There was a time, not so long ago, when it would have taken me all day to get to the supermarket and buy something for dinner. Much of the day would’ve been spent staring into space; parts were consumed by tears. Around 4pm the wine was opened, the rest of the evening a blur.

I wasn’t an alcoholic – I was grieving.

On Sunday I’m leaving for what is going to be a very full and stimulating two weeks – and I use the word stimulating because everything is going to be brand new – first time in Boston, first time driving to New Hampshire, first time teaching at Squam, first time meeting so many Unravellers and students, first time driving to New York, first time IN NEW YORK! First time meeting my agent and editor – so much going on! The last few days I’ve been stitching together a chapter to send to my editor while preparing the slideshow for my class at Squam – there just so much NEW happening my head is spinning, yet i manage to stay upright somehow. And it’s because i remember the grieving woman who drank wine by the gallon and spent hours trying to leave the house and then cried in the street. I remember how desperate those months were, when I couldn’t bear to speak to people and hid away in my flat for days at a time; when I didn’t know if i could carry on.

When I didn’t want to carry on.

I remember so clearly how wretched that time was, and yet here I am. I survived. And not only that, i am thriving. And today i am so grateful for all that is happening, for all the opportunities i have been given – and the ones i’ve worked hard for too. If he could see me now i know he would be so proud.

And the cherry on the cake? A little boy called Noah. Still being here – carrying on – means i get to be his auntie, and that is truly the best job in the world.

Okay, there are the tears. But they are good tears. Big love to you all xo

64 responses
  1. SusanL

    New York – I still remember my first time. I thought I’d dropped into my own episode of Law & Order. Everywhere you turn seems to have been featured in a film.

    Once you get past seeing the ‘usual’ attractions, may I suggest Rice & Riches – a store that sells nothing but rice pudding. It’s like an icecream parlour, but with rice. It’s a revelation. It’s in China Town. And I’m gutted that they don’t deliver to the UK.

    37 Spring Street
    between Mott and Mulberry St,
    New York City – 212.274.0008

    Open: Sun-Thu 11am-11pm;
    Fri & Sat 11am to 1am.

  2. charmaine

    I just love you and your hopeful words, Susannah. You are a survivor and thriver. You never fail to inspire me! As I work through my own darkness, I know that there is indeed a beautiful light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for sharing, friend. p.s. Noah’s growing so fast, what a gorgeous little prince!

  3. Noah

    I’m so glad you’re here and in my life
    I love you as big as the sky
    You’re the best auntie ever
    I’m gonna miss you loads

    Wobble xxx

  4. darlene

    big love to you honey … wish i was going to be there to hug you again! enjoy new york, it is stupendously wonderful and i am still in awe that i was there last year, breathing in that dream. xoxo

  5. Noah

    mummy helped me write what I wanted to say :) xx

  6. susannah

    tell your mummy that you both just made me cry!!!!

  7. susannah

    i love you so much i think my heart will explode. i’m going to miss you so much while i am away :( i’ve put some videos of you on my laptop so i can watch you giggling if i get sad xoxoxo

  8. Kirsten

    When you said Noah I couldn’t figure out who you were talking about! He will always be Wobble to me!

  9. susannah

    ooh, thanks for the tip – i am intrigued! :)

  10. susannah

    wish you were gonna be there, hon – we’ll miss you! x

  11. Barbara

    Aunties of the world unite!
    And by the by, we are all so grateful you decided to stick around. X

  12. Mel

    I am so glad you made it too.

    Enjoy your time, it’s so awesome to see all these things happening in your life.

    And Noah, is a clever boy, the computer skills are excellent, but he is gifted for sure with such genetic material.

  13. Nicola

    Susannah – I’m going to Squam too and will be taking your class. Almost exactly six years ago I left Boston in floods of tears. I moved there to marry an American and had my heart broken, stamped on and handed back to me, while a very long way away from home. I had my darkest days there, days of not being able to leave the house, or feed myself or get dressed. And on Sunday, I’ll go back to Boston, for the first time since those awful days, knowing that I survived, that I made it. And I’m even grateful for all of it because, without it, I wouldn’t have the life I have now, which is wonderful! Looking forward to meeting you in person.

  14. Carrie

    Wow… thank you for this. It is filled with an amazing love that warms my heart and gives me this increible feeling of hope. I too have a lot of upcoming firsts on the horizon, and am very comforted by your words. I am one of your past Unravellers (Summer 2009) and will be one of your upcoming students at SQUAM (Thursday). I look forward to meeting you then and going through a few first or two together. XOXO

  15. karen d

    I am thankful you stuck around also.. you have been a huge inspiration and you sharing your story with us help us tell our story and that is a huge gift.. see you soon in Squam

  16. Zarina Ávila

    NY is always best for anyone. His story is great and your soul is incredible. Thank you very much for sharing your life, dreams and hopes with us. I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy your blog and you. You inspire me.

