Elisha Gault's mum encourages people suffering bereavement to make a coping plan

By Sarah Slater

A mum whose 14-year-old daughter took her own life two months ago is encouraging those who are grieving the loss of a loved one to make a coping plan to help deal with bereavement.

Elisha Gault died by suicide on St Patrick’s Day and her body was recovered from the River Suir on March 25, near her home of Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary after she went missing eight days before.

The body of the missing teenager was found about 8km from where she was last seen on a bridge in the town.

Elisha’s mother Grainne made the remarks as she took part in the annual nationwide Darkness into Light walk marking remembering those who took their own lives and to encourage those who are suffering with mental health difficulties to seek help.

More than 200,000 are estimated to have taken part in the event on Saturday morning for the suicide prevention and mental health awareness group Pieta House.

Grainne believes relatives and friends of a person who died should not feel guilty for living life after their loved ones are gone.

Posting on her Facebook page Ms Gault said: “Watching films growing up, grief was portrayed in such a way that a person's life was paused in order to grieve and sometimes indefinitely.

But the reality is, life goes on and you carry grief with you in everything you do and without a plan I wouldn't get out of bed in the morning and I'd just give up but for me this isn't an option.

“I hope this helps anyone facing the same conflict, that's it's OK to take care of yourself and still grieve, without guilt of continuing life.”

Grainne is taking part in a TV3 documentary following the Darkness into Light walk and is detailing how life is since Elisha died.

“I'm thrilled that TV3 will be filming us taking part in Carrick on Suirs DIL walk, an opportunity to highlight the amazing community spirit that we were fortunate enough to experience during the search and funeral of Elisha.”

She added: “Grief is a tough pill to swallow for sure. Every morning I open my eyes and I'm hit by a wave of reality and different emotions, so overwhelming it makes you take a deep breath.

“I lie for a bit and contemplate what type of day I might have ahead, will I see something, someone, hear a song or have a memory that will bring (it all) back to me, like a boot in the stomach.

“That it’s not a dream, she's not in another room or out with friends, that I'll never get to see her beautiful smile, hear her laugh, squeal, give out, try and fleece money from me, listen to more stories about her next crazy idea .

“It can actually be soul destroying. The only saving grace that keeps me going is forcing myself to stick to the self care routine that I eventually learned to help me cope with life, somewhat better, a year or so before Elisha passed.”

Grainne revealed that she stopped looking after herself when Elisha first went missing and in the early weeks after her daughter’s death.

“After six weeks off (the self care plan) and realising my mood has been consistently falling towards the depths of despair I used to find myself in, I'm now back on plan.

“I go to weekly counselling, I use herbal remedies on days my mood is the lowest, I'm back training in the gym and eating healthier again (still working on this, because comfort eating was always my down fall) and I'm sleeping as much as I possibly can.

Doing these things to keep myself strong does not take away the pain of losing Elisha. It doesn't mean I love and miss her any less, it doesn’t mean I've moved on and I'm not still grieving.

“It just means that I'm in a stronger position to cope with crippling anxiety filled days better and that I'm here for the rest of my baby girls when they need something from me.”

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