- Susanna is an architect. She is in a civil partnership and has 1 child. Ethnic background/nationality: White British
You have to be very careful about things like Christmas because Christmas, well my brother’s birthday was November 5th so that’s a very sad time and in fact we flew back with him on 5th November. And Christmas we find very difficult because not only did he have his funeral on 23rd December but also you know there’s always one person missing and New Year, you know Auld Lang, Auld Lang Syne, it’s all about you know, being with family and friends, but also the people who aren’t there, so those are very difficult times, and people aren’t, I mean in general the population is celebrating Christmas and why shouldn’t they, and they’re having a very jolly time but it’s always a very poignant time. I couldn’t go along to office Christmas do’s and things like that because I just, and also you have to be very careful to stay away from alcohol because you’re in such a state that just a few glasses will tip you into kind of blubbering oblivion, it does all sorts of other things that you need to, you just have to be incredibly, you’re very, very fragile, and a lot of people don’t realise. You know they’ll say, “Oh you know it happened six months ago.” And you’re still you know in the most incredible state, but people, but you have to hide it, and people expect, because they’re, a lot of work colleagues will say for example, “Oh well you know, my Mum and my Grandmother died,” or something like that, “and it was a bit sad, but you know you get over it,” sort of thing. And I think a lot of people didn’t, when, and I would be one of them that were completely unprepared for how long it takes you to get back to normal.
Do you ever get back to…
Well no you don’t. You won’t really, but so that you can you can concentrate enough to function as a working individual. That takes quite a long time. But no, you never get back to normal, you never get back to where you were on, I’ll never get back to where I was on the 11th October 2002.
- Age at interview:
- Cynthia was a University administrator (now retired). She is divorced and has one child, who died. Ethnic background/nationality: White British.
So, as you can imagine Christmas that year waiting for information and the first Christmas without my daughter, was sheer hell, and I have nothing at all to do with Christmas now. I completely ignore it, I don’t want to know about it, and friends have been very supportive and they send me Christmas cards saying, “Happy Shortest Day”, so that there’s no mention of Christmas in the Christmas card.
Which is nice of them. So then the inquest was at the end of January that year. And it was appalling, it was appalling.
And anniversaries, you say Christmas is terrible, you don’t want to…
I never have anything to do with Christmas, no I don’t want it.
What about, I know other anniversaries like her birthday must be difficult as well?
Yes it is, but that’s when I go to see the tree at the college, and that’s doing really well, it’s a silver birch tree and it’s really big now and I occasionally see rabbits there as well which is important because we did have pet rabbits and so, it feels like her sort of place, and so now when it’s her birthday I go to the tree, yes. And I always do something to connect with her on the anniversary of her death. Sometimes I go to the tree, or sometimes there might be something else that I can go to, for example, one of the RoadPeace supporters is a professional musician who occasionally organises concerts for us, fundraising concerts for us, and this year, entirely coincidentally, nothing to do with me, he didn’t even know the date of my daughters death, but this year the concert was on the anniversary of her death, so that was what I did this year, go to the concert.
Mm, how nice.
And think about her, yes.
- Age at interview:
- Martin is a Househusband (ex-warehouse manager). He is a widower and has 2 children. Ethnic background/nationality' White British.
And you said Christmas is particularly difficult?
‘Cos you miss Steph?
Yes, this is my third one now on my own, and it just doesn’t get any easier. There’s no fun in it anymore, it used to be a special time of year, I used to love Christmas with her.
Do you get together with your wider family?
I only have a couple of sisters to be honest with you, I didn’t last year. I actually took my daughter to Spain for four days, on, we went on Boxing Day night which was quite selfish of me because that was for me, because I just wanted to get away, I couldn’t bear being in this house.
Was it good getting away?
Yes, yes. We had a good time, we enjoyed it. Yes. It was a surreal situation on Boxing Day night, middle of the night trying to catch the night, “What am I doing here,” you know? Catching a night flight to Spain on Boxing Day night, this shouldn’t be happening, but I was glad we did it, but I ‘m not looking to Christmas this year Alison, it’s, I don’t know it seems to be just as hard this year as it was for the first the first year.
It’s just that you’re there on your own watching her open her presents, that’s the hardest thing that, you just want Steph to be here watching, it’s just difficult.