  17. Erin

    You have such strength. I am in awe of your movement and ability to grow.

  18. susannah

    Nicola, Carrie and Karen – see you soon, loves! :-D xxx

  19. vanessa joie

    You have such a beautiful and brave heart. xo

  20. Lynn

    Congrats to you! What a beautiful thing.

  21. Brigitte

    Gratitude is a beautiful thing. So happy you made it through and that you share so much with us.

  22. vera b

    big love to you.
    you know that you ‘being here’ has made all the difference to so many people’s lives, right?

  23. vera b

    and that includes mine.

    …just incase that wasn’t implied. :0)

  24. heidi

    what a fantastic trip planned, I’m sad I won’t be able to attend Squam, this year, but want to let you know if you need anything in Boston, give me an email-I’d be glad to help! Enjoy the beautiful fall weather and see you in Unravelling! Cheers~

  25. sas

    i got nothin but love for you :)
    NY is a crazy mad amazing place – you will love it!

  26. Annette

    Susannah you give me lots of hope. I experienced one of those life changing events a couple years ago and it’s been a slow and steady climb to rediscover myself or maybe just figure out who I’m meant to be. Thank you for all your encouraging words, sharing your struggles and your successes. It calms and warms my soul to step into this place. Thank you! Congrats and have fun on your trip. :)

  27. melissa Piccola

    So grateful for you! Cannot wait to see you in the woods of NH!

  28. Milena Widdowson

    Susannah, you are such an inspiration, I am so very glad that you are you and that you have so many glorious things/people in your life xxx

  29. kristen

    you’ve come a long way baby. i wish i could take in the city with you…figures i’d move just when you arrive! i know you’ll enjoy every last drop. xo

  30. jane

    you made tears in me too… i am grateful you had the courage to keep going, grateful that he was the kind of man that you know would be filled with pride for all you have achieved… that shining light that comes from you and your words makes a difference in the world Susannah… big love to you and your LOVERLY little nephew and sister <3

  31. susannah


  32. susannah

    gutted you won’t be there, hon!

  33. susannah

    thank you Jane oxox

  34. Gina

    I am crying with you! I am positive he would be proud because you have done amazing things! I am truly amazed at what can come from such deep grief. For different reasons I was there and it is actually how I found your blog. I hope you NEW two weeks are great. I wish I could meet you in NYC, but little man keeps me a bit too busy these days.

  35. Michelle

    I am grateful I have come across your blog this year. Grateful that you have had such strength and very grateful for all the wonderful Mr. Bobble head photos you share! I have lived in Boston for 38 years! You will love it this time of year!

  36. Johanna

    I’m looking forward to your shout out for coffee in NYC. I really look forward to “meeting” you in person.

  37. Danielle

    I grew up in Vt, so you’re headed to my old stomping grounds. Love Boston! And NYC is so incredible. Have a good time & what a beautiful post.

  38. bella

    oh, girl. you have blossomed in so many positive directions. i am truly happy for all of the good things that are happening for you.

    please, please: while in Boston, take a taxi to the North End for a cappuccino in one of the many quaint cafes. then, taxi it over to the Public Gardens… heaven. (popular shopping is right nearby).

    Enjoy Squam NH. I’ll see you soon in the NYCeee. xo

  39. Jude

    Oh, you’re just so lovely! I got teary reading this (in a good way). You deserve every bit of goodness – wishing you lots of NYC love. I lived there almost 5 years and miss it like crazy! Don’t forget to just take a beautiful stroll through Central Park.

  40. kelly

    This is such a moving and powerful post. Thank you Susannah – you inspire so many through your writing/photography/courses – I wish you THE best time on your two week adventure and hope you know how much you bring to so many lives. So glad you found your way through those darkest of days.

  41. doorways traveler

    honey, you’ve got me in a puddle.
    can’t wait to be your traveling mate and share our first of NYC together.
    love you so much.

  42. Melissa Buchanan


  43. xanthe

    such brave words, enjoy it out there, it’s going to blow your mind x.

  44. Marthe

    I’m so happy to hear that you have found new joy and happiness!

    I’d like to recommend my favorite bookstore in New York called Spoonbill & Sugartown. It’s in Williamsburg, Brooklyn See

    Have a great time!

