The day I heard that my partners body had been found, my emotions for him paused and I remained stuck in a world of guilt for many years. Guilt because I was still living, and my life was still moving forwards without him. Discovering that I was pregnant a month after his death enabled me to have a focus big enough to allow me to see some positive in my future but with it came pain and anxiety.

At the funeral of my partner, a cold day in February, I arranged with my brother that he would sit with me. I wasn’t able to have my mum by my side because the emotional connection was too close. I knew that she would need support from me which I didn’t have to give. For the walk to the church and throughout the whole ceremony I held my brothers hand. This only made possible because I had a pair of leather gloves on. Without them I couldn’t have dealt with the skin to skin contact.

And that’s how I remained for many years. I was only capable of emotional connections that didn’t require too much from me.

I remember my pregnancy days fondly. It was just me, my partner in my heart and my baby in my tummy. I blocked out all other connections to anyone. It felt to me that the people who loved me we’re lucky, they still had me here, alive. Not having my emotional connection was something they would have to deal with because as far as I was concerned for them to deal with that was nothing compared to what I was having to live with.

So much around me felt insignificant. The news, the weather, people’s birthdays or celebrations, work, none of it felt like it had any weight to it anymore. No substance. I had no interest in it. I would watch tv but only light hearted programmes, ones that I didn’t have to think about.

People would try to give me their love but I didn’t want it. I couldn’t accept it, I had no space available for it to go.

I watched friends and loved ones go through their own difficult times but felt helpless to support them. My mind was too full. It was full to the brim with thoughts on a daily basis. I was actually still able to carry on with a normal life. Still able to do what I needed to do in my daily routine but it was as if I was living my life whilst wearing a rucksack full of my past and my emotions n my back, which meant that it wasn’t possible to take on more. It was as if I had put my everything into the rucksack the day he had died and for every day following, for 12 years, I added to it. By the time I had therapy two years ago the image I described to my therapist was that the rucksack was the size of a house and I was carrying it around with me 24/7. I was exhausted.

When I look back at my life before my partner died I was good at being there for the people that I cared about. It’s an instinct that I have. I worked as a care assistant in a nursing home for 4 years in my 20’s and I loved that I could make a positive difference to people’s day. That instinct had to take a back seat when I needed to get through a life changing experience. What I was able to do though, was to keep it going for my son and luckily it felt safe for me to love him and give him the support that he needed as well as accept his love that he gave me. I guess it was because he didn’t need the me that was before the event. He accepted me as I was, there and then. He wasn’t going to judge me on how I was doing, he wasn’t going to tell me that I needed to cry. Likewise, he wasn’t going to tell me not to be silly if I showed fear of doing something. He loved me for who I was and for giving him all of me, even though there was a part of me missing, as did my now husband.

I realise that one day, when my eldest son is a grown man, he may say that he felt that there were some things that I didn’t do right or that he felt I didn’t give him but I believe that he will know I did my best given the circumstances.

As for the part that I play in the void where his father should be, that I can’t fill, no matter what I do. My husband has never tried to fill that space either, not completely. That would be impossible. I’ve always told him that I love him enough for two but all of the traits, the fun and laughter and the lessons that his father could have taught him, no one could replicate that.

I was diagnosed with PTSD two years ago and with many counselling sessions I am beginning to bring out that part of me that was locked away for so long. It’s only now that I’ve started to unload that house sized rucksack that I can begin to process it piece by piece.


Kelly was sad that her boyfriend had gone away for Christmas and New Year but they were both looking forward to the plans they had made for when he got back from his holiday. Sadly, those plans never got a chance to be lived out because he never came home. He died in the Boxing Day tsunami 2004. Kelly’s life came to a halt the moment that she got the call confirming that his body had been found. Her emotions shut down and she began to go down a path of self destruction, completely unable to process what had happened. Kelly had no idea where her life was to go next and actually she didn’t want it to move on, not without him.

But, unbeknown to her, Kelly had been left the most wonderful life saving gift….she was pregnant. Kelly had a reason to look after herself and something positive to focus on.

Her son was born in the August of 2005 and her new journey began.

Throughout the years Kelly struggled to find the strength that she longed for to enable her to use my experience to help others. Kelly didn’t understand why she couldn’t until in 2015, ten years after my loss, she was diagnosed with PTSD. With the help of the most amazing therapist she learned to process what had happened and find the old self again.

Kelly lives in Norfolk, England. She currently blogs about the symptoms of PTSD that she lived with for so long, as well as her recovery and also share her parenting experiences. I am an advocate of raising mental health awareness. You can find her on the following platforms:

Blog: Popping The Bubble,, Instagram ,Facebook: Popping The Bubble 2018 and Twitter