Bowled over . . . .

February 10, 2018

If I am being totally honest, when I wrote the blog on my struggles with depression and anxiety that I published yesterday I thought little more than this is something I just need to get off my chest. I thought a lot about what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it because I was very aware of how it could be misinterpreted and misunderstood. Unlike my blog last week that just came out of nowhere and flowed from my fingertips and my heart, this was something different. This is a complex and very sensitive area. This is a subject that all too often suffers the hurt of misunderstanding. This was an area of my life that I had to really think and pray about before sharing it.

I’d love to be a mainly positive person, and in many ways I am, but when it comes to my own self esteem, I’m not. As I finished it on Thursday I showed it to my closest friends to gauge their thoughts. The feeling was this was something that could impact a lot of people. I didn’t think anything of the sort. Although it was something I wanted to write about and thought one or two people might get something from, I didn’t expect much in terms of a response. I don’t write for a response, I write because I find it just helps me to process what I’m thinking. I’ve done it since the early days after Gemma died. As my racing mind consistently woke me up in the early hours, I would go downstairs, light the fire in the lounge, and just write. Write anything that came into my head, and I’ve not stopped. Every memory and thought that I’ve had since she went I’ve written down, and as I’ve done that I’ve discovered new things about myself.

I’ve discovered I’m not quite as shallow as I thought. I’ve discovered that I loved Gemma more than I ever realised and I’ve discovered that I’m able to articulate my emotions and feelings into words in a way I never knew. Since my degree I’ve never really had to write; but suddenly I find myself writing and expressing myself a lot. It’s cathartic. It helps release some of the pain that at times consumes me. It helps form some shape to the confusion.

I’m only writing to say this. I am bowled over by the response to what I wrote. I am touched and I am hugely grateful.

In some ways I am surprised, in other ways I am not. Not because I said anything particularly succinct but because the issues that have affected me, affect more people than we have ever dared to imagine. I have barely been able to read a fraction of the messages I’ve had, but those I have, have painted a complex picture of a mental health problem that respects nobody and no status. From Barristers to barman, counsellors to carpenters and policeman to politicians I have had messages from so many different people all narrating a similar story – the battle of living with depression, the daily fear of living with anxiety. I have read stories that filled me with hope and I have read stories that have filled me with real concern So many people are struggling with this, but too many are afraid to pull their mental baggage into the glare of every day life.

I have gone away for the week to a place I love on the North Norfolk coast – Blakeney. It’s a place of natural beauty, a place to get away from the pace of life, a place that we have enjoyed and loved going to as a family for the past few years. As we left here a year ago at the end of this half term we booked again. A week or so after Gemma died I wanted to cancel. I couldn’t bear the thought of going away to the place we loved so much without her. I’m glad I didn’t cancel. For the next few days I just need to have time to myself, time with family and friends and time to walk and drink in the Norfolk air and capture its beauty, and most importantly time to spend time with my boy.

I guess what I’m saying is that I really want to be able to respond to all of the moving messages I’ve received, but for now I need time to just continue to grieve.

If you’ve shared something deep and difficult to admit to others I’m not ignoring you or your pain. I will in time do my very best to at least acknowledge you and say thank you for what you have said, but for now it’s time for some Ethan and Daddy time.

God Bless



February 21, 2018

  1. Audrey Leeves

    February 10, 2018

    Ah Simon and Ethan,

    I hope you both have a lovely relaxing little break together i hope you get the chance to smile and have fun because you both so deserve it and if your ever in hamburg for the next school break please come see us at the Irish pub in Hamburg we would love to have you both for lunch or dinner.


  2. Jessica Pearce

    February 10, 2018

    Have a brilliant time with everyone, thank you for writing your thoughts and feelings. I think you are helping absolutely everyone. Hope the weather isn’t too bad!

