Louise Frayne

What I Wish I Could Tell Myself 8 Years Ago?

Imagine 8 years ago, what were you doing? What were your dreams? Who were you with? What did you love? Got that? Now what do you wish that you could tell yourself looking back now?

Picture this in December 2009 I was happily married to Andrew, we were preparing to go before an adoption panel at the end of January 2010 to become adoptive parents, knowing that an early match had been made, and although we had not yet received the details of the two sisters, we knew that by Easter of that year we would have living with us a six year old and a four year old. We were renovating a house we had bought in 2008 to become our family home, and Andrew had started his own business. Everything looked great and full of promise and we were excited.

Then within a puff of smoke the life that I loved vanished! Andrew died suddenly in December 2009 aged 41. He was a fit, healthy and vibrant man with a real zest for life; he was so looking forward to becoming a Dad and had so many plans on what activities he was going to do with his daughters. The business he was establishing was showing huge potential. He had everything to live for. I can remember that day like it was yesterday, surely I told myself these things happen to others not us, but I was wrong. The man I loved, and everything I wanted had gone.

The first few months were like a fog, I existed. I felt completely lost. After 8 months the realisation that Andrew was not coming back hit me, and I struggled with the unfairness of it all, and depression. I worked hard to come to terms with it all but knew that I still had a long way to go to learn how to manage. My self-confidence hit rock bottom, and I often questioned if I could go on. But I did, and I won’t lie it was hard work.

Yet, out of this hard work I learnt a lot about myself. I revisited what was important to me, and realised it wasn’t the material things in my life but the people around me. I found who my friends were, and who were not. I appreciated small things like beautiful sunrises, the smell of daffodils in the garden, a nice cup of coffee. I also stopped and questioned whether I was in the right job or not, and found that although I loved the work, the organisation I was working for was not a healthy environment for me. I knew I wanted to make a difference, and consciously moved to the charity sector, and although this entailed taking a significant drop in salary I felt a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I again started to feel empowered and with this my confidence grew. As my confidence grew, I started to notice and appreciate more and more of the good things and people around me. I, in turn, was able to share my experience with others and offer some reassurance that no matter how hard things can sometimes appear, things do get better in time.

So, what do I wish I could tell myself 8 years ago? Essentially, that I will have the inner strength and resilience to carry on, and with the journey I would come to appreciate what really matters namely: family, friends and health.