My name is Geves Lafosse, and I’m the mother of the little girl in the pink raincoat. When this photo was taken Juliette was nineteen months into treatment for leukaemia. We’d had some stressful and worrying times but at last, she was doing well. A few days later however Juliette contracted an overwhelming infection, and she died within a few hours.
Juliette was five. She left me behind with her dad, big sister Elodie, and little brothers Pierre and Raphi. Lots of people thought we would be prepared, but we weren’t. Juliette died at the point when we had finally felt confident she could get better.
In the awful weeks and months that followed, I did not believe I could survive Juliette’s death. She was so little and perfect. I was outraged that she had been taken from us and that I was being forced to make sense of an event that was totally senseless. But my other children needed me, so I put my grief to one side to be their mother, and to find sense in life again.
Eight years on, the devastation caught up with me. I hit a period of deep depression, and writing a blog helped to exorcise the worst of what I was feeling. Since recovering, I have finished a book about Juliette’s life and how we have survived as a family since she died. You can read the first three chapters here.
I write in this blog about our changed family life, my voluntary work teaching creative writing to prisoners and how Juliette’s loss continues to resonate through every note, beat and bar of my life. Juliette’s big sister Elodie is 21 now. Pierre is 16, Raphi the sleeping boy, 14, and the beam of sunshine who was born after her sister died, is Celeste. She’s 12.