How did I do it?

A year ago I woke up and gathered every last shred of strength I could muster to get out of bed.  I did my hair and makeup and put on a bright cerise dress, pinning a large pink daisy corsage to the front.

I was going to have to do it all over again, a year after I had delivered a eulogy at my husband's funeral, I was preparing to speak at my daughter's funeral. 

steph wearing a pink dress releasing a dove into the sky
I released a dove at Daisy's funeral

My poor children were once again going through a public mourning. I look back on the footage of Prince William and Prince Harry walking behind their mother's coffin and I can feel their pain.  My children did that twice, in the space of a year they faced the funeral of their father and then their sister.

How did we do it?  How did we get up and get through that day?

I guess it's like any point in my life over the past few years.  I look back at when Daisy was born.  Just before Christmas, my fourth child, my first caesarian delivery, our other children were seven, five and two.

How did we manage during that time?

All those long, long hospital stays.  The huge surgeries, the set backs, the emergency calls. The cancer diagnosis.  Bringing Andy home to die.  Switching off Daisy's life support.

I try not to dwell too much but sometimes it just seems all so unreal, as though it happened to someone else.  When I do allow my head to go there I can't quite believe it.  No wonder I am always so tired - grief hurts and we lived for many years in a state of anticipatory grief.

My reserves are definitely empty now.  I drew from the last of them exactly twelve months ago.

When  I started out on this journey, when Daisy was born all those years ago I didn't actually know what I was capable of.  I often say that if someone had told me what was lying in store I would have run a mile but that's the thing with resilience.   Just like training for a marathon, the more mileage you put in, the stronger you become. 

"How do you do it?" people ask, my answer is always the same "by putting one foot in front of the other, getting through the moment, you can't plan for it, you just do it".

 It's only on reflection you can look back and say, how the hell did I get through that time?

Today is the last of the milestones for a while now.  Since November it's been relentless, birthdays, Christmas, new year, anniversaries..... taking me back to that time, drawing on my reserves to get through, living on adrenaline.

Spring is in the air.  Snowdrops are blooming, even a few hardy daffodils.  New beginnings maybe? 

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