  3. katejurkschat

    February 11, 2018

    Matthew 11:28-30 New International Version (NIV)

    28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’’

  4. kerry thompson

    February 11, 2018

    Total admiration, it’s so easy to live in silence and yet so hard to sometimes share what the day to day struggles are, like you I’m a pretty positive person, but some days it’s harder to ignore, keep write I know having my blog has helped me, have a great school holidays north Norfolk is definitely a place of beautiful if you get chance go visit wells next the sea.
    Kerry x

    • agriefshared

      February 12, 2018

      Kerry thank you so much x

  5. Ruth, Austin, Texas

    February 11, 2018

    God bless you, Simon. I too have struggled with anxiety and depression, and am traveling the road of grief. Thank you for sharing your deepest pain and sadness. Know that someone far away prays for you and Ethan. We all pray for each other. And, we hold on to that rock that is God.

    • agriefshared

      February 12, 2018

      Thank you Ruth so much x

  6. Donna

    February 11, 2018

    Simon & Ethan
    Have the best time. No two people deserve it more. xx

    • agriefshared

      February 12, 2018

      Thank you Donna x

  7. itsnotmeitsthedog

    February 12, 2018

    Thank you so much for your words Simon – straight from the heart and soul.
    Norfolk and Blakeney in particular are beautiful. The beaches are stunning no matter what the weather! A couple of years ago I walked hand I hand on a very brisk New Years Day with my then fiancé feeling like the luckiest and happiest woman alive! We started planning our wedding when we got home and booked the venue and registrar.
    Unfortunately a couple of months later I found out some awful news… that he has been having an affair for three years. The shock and the grief I felt was insurmountable. I had absolutely no idea …. and the anxiety since then has been awful. There are many different forms of grief and we all have our ways of going through that process. Time is a good healer and patience is a virtue. Be kind to yourself and cheris your precious moments with little Ethan.

    There is light in the darkness x

  8. My scented diary

    February 20, 2018


  9. nawkblog

    February 20, 2018

    I wish you well and luck, this is a hard time but you are surviving and you are prioritizing. Thank you for sharing, and I’m sorry life is throwing all of this at you. I am glad you have your son, though, and I wish you the best of times with him~

  10. Kate

    February 27, 2018

    Keep writing, cry when you need, it’s all cathartic. Grief is all consuming, but know that Gemma would be proud of the way you are looking after Ethan and the fundraising you are doing. Just always be yourself and always cherish the memories.xx

  11. adreamliver

    February 27, 2018

    It really requires strength to share the story of your family and your posts are so profound. Keep faith, Simon. God is always on control.🙏🏾.

  12. Louis

    February 28, 2018

    Hi Simon,

    I saw the video of your interview on the BBC this morning and have been reading through your blog. I am so sorry to hear about your wife, and can only begin to imagine how difficult it must have been having to break the news to your young son.

    I am 27 and recently lost my mother to pancreatic cancer shortly after her 60 birthday. The whole process, from her going to the doctor with what she thought was a routine stomach ache, to her passing away, took a little over 3 weeks. I am trying to carry on with my life as normally as possible, but the shock, three months on, has still not fully sunk in. I miss her so much and a small part of me wakes up each day thinking that it cannot be real, that I can just pop over to get house and see her face or pick up the phone and hear her laugh again. I am lucky that I have a strong support network and know that my family, friends and girlfriend are there for me when I need them. I know that I feel so much better by not internalising my feelings and pretending to be strong even when I am not.

    Everyone reacts to grief in their own way, and you are absolutely doing the right thing by verbalising your suffering. Feeling sad or vulnerable in this difficult time is not a weakness, it is what makes us human, and I hope that expressing yourself in this way has been a release and enabled you to start the slow and challenging process of moving on with your life. It sounds like you are a devoted father and that your son is incredibly lucky to have you there; the whole situation must be absolutely incomprehensible for a boy of his age. You honour your wife with the way you handle yourself and it takes incredible courage to speak up in public the way you have.

    I wish you and Ethan all the best.


    • Kathy

      February 28, 2018

      Louis, I’m so sorry for your loss, losing your mum is such a blow because she is irreplaceable. I echo your comment to Simon, he has been an absolute inspiration during this terrible time for him and Ethan. The courage to speak is a wonderful gift and Simon is using it for great good.
      Much love to you both
      Kathy x


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