I’m a wife and mother of one, Teddy, who never got to come home from the hospital with us. He lived for just three days. Since Teddy died in May 2016 I have dedicated much of my time to fundraising for The Little Roo fund through Teddy’s Legacy, so far we have raised over £100,000. I write a blog, Feathering The Empty Nest, about how I have since navigated life in the wake of loss, and how I used our home to save me in my darkest hour. I have a love of all things home, my garden (self-proclaimed sweet pea growing champion…), yoga and pugs. I spend my time with my trusty sidekick Boris (the pug) and have recently written my first book, Ask Me His Name, which is Teddy’s story and ours since he died, being published on 6th September 2018.
Has cancer ever cast a shadow over your life and nicked your smile?
“I honestly think you would struggle to find someone who’s answer to that question is no”
Yes, I honestly think you would struggle to find someone who’s answer to that question is no; and if it is then they are very lucky indeed. Both my Grandma and my husband’s Grandmother died of bowel cancer. My Aunty has had skin cancer twice, and when we were growing up my youngest cousin was diagnosed with Leukaemia when he was a toddler (he made a full recovery and is now in his 20’s !)
What is the biggest obstacle that gets in the way of you smiling more?
“I miss that pure unadulterated happiness that used to exist in my life.”
For me, it is always the sadness that has engulfed our lives since Teddy died. I miss that pure unadulterated happiness that used to exist in my life. Now, even on my happiest of days, Teddy is never further than a thought away from my mind, and that sadness of him not being here with us stays with me always.
What has been your Highest High and your Lowest Low?
My highest high was definitely the moment I became a mother, and the lowest was the day we had to say goodbye. I can’t quite describe the extreme emotions of either, but both have changed me forever
What helps you get out of the dark and find your smile?
“I feel that it is so important to cultivate a feeling of gratitude in your life each day“
Usually going for a long walk with Boris. I leave my phone at home and go to a quiet woodland nearby. We never usually see anyone there and it just gives me time to think and to focus on all of the things that I do have in my life. I feel that it is so important to cultivate a feeling of gratitude in your life each day, it helps me to focus on the positive.
Do you find social media to be a source of positivity or pressure?
” I find myself panicking about not being able to reply to everyone’s messages or comments“
Both! I have found it an endless source of positivity since Teddy died, and it has enabled me to connect with so many other bereaved parents and other women struggling with fertility issues. It’s also allowed me to tell Teddy’s story, through my blog and through others; for which I am eternally grateful. Since my blog and Instagram have grown it also comes with its own pressure. I find myself panicking about not being able to reply to everyone’s messages or comments, and I would hate to think anyone thought I was ignoring them or that I didn’t care. That pressure to get back to everyone constantly does mount up sometimes, and that’s when I just have to step away from my phone.
Who never fails to get you smiling and why?
Boris. More than he will ever understand! Even the night we came home from the hospital without Teddy he made me laugh and smile, at my very lowest ebb. He has been a constant reason to smile ever since.
What made you smile today?
Finding out that my book will be coming out as an audiobook, narrated by me! Something that I was hoping would happen and today’s news came out of the blue.
A movie that gets you cheesing?
“Big Hugh Grant fan over here!”
Several in fact…… Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually (Are you seeing a trend here? Big Hugh Grant fan over here!!)
A song that cheers you up?
The first is “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train. It was the song that my husband and I walked out of the church to on our wedding day and it never fails to make me think of that moment of pure happiness.
And, always “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon. I defy anyone who can listen to that and not feel happy?!
Find out more about the wonderful Elle and her new book