I was two weeks away from having my first baby and getting ready for maternity leave – doing all the usual things like packing my hospital bags and making appointments. I had taken that day off work. In the morning, I opened the curtains and sat down to have breakfast.
I looked out the window, thinking about the day ahead. The distance from my window to our neighbour’s house was around 50 yards. I could see something at the back of their house, which took me a while to process. When I realised what I was seeing, I asked my husband to look too.
We immediately called the police. On the phone, we were almost downplaying things, perhaps it was a hoax and not what we thought we were seeing. We were still in denial even when we were describing it. A police officer came and took a statement from us. I remember she seemed really shaken too, this wasn’t a normal day for her either.
We tried to get on with the day as normal and even went to a breastfeeding class I had booked. But we barely listened, both of us were thinking about what had happened. When we got home, we pulled the curtains closed and just hugged each other. We spent the following days like that, talking about what we had seen and consoling each other. I don’t know how I would have coped without my husband.
I wasn’t expecting any support or counselling but in those first days and weeks after the incident but looking back I certainly needed it. The feelings of trauma came later. I felt uneasy every time I came home from work and walking from the train. As soon as I turned off the main road to home, there was a darkness associated with the place. I kept the curtains closed a lot, I didn’t like looking out of the window.
I’d say to anyone who is going through this that time will really help. I felt in those early weeks and months that I would never be able to move on, that it would always dominate my thoughts. But now, four years on, I love where I live. I no longer fear the house where he died as I now know that it is a place of love and warmth. I have been able to replace the scene of something tragic in my mind through experiencing his warm family home full of life and special memories.