Moments in life that shape, define and affect us…


They say there are moments in life that shape, define and profoundly affect us and I'd like to tell you about a couple. One which has delighted me and one which has devastated me that have happened since we last spoke.

Firstly the joy of a new life…a precious and much awaited baby girl has been born. Let me tell you a little more and for this I must take you back to 2001, the year of Tom's birth.

It was as the Special Care Baby Unit; the most incredible place where we spent Tom's first month of his life, surrounded by perpetually bleeping machines, oxygen and the weeniest baby birds, as I affectionately called some beautiful teeny babies, who I have since met as fantastic, healthy children.

It was in Special Care that I had the privilege of meeting another Mummy who was living through the daily torment of her first born, also dependant on oxygen, in a tiny incubator and with a daily diet of lumber punctures, tubes, question marks and fear. Certainly not the usual delights of having your first baby.

The first meeting of great friends

There was something so fantastic about this red-lipsticked, black-bobbed woman who sat expressing her milk for her son, as I did for Tom, which intrigued and inspired me. We connected and over the years have shared a passion for our boys – mine who has developed such an independence and zest for life and her delicious 'bear' who has shown such courage and joy from every inch of his body.

We shared the joy of our following four children, her two and my two being unencumbered with the difficulties of our first born and we share the spectacular highs and the equally spectacular lows of our children, their every incredible achievements and our hopes and fears for their lives.

So, it was with utter joy and terrific trepidation that I awaited the news of her fourth child's arrival… Hermione!

Why is it that people feel history will not repeat itself, or lightening doesn't strike twice? I know I couldn't accept that and neither it seems can all my special friends who have also experienced such devastating things in their lives. So to have an utterly divine and scrumptious little soft, sweet-smelling velvety baby in our midst feels such a blessing and one for which we are so truly, truly grateful. A completion of a family is a delight to behold.

Equally the utter despair of another family is just a moment away.

Tribute to a woman who was there for me

Once again I return to the same year when I had again the privilege to meet a woman whose care for me went beyond the call of duty. She was the midwife who encouraged me to breastfeed Tom and allowed me to talk, a lot, and gave me care and friendship which exceeded her duties as a midwife.

She went on to deliver Joseph, and fulfil my dreams to safely and naturally give birth. Yes, in her role as my midwife that was to be expected, but our friendship had been established, and after all the hours of labour we had discussed all and everything about each other…a precious time.

I have just come home after some time in the company of an amazing couple, her parents, having found out that the super strong incredible woman I knew, who brought such joy to my life and who made my babies birth's beyond perfect had taken her own life.

There is a story, a reason, an answer to accompany this, but one which is too personal to share. There is such a terrible sadness that pervades my consciousness and it's a time of acute reflection that I am experiencing.

I cannot even attempt to contemplate how her family must have felt and feel and I pray with every little piece of me that there is peace for her. And that in time, for those left behind an acceptance and peace, though I fear that is too great a task.

It has left me with a need to be kind, aware and oh so so grateful. I thank god I have my spectacular friends in my life, my wonderful special family and I feel so terrifically saddened that I cant change things.

Please forgive my less than joyous blog – I think it has been a little bit cathartic for me. I have never been able to hide my deepest emotions and if I have written anything that has upset any of you I can only say that from the bottom of my heart that that was never my intention.

With my love

Claire x


  1. K.Salisbury March 1, 2012 at 2:52 pm -  Reply

    Lovely Claire-you are such a lovely, sweet person whose writing is at times on a level with Dylan Thomas—“black-bobbed”—–“Bible-black”. You have a real gift the way you write and phrase emotions;I remember when you wrote about the birth of Tom ages ago and how you felt-honestly and bravely, and this ability hits home to all of us and makes us better people who re-assess our silly moans and groans about nothing(I felt quite ‘down’ today for absolutely no reason whatsoever—-no more!!!!!)Some people just give and give and are an inspiration—but what is the cost?
    Life is just too hard at times for us mere mortals and that expression ‘what doesn’t kill you etc’ is quite flippant at times and insulting in some cases.I do hope that lovely person IS happy now and talking from a ‘near-miss’ shall I call it? of a very close member of my family I more than know the shock and indeed feeling of helplessness you must feel.What a world!!!! Take the help and love you received and treasure it when you look at your family. Thank you for sharing your gift. You take care—keep smiling—-for us.
    Love K.XXX

  2. K.Salisbury March 1, 2012 at 2:55 pm -  Reply

    P.S.Happy Saint David’s Day(Dydd Dewi Sant)K.XXX

  3. Joanna Downey March 1, 2012 at 3:11 pm -  Reply

    Dearest Claire, I’ve been at home this week home with something nasty that is sweeping through the school where I work and feeling sorry for myself, then I read your blog. You truly described the highs and lows of life and wrote so eloquently about how they define us. I have always thought that when a baby is born it’s birth renews the World and brings joy into the lives of all those who will love that person. Hearing about a tragic loss of someone is awful and, when that person was important to us, extremely hard to understand and even accept. I know that you have a faith, I don’t share that with you, but I hope that you will take strength from it for yourself and so that you can pass on that strength to others. I can identify with your need to be kind and aware and grateful but it seems to me that you are all of those anyway so you just have a heightened feeling for them at the moment. When you wrote your wonderful “Story of Tom” a couple of years ago I replied telling you about the loss of our first baby, I had always been a live for today girl but after that experience I truly understood how important it was not to just live each moment but to be grateful for everything and everyone in my life. You can’t change anything that has happened but you can keep hold of the wonderful memories you have, because for as long as she’s remembered she will live on in the lives of those she touched. Love from Jo x

