Half-year Evaluation for Leigh Kendall
At the end of 2014, Leigh reflected on the events of that year. She acknowledged that she had survived the worst thing imaginable – the death of her much-wanted, much-loved son, Hugo.
You recognised that 2014 had shown you that the unexpected can happen, your dreams can be ripped to shreds. You surmised that while we can never know what is around the corner, we can still plan, prepare, and dream.
To that end, you identified three main goals:
- To continue to grow Hugo’s Legacy;
- To maintain your physical health;
- To improve your emotional health.
You summed up your aspiration for 2015 using a quote by Maya Angelou: “…to not merely survive, but thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style.”
Leigh articulated rough plans around continuing her passion for Hugo’s Legacy (which encompasses compassion); to expand on her writing; to allow herself to indulge in her humorous and stylish sides – the things that make her, her.
Leigh has difficulty acknowledging her own progress and success. A large part of this is that she, of course, wishes that she still had Hugo in her arms; that she had nothing to campaign for.
However, she must recognise that six months after setting her year-long goal she is doing very well indeed.
Some highlights include:
- Hugo’s Legacy is growing bigger all the time. #HugosLegacy trended on Hugo’s first birthday, and clinicians have remarked how Hugo’s story has prompted them to reflect on their own practice, for example. Leigh is consequently increasingly recognised as a leading parent voice in neonatal and bereavement care.
- Leigh has maintained her physical health by regular exercise at the gym, and running and walking. However this has slipped in the last month or so since the closure of her gym and a return to work.
- Leigh’s emotional health has seen a marked improvement since December, thanks to intense psychotherapy sessions. These sessions helped reassure her, in her own words, “that I am not bonkers”, that the intense feelings she has experienced are natural responses to the events of 2014; to acknowledge that grief is forever meaning it needs to be faced however difficult that is, in order to find a way to live with it. At the beginning of June, Leigh felt as ready as she ever would be to return to work. This was a big step, and one that Leigh should be proud of.
- Leigh has expanded her writing – achieving an ambition of becoming a Huffington Post writer, as well as being a finalist and on the shortlist of major national blogging awards.
- She has published posts showing her lighter side, and about her love of style reflecting that while the events of 2014 may have changed her irrevocably, there are things she can return to that help her realise life is worthwhile.
Conclusion and recommendations
Leigh is indeed not just surviving, but thriving, with compassion, passion, humour and style.
She needs to make sure she continues to care for herself. Wanting to change the world is noble, but she must also remember to rest when her mind and body tells her to do so – burning out will help no one. Scheduling regular self-care time (including physical exercise) is vital towards maintaining her significant emotional and psychological progress.
That said, Leigh must remember that irrespective of how much progress is made, there is no cure for grief. Bad days will still haunt her, and as gruelling as they are they must be endured. She must remember that it is acceptable to hide under the duvet sometimes. She must never forget that living with grief and trauma is exhausting, meaning that self-care time is non-negotiable.
Leigh should be very proud of her progress so far in 2015. Bearing in mind the points above about self-care and balance, she should continue to thrive for the rest of 2015 and beyond.