My whole life changed on the afternoon of 5th May 2013. My family and I were involved in a speed boat accident in Padstow, Cornwall. My beloved husband Nicko and beautiful daughter Emily were killed, I also lost my left leg below the knee and my three surviving children suffered injuries.
To be given any one of these losses to deal with would have been hard enough but to cope with that level of loss seemed too much for anyone to bear. At the beginning I thought I just had to get through the next minute, hour, day and then I could collapse. I couldn’t believe that time was carrying on without them, how could the clock still be ticking when my whole life had ended? I slowly realized that time doesn’t stop, incredible as it is, and we have to keep going, we just need to find the strength to do it. Call it the human survival instinct or the equally powerful maternal instinct, I have survived and I am still coping.
One of the hardest things for me was having to redefine who I am. I am still the same Victoria I was before the accident, my character hasn’t changed but I am no longer a happily married mother of 4. Now I tick boxes, which I could never have dreamed of - widow, trauma victim, amputee, bereaved mother, disabled person. My everyday worries have gone from what to cook the kids for dinner, are they going to be late for their swimming lesson etc to will Kit keep his leg, how will they grow up without a father, the challenges of learning to walk on a prosthetic leg. These are real worries that put everything else into perspective. I never used to appreciate what I had, I was always in too much of a rush. Now I would give anything to hug Nicko one more time or to read Emily another bedtime story and kiss her goodnight.
I have learnt how to appreciate life in a new way and to live in the moment so much more than I did. I try to enjoy everything I do as I know I am lucky to be alive, life is a gift and I am living it.
Now I know that fortunately not many people will have to cope with the level of loss that I have but I want to share with you how I have survived, without turning to sleeping pills, anti depressants or any other short term pain relievers. I have faced the pain head on and although it is not easy to do, I know that dealing with the emotions will give me the best chance of moving forwards and having a future.
Once we have made the decision we are going to survive, how do we do it? For me it is the combination of the incredible support of family and friends, counselling from Child Bereavement UK but also focusing on nourishing and nurturing myself through good nutrition and exercise, see more in the Eat Well and Move Well sections. Our friends and family become an invaluable part of our support network, but often they find it difficult to know what to do. I have outlined what helped me through the short and longer term in my Grieve Well section.
Thank you for reading,