  45. kerin rose

    Susannah…you must know by now that we have both been through the same thing…I know how it feels when you cannot remember how to put one foot in front of the other…I think that the ones we have lost…we must keep going, for them, with them in our hearts…what got me moving was realizing that I HAD to out of respect for that opportunities he would miss by not being here…I decided at some point that he would be upset with me for squandering the fact that I still had TIME…so…one foot, one step out the door…even in a big ol’ river of tears! :)…years later, here we are, yes? …

    enjoy NYC…its smashing!…and you will love NH too…so beautiful!

  46. Tina

    I just want to hug you. Have a wonderful trip.

  47. Vanessa

    oh susannah. it’ so true. of all the brave life journeys i have had the honour of witnessing/sharing/empathising with through this magical window we call cyberspace over the years, yours has got to be the one that has come the furthest. you have got to be my favourite success story. i am so happy for you.

    have a wonderful time at squam and in nyc!

    some day i’ll take you for a pint in dublin ;)


  48. Catalina

    you are an amazing girl! joy had to be on your path. I admire your strength.

    Boston is just great! Love it! there is a place in Cambridge where you can have amazing very good home made hamburgers that have names: you may have the Marilyn, Clinton or the Joplin one. ans yes, recipes have something to do with the names…:)

    enjoy it! The Museum is a must!


  49. steph

    Be prepared Susannah, New Hampshire is going to overwhelm you with it’s breathtaking beauty. I promise. I’ve lived here all my life but didn’t truly and fully appreciate it until I did my own dance with grief. When I could see nothing good, nothing right, nothing happy in life, I turned to my camera, my bike, and the country roads of NH and Vermont and found the most amazing and life-saving beauty. I am truly grateful to live here. I know you will love it. I can’t wait to here about your trip to NYC and Squam. Have fun girl…love and safe travels to you.

  50. BarbaraB

    I am so glad you made it.

  51. ABCcreativity

    omg YAH!

  52. Shannon

    Oh my goodness…I just bought my ticket to Boston. It will be my third trip & I still can’t get enough.

    I’m so glad I read this post…because this time I’ll have to take my holga along with for some dreamy film images.

    I hope you will love Bah-ston as much as I do! & catch a new accent while you are there? yes?! :)

    Thank you too for always being honest and open in your posts! So helpful in my own journey. (I was in the grocery store last night & refused to buy the bottle of wine. 1 good life choice down, so many more to go :)

  53. kath

    oh the grief
    the horrible all consuming necessary wine filled grief
    it is necessary but oh it hurts

    he is so very proud because you are proud and he lives in your heart sister.

  54. amy

    lovely, moving words. thank you for sharing your stories and photos along the way. you bring the best kind of beauty into world (and onto my walls!).. have a wonderful trip!

  55. natalea

    oh!! how happy I am for you Susannah! This post made me feel so good, and glad. I love happy endings….or I should say “happy journeys”…the best is yet to come for you- I’m sure! Have a wonderful time in the U.S.!
    xo natalea

  56. Sara

    Your story is so inspiring!! Keep up the good work, when you emerge from hardships, you realize there’s so much to life to live for …. you’ll love New York, I have no doubt, keep up the amazing work!!

  57. Kathryn

    Gorgeous post, so raw and filled with emotional.

    Enjoy your trip xo

  58. Selma

    Much love to you, Susannah. You inspire me to do better. I am thrilled you are embarking on your trip. It sounds like it’s going to be amazing XXX

  59. Amelia

    oh testament to you Susannah. For very different reasons, I’ve travelled a long way from the toughest of times, and know how good it feels to have achieved rising above them. You embody an example of possibility and it’s so exciting.

    I wish you the best of luck at Squam and meeting with your editor. And thanks again for the input you’ve given ;)


  60. Jennifer

    What a beautiful post this is. I love that you are able to look back and see how far you have come. You are not only thriving you are living such a full life. I am sure he is proud, oh so proud. Good luck teaching at squam!! I look forward to seeing you in NYC

  61. Kiley

    I am sitting here, trying to write a blog entry to commemorate the upcoming 6th anniversary of my son’s death, when I found myself, distracted, at this post on your blog. Thank you so much, I know what it means to survive and move on when at moments it seems like I never can. Our grief is different but we are both survivors. Thanks for sharing so honestly, I wish I could do that more easily.

  62. susannah

    sending big hugs to you, love xoxox

  63. Sam Brightwell

    I hope I don’t ever have to learn how to navigate such raw and frightening grief. I hope, if I do, that there will be wise and courageous ones like you around to show me that it is possible to go to the darkest places and to come out of it whole enough to survive, and to go on again perhaps to thrive.
    Much love.

  64. amanda

    As someone who visits New York and Boston often, I can say that they are both amazing -I can’t wait to hear what you think! Have a wonderful couple of weeks!

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