose is or whether I will ever know.


In the 18 months since she passed away, both her heart values have been transplanted in two separate children, giving hope to two families.  A little part of her lives on, giving hope and life to two very sick baby girls.  What a gift. Thank goodness we made the decision to donate.


Each day is different and the one thing I have learned is that grief is a silent predator.  One minute everything is fine, I feel calm, composed and as though I am getting life back on track and then the next minute, my eyes fill with tears and am sobbing, thinking about what she would be doing today, what she would look like, what personality would she have developed, how would she play with her big sister Francesca.


I distinctly remember having a conversation with a dear friend in the early days, who had also suffered grief, asking if it gets easier and her honest reply was “the pain never gets any easier, but the time lapse between each episode gets longer”  I often think of that conversation, because for me it is one of the most honest things anyone said, and it certainly held true for me too.


It has also been hard at times to accept that peoples lives have to go back to normal….. very quickly.  Of course for us Lucie’s death is still very much an every day event, there is not a single day that passes where I do not think about her.  In fact most days I have at least a few tears.  We have had so much support, but people are afraid often to ask about Lucie and how you are, they don’t want to open up wounds that are healing and just don’t know what to say for the best.  I am very open about Lucie, I’m ok if people ask how I am and am completely ok with crying in front of complete strangers.  However, you find yourself not saying things so as not to upset others.  You end up being a support for them, as they don’t now how to act or what to say rather than you being comforted.


The thing I had not given any thought to is the long-term implications of loosing a child.  There are the practical things to consider as well as the emotional elements.  When is the right time to sort out a headstone for the grave?, what should the inscriptions say/not say?  How often should we visit the grave, should there be fresh flowers there every day, what if we go away and no one visits?  Should we go away for Christmas, who will visit her. Should we stay close by, are we letting her down?


The grave is a very special place, tranquil, but also where life continues to thrive. Children’s voices can be hard playing in the park, and from the local school.  Cows pop their heads over the stone wall to say hello and we can see the church tower from our back garden, so can feel close to her from our own garden.


For me, though, the place to remember her is the local Church, which thankfully is open 24/7 and means that I can go and sit, reflect, pray and light a candle whenever the time is right for me.  Often at unsociable hours.  It is a place of great reflection and peace and I feel so grateful that we were given time and advice about burial at the time of her death.  Cremation would have been so wrong for us, and the on-going grieving process.  Crematoriums are places of death, but the churchyard is a place of life and death, and I certainly feel great comfort knowing she is resting amongst the community.  It is like she is also a part of the present and future, not just the past.


Francesca had her birthday party in the village hall, close-by where Lucie is buried. Life goes on and although too hard to put into words, it just seems right that there is a little part of her that shares in these events, just by the presence of her physical grave.


Francesca has been incredible over the last 18 months and I am very proud of how she has coped with loosing her sister.  She often talks of her little Lucie and says she misses her.  The toughest thing was the day she announced she could no longer remember her, not surprising since it was half her own little life ago.  What a mature and honest thing to come out with.  Another realization that actually all Francesca’s memories of her little sister will come from the stories photos and videos we share with her.   We have a duty to her to preserve the relationship she shared with Lucie, which although was only two short weeks was deeply forged.


Francesca understands so much and has always been very perceptive.  She cuddles her teddy, which she was given at the hospital the day Lucie died, and she knows that Lucie has a purple version with her, which she gave to her.  She sometimes asks if we are sad and tells us it will all be ok.  She is looking forward to having the chance to be a big sister again this month.


Our charity For Lucie – has given us a great deal of strength.  It is cathartic knowing we are taking action, however small to help others who may have to endure what we have had to.  We have met many special people along the journey so far.  As you look through this website you will see the great things, large and small that people have been doing to help raise awareness and funds.  Thurlby Tigers have chosen For Lucie as their nominated charity, for which we are so very humbled and honoured and they have created the “For Lucie” Shield to recognize great individuals within the club, or from those who support the club.


We are now just days away from the impending arrival of a new sibling for Francesca and another child for us.  It is fair to say that the word terrified appears, but whatever happens we know that we are so lucky to have been given another chance to complete our family unit and are so very fortunate in so many ways .  Lucie’s short life has changed us all but I believe for the better and we will continue to help her legacy and spirit live on for many, many years.




Cousin Beccy and Lucie

Granddad P and Lucie

Sssh Baby’s Sleeping - Lucie gets some rest

Granddad H, Trish and Lucie