Memories of our last holiday together

As friends and family head off on half term holidays, I’m glad to have a relaxing week ahead with my children. But I feel a slight pang of envy, as I know we are in need of a proper holiday, but with the new baby I’d not had the strength to plan one.

Who needs strength to plan a holiday? It’s the highlight of the year right?

I’m sure every grieving parent struggles with making holiday plans. Holidays are the epitome of making happy memories… and we feel lost. We can’t shrug off our grief like most forget the stress of work. Our grief comes with us… in bucketfuls!

But, with my recent epiphany moment, I’ve come to a stage where I feel I might be ready to take our children to a beach. The thought was unbearable last year.

Yet it has its conditions; it has to be somewhere new and not too far from home, in case we can’t handle it.

There are hundreds of beautiful places to visit I know but, like many families (and living in Gloucestershire), we’d already found our favourite places. Places we can immediately relax. We love Devon and Cornwall particularly. My husband was taken to either Newquay or Isle of Wight every year when he was young. They became a home from home for him. And we’ve been back too a number of times on large extended family holidays.

But not now. Not ever again.

It is hard to accept that those familiar places are out of bounds to us now. The 40 years of happy holidays won’t continue, not for us anyway. We can’t go where we’re reminded that Abi isn’t here. Holidays should be fun and spontaneous but we now need to control the factors in order to help us relax and therefore give our children the chance to enjoy themselves without Mum and Dad being on edge.


This photo was taken on our last proper holiday before Abi died.

It was August 2012. The Needles, Isle of Wight. I expect the last time we’ll ever go there.

We had a wonderful week together. We have many keepsakes from that trip.

I only found this picture last weekend while I was downloading the photos on my husband’s phone. My other arm is cuddling my other daughter (who I don’t show pictures of on my blog). A photo of his girls.

I’d forgotten that he would have photos of me and Abi on his phone; each photo now is a lifetime of memories so we obsessively save them at least twice on computers and memory sticks.

When I saw it, my heart leapt and then my stomach lurched. I was thrown into a flashback of that very moment. What a special photo, a happy memory, but yet how painful to know I can’t hold her or enjoy her company again.

So, I suppose I should start thinking about a holiday. Something easy, quiet yet not isolated, and scenic. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

15 thoughts on “Memories of our last holiday together

  1. I can totally understand why you don’t want to go back. I can only imagine what you go tghrough, but I think you’re right to shut that particular door. Better to form new, happy memories than to bring back memories of good time that now make you sad. Hope you find somewhere good!

  2. beautiful photo,,priceless memories..i too lost my sorry to share this with you..hugs and prayers for you on this journey..

    • So so sorry Daphne. It’s just so wrong for a mother to lose a child. We can only pray for them and remember them. Do you have the same battles with your emotions? It’s a life like nothing ever before now. X

  3. Beautiful photo. Not being able to go on holiday to your favourite places is yet another thing you wouldn’t even consider if you weren’t in your position. It’s good to read that you are ready for a holiday, but I’m afraid I’ve got no advice on where – we only ever go to Padstow! X

  4. I can totally understand why you can’t face returning to Devon and Cornwall at the moment but do think at some stage you and your husband need to cross that hurdle without your children so that one day you can all return. The very things that can seem the most difficult to face can be the ones that bring most comfort; after all the memories are there regardless. My parents turned their backs on many of our family customs and favourite places and as a result my world became smaller and I lost many of the things which gave me comfort at a time when I needed them most.

    Holiday wise, I’d recommend Amsterdam as a totally different type of holiday for your first trip away- compact, easy to get around, lots for children eg the maritime museum, science museum, brilliant zoo, clog making, cheese factories etc. you can do loads in just a few days so not too long away from the comfort blanket of home.

    • Thank you. You’ve made some really good points We certainly aren’t the type of people to avoid everything that reminds us of Abi, more the opposite. But it’s still very early days so for now and perhaps a few years we need to spread our wings a bit. It’s tricky as my daughter dislikes us talking about Abi at all and my son is more open, so we want to make some memories that are just for them too not all about Abi all the time and then go back when they are ready to remember the good times. We don’t plan on moving so we do need to brave it as there’s lots so close. And I agree that it’s often more comforting than upsetting, just not yet. Oh and Amsterdam sounds a good option too! Thank you can’t tell you how much your comments have meant xxx

  5. Hi Kelly,
    I’m in a similar dilemma as you, although I know it’s not the same, but my entire family have gone camping to the new forest every year,,and now my lovely sister is gone, her children still want to camp, but none of us are sure we can face the forest , as the hole she leaves feels too huge and it’s somewhere she is “meant ” to be with us, it’s a very hard thing to decide about half of me thinks we should go , to feel close to her and hold onto the memories , and the other half feels like running away to somewhere else, and trying to pretend it’s ok to be somewhere else without her xx got tears running down my face as I type this, I totally understand how you feel xx

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