Starting Sheffield Uni Today


Today you’d have enrolled on your Geog Degree at Sheffield Uni. 

Yesterday we’d have helped you move Ikea pots and pans and a choice selection of kitchen essentials along with your newly acquired and excitedly ordered and colour coordinated stationary into your halls of res. 

We’d have argued about helping you, because you’d have wanted to do it all yourself, in Mario your Mini, of course. And you’d have not realised how important a moment it was for me and Trace and how much I’d have wanted to help you move your stuff in with Jeepie. 

You’d have smiled and chatted and charmed the pants off everyone you met. You’d have worked hard and never missed a lecture, even when you’d partied hard. And everyone would have loved you and loved Mario and you’d have taken new friends around Sheffield and introduced them to Corp and gone to places to hang out in town, away from the Uni crowds. 

And, as you knew, because I’d told you so many times, expectations were high. After all, I’d have reminded you again, we’re a Family of Firsts. First for me, First for Molly, First for Beth. There’s nowhere else to go but a First, is there? I’d remind you again. So, over to you Izzy Squire, no pressure.

And I’d have been so happy and so proud of you and you’d have been embarrassed about what I wore and how I’d have chatted and flirted with your new housemates and you’d have ushered me out or blatantly told me to leave now please.

Then I’d have slipped you some 20’s on the quiet and we’d have done the false hug/slap-on-the-back thing we did, the ‘father/daughter bonding’ joke.

And I’d have missed you and gone home and your room would have felt empty and void of you. But we’d have smiled knowing you’d be in your element, a confident, courageous, studious charmer, finally at Uni, where you so wanted to be. 

Instead, there are now splashes of tears and droplets of snot on the floor of the Hallamshire gym and I’m late because I’m writing this and your room is silent and exactly as you left it when you went, except for your still unpacked backpack and your top, hung up on your wardrobe door, the top you wore the day before you died.  

Izzy Squire. Love of my life, apple of eye. I miss you. 

Remaining unchanged, indefinitely

About Week 5 I think it was, I called Cagney, our FLO. A FLO, Family Liaison Officer comes into your life in circumstances like this.

“Thing is, I know this is going to sound stupid, but…”  I said.

“It won’t. Go on.” said Cagney.

“I’ve just realised this is permanent, they’ve gone forever and I’ll never see them again.”

“It’s good that you recognise that.” said Cagney. “It’ll come and go. You’ll have good days and bad days. Maybe today is a good day?”

The  permanentchangeless, endlessness of Izzy and Beth not being here, is forever. For the rest of my natural life.


Izzy took this screenshot of us, 14 February 2016

Don’t get me wrong the disbelief still surfaces from time to time. ‘This isn’t true. No. It can’t be true. This is not happening. No. No.’

I sort of angle my head as if I’m accusing someone of something.  I can feel my brain straining, craning my neck as if, in a different position, this will help me make sense of things.

I force myself to try to understand, to think, think, think. It’s like my mind is attempting to take a series of steps outside my head, because my head and my skull is confining it’s ability to think, to properly think, to think logically.

And then there’s the physical longing, an aching, like when you’re in love and you’ve not seen them for days or hours and seeing them again makes you realise how much you adore them, how much you want to be with them and never be apart.

At that very moment is the surging plunge of realisation that this is forever, in perpetuity, permanent. Endlessness. Never ever again.

I’m so, so tired of  all this metaphysical stuff, the feelings and the sensations born inside me, in my head, in my chest and in my stomach. I’m bored to death of yearning, of seeking what’s not here, the vapour and the essence of them.

I just want them back. The blood, the sweat, the BO and the tears.

Not much to ask is it?

A Split Second, On Repeat (2 of 3)

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Evening Clouds Overhead (Morzine, 28 March 2016)

That moment slowed right down. A split second, a handful at most, stretched out endlessly, repeated and analysed over and over and over again.

An everyday tourist trip, a non-event excursion, nothing to give a second thought to; the end of a day trip, a Buddhist temple, a boat trip, picnic lunch included. Nothing to it. But it’s become so huge, so significant. The every-day turned into the never-day.

Hours and hours and hours spent thinking, imagining, rethinking, reimagining, trying to piece together the confusion, the conflicting rumours, the speculation, the unknown.

The collective energy that’s been sunk into those few, precise, decisive, earth shattering, life taking, life changing, moments on Friday 26 February 2016.

