The Snow Angel

The Snow Angel

Some people say to me regarding grief “Oh the firsts are the worst.” The first of everything without Leah; birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, etc.

However, when I speak to other bereaved parents, they tell me that it’s not as simple as that. As the firsts become seconds and the seconds become thirds, the time since you last saw and held your child becomes greater and greater. As a parent that really hurts. I don’t want to feel more separated from my child than I already do.

As the month of December rapidly approaches, I’m very aware that last December was Leah’s last month at home. This December is the last month in which in which I can think/say “This time last year Leah was doing such and such.” This feels like further loss.

Friday 27th December 2013 Leah was admitted to hospital. Saturday 28th December was the last time that she was well enough to converse verbally. From then on Leah communicated mainly by typing on her iPad. Saturday 28th December was also the day on which the doctor told me that our daughter was possibly going to die.

These photos of Leah in the snow, taken a couple of years ago, sum it up for me really.


One minute Leah was such a vibrant part of our lives – on Thursday night 26th December ’13 Leah cooked a cheese omelette for her and her younger sister. Then the two of them went down to Leah’s bedroom and played together on Leah’s new WiiU. Their laughter echoed through the house as they enjoyed this time together.


Then in next to no time Leah was gone.

What we are left with is the deep imprint of her life upon our hearts.

Somewhere Only We Know

Somewhere Only We Know

Leah got a Nintendo WiiU for Christmas ’13.

She really enjoyed playing it for the two days that she had it before she was admitted to hospital.

When she died, we just packed it all away.

Yesterday we set it up again for the first time since then.

When it was switched on, Leah’s avatar was still there – her Mii.

She had created it bald just like she was.


This image triggered two trains of thought in me.

Firstly, that Leah was comfortable with her appearance, because she had learned that beauty is what’s on the inside.

One of her favourite Bible verses was 1 Peter 3:3

I Peter 3v3

Secondly it reminded me of Leah’s sense of humour.

Throughout her illness Leah and I shared lots of funny moments.

I think that’s partly why the song Somewhere Only We Know appeals so much to me now.

That “somewhere only we know” represents the many giggles and laughs and “private jokes” that Leah and I shared during her illness journey.

There was the day that the member of the hospital chaplaincy team mistook the hand soap for alcohol gel and tried very vigorously to rub it into her hands, while Leah and I tried very hard not to notice. Then we had such a giggle about it afterwards.

There was the Mediterranean doctor we secretly named Pingu because she flapped her hands so much while talking. When stuck for the right word in English, she used ‘hand signals‘ to fill in the gaps. We used to try and imagine what would happen if she was ever sent to work in “air traffic control“!

Or the time the night nurse came into our room very flustered to say that she had mislaid the thermometer she was using and remembered having it in our room. We found it hours later in our bin, where the nurse had obviously put in it an absent minded moment!

Leah and I shared a similar sense of humour.

Most days we found something to make us smile or laugh.

Reminiscing over humorous incidents together helped us while away the hours during our inpatient and outpatient hospital visits.

Some days I feel so sad for what we’ve lost, then other days I feel very thankful for having had Leah in our lives for 16 years – my feelings fluctuate.