Returning to Bristol

Returning to Bristol


Download Sheep Spotter App ~ done

Flight checkin online ~ done

Hotel checkin online ~ done

Passports in handbag ~ done

Packing ~ half done

Tomorrow my two daughters and I are flying to Bristol to do the Shaun The Sheep Trail in memory of Leah.

When Leah was in Bristol having her bone marrow transplant in 2013 there were eighty 6 foot high Gromit sculptures dotted around the town.

Leah managed a sneaky trip off the ward to see a small number of them before they were all gathered up and auctioned off in aid of Bristol Children’s Hospital.

L-R Miriam, Rachel, myself and Leah

Before we left Bristol they had announced that they would be doing it all again in 2015, but this time using Shaun the Sheep sculptures.

Leah and I talked about it and agreed that we would just have to return for this event. She looked forward to coming back as a tourist rather than as a patient.

Much of Leah’s time in Bristol was spent in isolation, feeling very unwell. My outgoing, fun loving daughter found this very hard going.

We even discussed with her sisters about this plan to return in 2015 and see Shaun the Sheep. They were definitely up for it too.


So, after Leah died, we talked about it and decided to go ahead with the plans, as part of our way of remembering her.

Now that it’s here I’m both excited and terrified.

Excited at the prospect of returning to the City where Leah and I spent 14 weeks and laid down some very precious memories. Leah wasn’t acutely ill all of that time, often times we traced the rainbows through the rain.

Terrified that it will all be too much for me emotionally.

Excited at the prospect of having a holiday with my two lovely daughters in a City that I absolutely fell in love with, despite the tragic reason that took me there in the first place.

At times in recent weeks I have asked myself “Vicky, why are you doing this? Why are you returning to Bristol?”

I have known since Leah died that I would return there for a visit, but I can’t quite explain why. It just feels right. Bristol was such an important part of our journey.

When I was with my counsellor a few days ago I asked her “Why am I doing this?” she’s very good, she always helps me, she replied “You know that you’re doing the right thing, but some things only make sense when you’ve done them and can look back at them.” I thought that was quite a good answer.

As with some other things that I’ve done since Leah died, which have been emotionally very difficult, I feel like we are honouring Leah’s memory and continuing her legacy within our family.

Sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling, trust the process and hope and pray that everything works out.

I came across this F-E-A-R acronym recently and I like it:


Our New Normal

Our New Normal

Miriam has been “croaky” all week & was up last night at 3am with a sore throat and a temperature of 40.6C. Today she just lay in bed – very unusual for her – and complained of soreness when breathing. Even after Nurofen her temperature was 39.1C.
Have any of my kids been as sick as this before? YES!
Did I ring the doctor? NO!
Today I rang the GP, got an appointment, took Miriam to be examined and got antibiotics. In the past I resisted having my kids being put on antibiotics in these circumstances and preferred to adopt a “wait and see” approach.
I used to rear my kids on the principle “They’ll be fine – give them a spoon of Calpol and send them on.” Sadly I can’t do that anymore – bad things do happen to people like me.
In my grief, not only am I having to learn to live with the loss of Leah but there’s also the realisation of how that loss impacts on our lives in so many different ways. There’s a new normal that is gradually unfolding in our lives as we explore what it means to live in the shadow of Leah’s illness and death. I continue to trust God and believe in His Sovereignty and loving kindness, but the lens through which I view life has altered – nothing can ever again be the same.

A friend sent me this beautiful song today.

“There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He’ll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus”