Getting over the hump

As time goes by life becomes just that little bit easier. Without Rosie I must find my own course through challenges and obstacles, through life. What I do with and for my children is now entirely my decision. It’s up to me to interpret what I feel is best for Natalie and Joseph based on Rosie’s letter to her closest friends, our past discussions and my intuition. The same goes for the rest of my life; what I do, how I find happiness.

My life has in some ways become something that I never anticipated, never contemplated, never imagined. But despite the obvious upheavals I am beginning to rediscover my self-confidence. Actually, if the truth be told it’s not so much a rediscovery but a personal awakening. Before I met Rosie it is fair to say that I wasn’t the most confident of people. Over our years together she instilled in me a sense of self-worth, and confidence. It is with that confidence that I am starting to rebuild who I am. Yes I still doubt myself. Yes I still question my value compared to others. But I know, for the sake of my children and more importantly myself that I can and will become a stronger person, with greater self belief; much as I was when Rosie was by my side.

This morning I’ve been watching an amazing online masterclass given by Aaron Sorkin on the craft of screenwriting. For those of you who don’t know Sorkin, he is the brilliant writer behind numerous films, plays and TV series. But the one which will always be the one for me is ‘The West Wing’. Rosie and I watched all seven series over and over again. At times I could recite whole tracts of script or précis any episode, recalling the name and the episode number in question. Sad? Yes I know, but everyone has to have something that gets them going!!

As I have written before, in her final letters to me Rosie gave numerous instructions. Most were big, some were life-affirming and some were difficult to carry out. In amongst those letters was one innocuous direction, “make sure you watch West Wing with the children”. On the face of it that seems like an odd thing to add to one’s final letters. But I know Rosie and know what she meant by that. Firstly, she knew that no matter how old the series would appear to our delightful little children there were still lessons to be learned. Friendship is priceless; be honourable; stand by your principles; stand your ground; don’t be swayed if you know you’re right; always do the right thing, no matter how hard it might be. But second, she knew how much we enjoyed watching it together, and that by watching it with the children I would remember her fondly. And she was right.

The problem is that since she died I really couldn’t ever see myself watching the programme again without her. Until today. In that masterclass Sorkin references some of the classic scenes, which are then shown. Having watched those clips I now realise that I am ready to see The West Wing again. And with that realisation I also recognise a number of other aspects of life that I am ready to begin re-engaging with. Life really is for living. No it’s not straightforward, and it certainly isn’t like an episode of The West Wing with a neat and tidy ending. But the life I’m living is the one I choose to live, in the best way I know. I have no idea what the outcomes will be but I will certainly never regret trying. What’s next?*



*a little nod to Jed Batlet


Moving on

It’s been a while since I wrote anything here. If the truth be told I’ve been shattered, mentally, and have done all I can to keep the train on the tracks. Establishing the charity has been an entirely all-consuming task. As a group we have expended masses of positive energy in making Secondary1st a reality. Getting to the launch required a massive burst of energy but it was absolutely worth it. We now have groups of people doing their own thing to raise money: cake bakes, marathons, cycle rides, reflexology sessions, auctions of all sorts. If you have a fundraising idea then please get in touch at

But now that the charity is up and running it’s time to turn my attention back to myself, for a brief period. It’s not something I’m very good at doing. I’ve been criticised recently for neglecting myself, it’s just that I can’t help it. In years gone by Rosie used to think and care about me so that I didn’t have to. “Elliot, I think it’s time to get some new clothes” or “Elliot, do you fancy going away to x this year”, she would say. Over the past year my focus has been on caring for the children, and of course that will never change. The way that they continue to grow and blossom, despite the loss of the most important figure in their lives, is awe-inspiring. They both ooze their mum’s personality. They make me so very proud.

With the benefit of time I am now starting to reassess what my life without Rosie means. Not the practical implications, those have been apparent since before she died. I’m talking about the things that nourish the heart and soul. Rosie will never leave my side. Never. But I am a social animal and am not good alone. So as time goes by I need to work out what I want from life. I met someone recently who had been divorced. She made a fairly obvious, yet thought-provoking statement. “None of us knows how life will play out”. Planning works to a point, but you never know what life has in store.

Rosie and I were the arch planners – we planned our holidays, our meals, our lives. I will never cease to plan for the children (when you have as many friends and admirers as they do it’s impossible not to). But for me I’m trying out a new approach; go with the flow. Life is for living and so I’m going to live it, to the fullest, if I possibly can. Let’s see how that goes!