Four weeks ago my daughter was killed in a tragic car accident. Four weeks ago, Saturday 31st May 2014. She was twelve. My brother has long been a Jimmy Buffett fan, and I can recall him singing “Come Monday it’ll be all right”. Well, this Monday it's not all right.
In fact, it’s easy to feel that everything is wrong this Monday. No more Abi. No more bouncing in to our office after school, all blonde hair, big smile, tales of her day. No more snuggling in bed, smooth warm skin and sticky-out shoulder blades. No more nothing.
Alongside her was one of her best friends, Ella, and Ella’s mother, Sally - also a dear, dear friend of mine. They died too; killed instantly in a moment of motorized madness. Sally and I had been friends for eight or nine years, meeting just before the girls started primary school. She was one of the most creative, clever, loyal, loving friends a woman could ever hope for. We helped each other get through the drudgery of midlife, punctuating it with… well, better moments – some hedonistic, some more mindful, many of them spent outdoors, enjoying the gifts our natural world has to offer. Scrolling through our recent text exchanges, I see frequent reminders of how we supported each other’s quest to get more out of life.
Following a text describing my decision to get up early on the weekend to take part in a run a couple of hours drive away, she replied:
So, dear Sally, Ella, and our own little Abi, here, instead of a book, is the blog I dedicate to the three of you: rants and research about getting more out of life. Inspired in part by the Mary Wilson poem you introduced me to last summer which urges us to consider, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Your lives were wild, the memories so precious. In the months and years to come, as I am forced to forge on without you by my side, I plan to incorporate my experience as an academic researcher in the field of wellbeing and resilience science (oh the irony) to explore what it is to live well, and squeeze as much as we can out of our wild and precious lives.