Don't let them tell you how to grieve - Gina Claye
In 1987 my elder daughter, Nikki, aged 19, took her own life. Just over a year later, my husband left. For a marriage to survive the death of a child is hard enough; it is less likely to survive if that death is a suicide. When he left, out of the blue, it felt like another bereavement. During the next three years I had even more adjustments to make; my son left home to go to university, I had to train to become a teacher as I now had to earn my own living, my younger daughter left home, and finally, I had to sell the house and find somewhere else to live.
Then in 2003, Robin, aged 32, my son and close friend after all we had been through, fell ill in Singapore and died suddenly a few days later, of encephalitis. We were all devastated. I had lost two of my three children and my younger daughter, Rachael, had lost both her siblings.
It was during the two years after Robin's death that I wrote these poems. I could not have written them if I had not already gone through the grief of Nikki's death. This time, although it was just as painful, I was able to observe and identify my thoughts and feelings. The poems helped me not only to come to terms with my own grief, but to create something positive out of the lives and deaths of my two children.