The mental efforts from everyone who loved and adored them, straining despairingly towards them and to those few moments in time. Trying to understand what happened, trying to prevent it happening by aimlessly circling back in time. Willing to be there instead of them.

Two precious bright lights. Three bright lights, all gone out.


Detania Waterfalls, Vietnam  (26 February 2016)

And 6 months after (Week 24) we still know nothing about the moment and the seconds that led to their deaths. Vietnam, now more than ever, seems a million miles away, cast adrift.

About Time (1 of 3)

My Emotional Time Delay

So I’ve come to realise over the weeks (Week 23) that I’m not good with ‘emotions’ (insert dictionary definition of your choice).

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Morzine Mountains at Night, 29 March 2016 (Week 4)

You know, ‘feelings’ – things that aren’t ‘stuff’ or aren’t rationale, logical thought. Things that come at you from your core, your stomach, from the middle of your chest.

Don’t get me wrong, I know ‘feelings’ are there, little gremlins gnawing away inside me, but I have a noticeable time lag from when the ‘feeling’ begins, to when it manifests itself in me in a tangible way. It’s like, ‘oh hang on there, what’s this coming up now?’

It’s a sinking feeling in my stomach, like I’m descending rapidly in a lift. Or a sudden welling up of tears right behind my eyes that literally means I can’t see and signals a constant stream of tears that I can’t turn off. Worse still, there are tears accompanied by sobbing, like an uncontrollable bout of hiccups or sneezing you think will never end. Occasionally (usually when I’m driving and alone in Mario, Izzy’s mini) it’s a deep, guttural, seething rage that starts in the pit of my stomach. And worse still, an irrational irritability, a niggling annoyance with everything little thing and anyone anywhere near me.

So when the ‘feeling’ comes, what do I do?

Run with it? Let it out? Embrace it, welcome it in? Or take deep, deep breathes and push it down, push it back, push it away. Or take it out on the nearest (and dearest) person who happens to be within a few feet of me?


I Miss You

Someday, are we gonna wake up
A little bit older?
Are we out of time?


Beth & Iz, January 10, 2016

Time is all I fear
It’s why I just keep running
The quest for love was all that you and I held dear
With the beat still in your head
And the good book by your bed
We will survive, you and I
Mr Hudson – Time

Our Empty House


Our Mantlepiece Monument

So, back then (Week 1) I wanted to be so, so far way. Anywhere but here.

I couldn’t bear living in this house. The house they grew up in, the house they came of age in. Pointless, senseless to be here, where their stuff is, where their rooms are; their clothes, their shoes, their smells, Izzy’s rosettes & trophies, Beth’s notebooks & sketchbooks, their laptops. The place they were coming home to.

That was then.

Now (Week 20), the house holds so many triggers and flickers of the o-so recent past. Familiar habits of family life that 4 months ago was normal, un-thought about. Now, I want to stay here, with their things and their favourite spots (Beth’s bed, where she spent so much time, Izzy’s red chair where she sat to do her make-up, their favourite places on the sofas) for as long as I can bear missing them.

And then there are things that still happen in this house that trigger their presence.

The security light flashes on –it’s Izzy, home from a shift at Starbucks and my instinct to hide the chocolate springs into life. The raspy buzz of the broken doorbell – it’s Beth, she can’t find her keys again.


Beth at the door again.

Then there are things that will never, ever happen again in this house.

I’ll never hear the clank of heels on the hallway wooden floor at 5am, when Beth comes home ‘tired and emotional’ after going out for a quick drink. (I’ll spare you the details of her early morning state of being. Ask Miaya, she’ll tell you).

I’ll never play the hiding game with Iz, where I hid behind a door when she comes home and then pretend I was busy doing something (patting the wall a la Basil Fawlty ‘oh yes, all good here’) as she finds me. Laughing, she always laughed.

What’s left, when you’re on your own at home, is a yearning, a longing, a willing, to hear their movement, the creak of a floorboard, the thump of feet above, to sense they’re in the house like it was and that you’re not coming back to home alone, an empty house.

Light Relief #01


They dicked around alot.

I guess Iz wouldn’t have posted this clip, but it shows their relationship, what they were like together. It’s just Day 3 of their trip.

Later in the day Iz wrote this in her diary:

“Sat in park and layed in peace, wonderful view with bridge and lake and watched stars and talked; best bit so far :)”