I have come as close as you possibly can to losing my two disabled children. I have watched them repeatedly stop breathing, turn lifeless and blue. I have watched intensive care doctors bring them back to life. And I have been trained by these doctors and resuscitated my own son several times a day for months.

I dwelt on that bridge between life and death for so long that I developed a way of shutting off all emotional response in order to ensure not only my son’s survival, but my own.

I have been incredibly blessed that each time the gateway opened, their souls came back to me and are still with me.

But some parents are not so fortunate. Some have to endure “the unimaginable loss”.

When one of my closest friends and godmother to my son told me in 2015 that her daughter Isabelle had been diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer, I was devastated.

I had known Isabelle since she was 1 years old as she was the same age as my daughter Sophia and all our children had grown up together in the same village, spending several idyllic summers at our holiday house on the coast.

At that time, none of us could ever have imagined that we would lose one of our children.

9 months after she was diagnosed, Isabelle died aged 17. It was and is still completely heart-breaking.

In the aftermath of her loss, her mother and my beloved friend Fiona, wrote the most moving and powerful book which has just been published called “The Unimaginable Loss”.

This candid guide to surviving in a society that still finds it difficult to discuss and deal with grief is essential reading for both the bereaved and everyone around them. Written in the days, months and years after her daughter died, the author talks first-hand about surviving the early days of despair and coping with a world that wouldn’t stop turning even when she wanted it to.

Whether you have been bereaved, or want to understand and support a bereaved person, this self-help book suggests ways in which you can survive, or help others survive, the worst experience a person can endure.

The author suggests how the bereaved can, and should, give themselves permission to grieve

A child carries their parent’s emotions, fears, joys and hopes for the future. Once a child is gone, that part of the parent is gone forever.

The author explains with honesty and frankness how she faced that loss – the most unimaginable of losses.

I am so beyond proud of Fiona, her husband Mark and her daughter Cara. As a family they continue to walk the path of unimaginable loss together with such grace and courage.

In loving memory of Isabelle, I highly recommend that you buy this book for yourself or for anyone you know who might be struggling with grief. Her light shines on through every page that her devoted mother wrote.

Blessed be Belle ??♥️??
Annabel Du Boulay

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