The Mother Daughter Day Out

The Mother Daughter Day Out

Before I joined the ranks of the bereaved parents, I think I naively imagined that when a parent lost a child, they would somehow fairly quickly turn all of their attention to their surviving children.

What I didn’t understand is that when your child dies, you become so consumed with yearning and longing for the child that you have lost, that it’s almost like you now love them even more than when they were alive.

You become desperate to hang on to your relationship with your now dead child, desperate to somehow or other preserve their memory.

I’m part of a private facebook group of parents bereaved by cancer. Some time back we were discussing our feelings on clearing out things belonging to our child after they had died. As one would expect, opinion was divided between those who (like me) had cleared out and given away some of their belongings and others who felt the need to keep everything exactly as it was when their child had passed away.

Then I mentioned the fact that I have kept all of Leah’s medication and dressings. Several parents responded to this by saying that they had to get rid of their child’s medication soon after their child passed away, or they would have used it to take their own life.

These parents have other children, but their emotional pain and overwhelming desire to be with their dead child was so great that suicide had become a realistic option.

Thankfully I haven’t felt suicidal since Leah died, but I do understand to some extent how these parents feel. It is so difficult to go on living after the death of one’s child.

One of the things that’s been very difficult since Leah died, has been for Miriam (our youngest child) and I to do things on our own together. When Leah was alive, it was never just Miriam and me. I almost always had a minimum of two kids in tow.


When Leah died, Miriam became like an only child. She hasn’t wanted to do things on her own with her parents and she has spent an awful lot of time alone in her room.

None of us ever wants to see our children suffer. Seeing the pain of grief and loss in the eyes of my “baby”, knowing that this is a pain I cannot fix, has at times felt excruciatingly painful.

The main reason why Miriam and I couldn’t go places on our own together, is that to do so would have been to constantly remind ourselves of Leah’s absence and that just felt too painful.

I was used doing things on my own with my eldest daughter, so that hasn’t been an issue. In 2012 she and I went on holidays together – she took me to London/Cambridge for 10 days as a special birthday treat.

The Embankment in London – I love these living statues. Wish I had ditched the plastic bag before the photo though!
We went bird watching with my brother in Cambridge

Rachel is away at University now and has a part-time job as well. We love when she gets home for the weekend. My son is like someone who is surgically attached to his computer – he suffers separation anxiety if he has to leave it for any length of time.

Thankfully, during 2014, there were several occasions when friends accompanied Miriam and I to places like Portrush and Portstewart, so that we still got to do fun things together, just not on our own.

There were times when I asked her to go places on her own with me but she refused – she wasn’t ready.

Then, last week something happened, Miriam asked me if I would take her over town yesterday. We planned a girlie day together. I let her set the agenda.

On the way to town in the car Miriam said that she wanted to weed Leah’s grave and I replied that we had no gardening tools with us. She suggested that we got some in the Pound Shop.

In the gardening section of B&M Bargains Miriam found a planter in the shape of a shoe: “Oh Mummy, can we get this for the grave? Leah loved her pink converse!”


Miriam also chose some pretty windmills to add colour to the grave.

Then it was time for some clothes shopping – for Miriam.


When the shopping was all done we headed over to Ballyoan Cemetary. Miriam started weeding the grave. I was dispatched with an empty milkshake bottle to get water for the plants, from the tap which is half way across the Cemetery.

I stopped to chat to people along the way, so Miriam had most of  the work done by the time I got back. We assembled the windmills and she decided where to place them.


No shopping trip is complete without the obligatory McDonald’s:


Our last stopoff was was to visit Miriam’s wee cousin.


So, exactly fourteen months from the day when Leah went to be with her Heavenly Father, Miriam and I enjoyed our first proper mother daughter day out together and it felt good.


9 thoughts on “The Mother Daughter Day Out

  1. I’m so glad that you and Miriam are finally able to enjoy your time “alone together.” It even felt good reading it. The new clothes look great! The grave is decorated beautifully, with so much love. And the ice cream looks like a sweet way to finish the day. No one can ever replace our loved ones who go before us. My son made me promise him, once, that if he died before me, I’d do my best to live a full and happy life. It made him sad – and a little angry – to think that I might not, and he wanted me to do it for HIM. I wish those parents who thought of suicide could have had that talk with their children. I think that’s just one of the ways we need to be strong for them – as we’d want them to be, if the situation were reversed.


    1. Thank you Holly for your lovely comments. I’m so thankful that my little girl now feels comfortable doing things on her own with me. Thank you for sharing about your conversation with your son, it’s good to discuss issues of ‘life and death’ – many people seem reluctant to discuss death, as if talking about it will increase the possibility of it happening, yet none of us are going to get out of here alive!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For some, I guess, they know it’s an inevitable fact but it makes them sad to think about it so they refuse to. For me, that’s like saying “Don’t think about pink elephants.” Once you can NOT think a thing, you’ve thought it already. I never developed a knack for unthinking things. I can’t imagine you’ll ever unthink Leah, any more than I could unthink my mom, who died in 2002. It’s just that, with time, the raw hole in your heart heals a little and happy memories grow to blanket and comfort the sad.

        Grief is the price we pay for loving and having been loved, and when it hurts its worst, it’s tempting to think it would be easier to live without that – but it wouldn’t. So the best thing we can do is to love and live and find joy together while we can, where we can, to create the happy memories to fill up the spaces left by the parting.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deirdre, since Leah died almost every shopping trip has left me in tears. The day I took Miriam and Simon to get their uniforms for going back to school was an emotional disaster – yesterday was my opportunity to let her know that it’s “safe” to be alone with Mum again – we can have fun in the midst of remembering.


  2. Vicky. Such a beautiful post. Leahs grave is so beautifully decorated and the pink converse was such a personal touch from Miriam. I am so happy that you were both able to enjoy a precious mummy/daughter day together. You are a very special person. Thank you for allowing me to share your journey through this wonderful, touching and inspiring blog. Big hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awh Gilly, I was thinking about you and praying for you yesterday morning. Thank you so much for your beautiful comments. I wouldn’t even have noticed the pink “coverse” on the shop shelf but yes it seems so very appropriate.
      I hope that you have a good week and feel blessed. xx


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