‘I wanted to cause him pain so he could get a glimpse of what I felt’

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Illustration: Mayanglambam Dinesh
Illustration: Mayanglambam Dinesh

6 October 2007, 11:20pm. A knock at the door; a police officer calling at my home. I invited him in and moments later, I heard that my daughter Abigail had died in a car accident. My world, as I knew it, ended.

Numb inside, my body slowly shutting down, it was as if I died at that moment too. Life just didn’t seem worth living. Nothing mattered any more, I felt I couldn’t function, I didn’t know how to live without her. Abigail and my younger daughter Hannah were my world, nothing was more important than my two children.

I was angry with the driver. I wanted to torture him. I wanted to cause him pain so he could get a glimpse of what I felt inside. But this wasn’t me, I wasn’t myself.

I barely functioned from one day to another, my feelings and emotions taking me to the depths of despair, where I no longer wanted to live. My irrational mind telling me that Hannah would be okay, she had my husband: her father. The pain inside felt as though my body was being crushed, my heart had been ripped out.

Months passed in the new world that I lived in, the agony of grief. But I’m a fighter. I was no good to anyone or myself, I was on a road to destruction but I had a choice. I could get busy dying or I could get busy living. I decided to live.

I found help, counselling so that I could talk through my pain and emotions. I discovered healing and spent over an hour each week healing my pain from within. My deep dark thoughts hadn’t left me, but the road became clearer.

Two years later, I moved from the UK to Cyprus with my family. I began to write. I’m not really a writer, I’m a grieving mum who shared my pain and emotions through writing. My searing account of what it feels like to live without one of my children. Gradually with each chapter I began to release more of my grief. Someone in this world must feel as I do and doesn’t know that the pain they feel is normal, that it’s okay to grieve. And so, this became my drive and passion. Through writing I discovered something even more powerful, the release of my pain, anger and suffering slowly led me towards forgiveness. I returned to the UK and met the driver responsible. I listened to him tell me what happened that night; I heard his remorse, his sincerity. He never meant for this to happen, it was a terrible mistake that cost my daughter her life. As I left him, I held him in my arms like a mother would hold her son. I had found forgiveness.

6 October 2012: Abigail’s Rainbow was published and the response has been phenomenal. Many people who are suffering have found comfort and understanding through reading my story. I’m not here to pull you out, but you can hold my hand and know you’re not alone.

I left my husband a few years ago, our paths in life changed after Abigail died. A new relationship began. It wasn’t pleasant, maybe I was punishing myself for what happened to Abigail. But, at last, that period of my life is now over.

I was invited to India to share my story, to help others through their bereavement by holding workshops and speaking at events across India. What I didn’t realise when I first stepped onto the plane in the UK was that I have come to India not only to help heal others but to heal myself again. I have been on a journey of discovery. I’ve learnt to love myself. I discovered food like never before and now I travel to Rishikesh for yoga teacher training where I’ll deepen my meditation and clear my mind, revive my passion for yoga and learn to be whole again as me once more. I feel I am on my journey home to India and for this I am so grateful. Thank you India for allowing me to find me, my love and my passion once more.

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