We had mixed feelings about going on a holiday. One part of us wanted to do what we had been telling others to do and live our lives fully and not have any regrets. Another part didn’t want to get out of bed so making it to Lapland seemed impossible.
We had always said we would take Tadhg and Elva there when they were a bit older as it seemed so magical and was one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ places. I guess what pushed us into doing it was that we didn’t want to regret not.
When you’ve lost a child, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to consider it happening to your other child – as awful as that may seem. We no longer have the privilege of being one of those ‘well it wouldn’t happen to us’ couples. It did happen to us and we know we have no control over whether it happens again. So we do live life as fully as we can – not necessarily jetting off all the time but putting family first and spending precious time together.
Lapland was good for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s the most magical place and the home of Santa so it’s hard not to be swept away with it all. Tadhg was just amazed by everything from the second we stepped off the plane and I’ll never forget his face when he realised snow was cold! He had never seen real snow in his life and I wasn’t sure what he was expecting but he was certainly surprised!
It felt good to be so far away. No-one was going to knock on our door or try and make plans and we spent 4 days just being a family and having some peace – we really needed that break. We were in another world and although we couldn’t forget what had happened, it somehow felt more manageable since we were far away.
It was also good to be around total strangers. I find it so hard going out sometimes as I am so worried about running into someone I know; someone who knows. Will they pretend they haven’t seen me and turn the other way? Will they throw their arms around me and start me off in a big crying fit in the middle of the supermarket? Will they pass the time of day and not even mention Elva which then feels really strange? All of these things have happened. It was nice to be around people who just saw a normal family and we could pretend we were a normal family.
We made some great memories for Tadhg and I am glad we did it. We had the moment with the Northern Lights and we kept Elva in our hearts the whole time, as always. Sometimes I pretended she was just too young to come with us and was really at home being looked after by her Nannie. I can’t help but do that sometimes because it’s what I wish was true but I know that’s just part of the denial I have to fight daily.
I guess going away made me feel lucky in some way. It seems strange to say I’m luck yin any way but if this had happened to Elva and I didn’t have Kieran and Tadhg, or we had other worries in our life, it would make everything 10 times harder. I’m not lucky this happened but I imagine it must be so much more difficult if this happens and your other circumstances are more difficult too.