What am I doing here? (Part II)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.

We are a Franco-English family living in rural North Essex, England. wpid-img_20140910_202209697.jpg


10 thoughts on “About

  1. I just re-read this and my heart is breaking all over again. You said it in such a terrible, beautiful way, because Philip’s “loss continues to resonate through every note, beat and bar of my life.” Sometimes I can’t breathe.

  2. No, not metaphors. It’s just the way we try to say it in words. I wrote that I felt I got whacked like a big old church bell, and I meant it; the hard, cruel force.

    Your daughter; my God, she’s such an angel. And I mean it; she’s all around you now. Cold comfort, I know, when we want them HERE…

  3. I have just read your story via The Compassionate Friends, our son died 24 year ago at age 9 month of Bacterial Endocarditis. I already had one son and went onto have two more children after Simon died. 24 year on it is still so hard. Reading your story helped me realise after all these years, I am not alone and my feelings are normal.

  4. My beautiful daughter, Freya, died on June 5th last year. How hard it is to say “last” year, on New Years Eve I became aware of now I had to say last year, slipping away.
    I want to thank you for writing your words. I liked to read that you too needed to read other parents story, that late night desperation to find someone else who is able to express in words the pain of this broken heart

    1. I’ve had a problem with my blog, Belinda, and have only just read your message. I’m so sorry about your Freya – such a beautiful name. Thank you for reading what I’ve written and I’m sorry replying has taken so long. I did need to know very desperately that someone had survived losing their child, even at times when I didn’t really want to have done. Do email me if you’d like to. Geves X

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