  4. Michelle Roberts March 2, 2012 at 8:26 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire
    I have just read your blog which hit a I cord with me, I love your way with words they really make you think about life, children and friends. Last year I lost a very good friend well in fact she started as my yoga teacher but soon became a good friend, very sadly last August she took her own life she was only 42 and left behind two very small children and one devastated partner, I can remember the day a lovely sunny day, why I will never know, she spent many years in Australia and I was lucky enough to visit in November I visited all the fabulas places she mentioned and Brisbane where she lived for a while was as exactly how she described it, I don’t think I will ever come to terms with it.
    Just thank you for sharing Claire you made me stop and reflect, you are a special lady my love.
    take care
    Michelle x

  5. Morag March 3, 2012 at 5:54 pm -  Reply

    Claire I wonder if you realise what a true gift you have of putting emotions and situations into the most beautiful and appropriate words, so that we can feel what you feel, share and empathise with you. Although your blog was hard to read, I think it has lessons for all of us. Life is short, live it, love it, fill it with all the love and appreciation you can, and spread it to all those around you whom you love. Thats what I took from your fantastic writing – and it is not the first time I have been moved by what you have to say. Thanks again and sending much love to you and yours. Morag xx

  6. Julie C March 4, 2012 at 11:45 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire
    Most beautifully put, please do not apologise for sharing the highs and lows of life. My husband took his own life 7.5 yrs ago when our son was 4.5. It’s been tough getting through it but life has to go on. Unfortunately I was diagnosed with breast cancer last Summer but thankfully the tumours they found were very small so my treatment has not been as invasive as some. I have to keep strong and healthy for my son/parents/new partner, life is cruel at times but it is what it is and we need to try to appreciate all we have every day. It isn’t always easy of course and some days I do dip a litle but in general pride myself on being resilient and realistic. Life is never going to be a bundle of roses for our family but we treasure all that we have. The lady you speak of clearly had her reasons for leaving this world and eventhough I wish my husband had not taken that route I kind of understand why he did (but still wish he hadn’t!). Troubled minds usually manage to keep things from even those closest to them so when they make their cloices there is not alot anyone can do. You have your memories of the special times with her and those will never leave you nor I expect will her spirit. Take care xx

  7. Tony March 6, 2012 at 11:21 am -  Reply

    Dear Claire,
    That was a very interesting read leaving us with lots to ponder about, thanks for sharing with us.
    I too had a friend who committed suicide. He was the most upbeat and funny individual you’ll ever find. It was only after his death that we found out his sense of humour was his way of concealing his great anxieties about his own life. He was the last person I would have ever expected to do this and I’ll remember my whole life what a shock that was when I was announced the bad news. But my feeling is you can learn something positive out of every experience of life, whether good or bad.
    And I have to agree with what was said, you have a powerful writing style, Claire, it is such a pleasure to read your writings.
    Take care,

  8. Diane March 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire,
    Your blog moved me to tears, so sensitively put and I am sure the family will take great comfort in it.
    As we have discussed before having Holland in common, we are well aware of the twists and turns in life, not everything can be explained…. I think sometimes all we can do is to be kind to each other, in today’s hectic world it can seem an inadequate response, but as you clearly show in your writing you care and you are kind, we should never underestimate kindness.
    I think to share our life experiences, however raw gives others hope and support, sadly terrible things happen to good people, there is sometimes nothing that can be done to change the course of events, and it can be a struggle to make sense of it all.
    Taking the time to write so eloquently in your blog at such a difficult time is more appreciated than you know Claire….
    Diane x

  9. OF March 8, 2012 at 7:15 pm -  Reply

    I hope that reading the other viewers comments will fill you with strength – You blog was difficult to read but echoes so many peoples experiences – mine included. We can only pray and wish that the family of your dear friend can learn to accept the situation that they find themselves in – however hard it will be for them. Your friend will be at peace now – I truly believe that and as I often tell my children – No, I cannot prove that but that is why it is called having faith.
    With Love
    Izzie xx

  10. Pearl Emery March 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire, i have only just read your blog,but i know how her family are feeling as my eldest daughter took her own life at the age of 31yrs, in 2002,can i just say you never come to terms with what happened you just learn to live with it, your blog was so sensitively done,which proves what a fantastic friend you are and yes her family will take comfort from what you have written, and as Diane in her blog said your words are much appreciated. Pearl x

  11. Susan March 13, 2012 at 6:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire,
    I am so sorry to you and everyone above who has lost loved ones through such a horrible way. I completely agree that you have a wonderful way with words and it is to your credit. You are also so kind, loving and respectful that you need not try any harder – it is natural to you. I think it’s a good thing that these awful things are talked about as it is still a big issue in the UK today and it is often seen as ‘weak’ or ‘inappropriate’ because you are putting a ‘downer’ on the situation to talk about your feelings but I completely disagree with that. It can save a life. There is no shame and it is normal and the sooner we all accept that the better. You are a wonderful friend I am quite sure and your children are so very lucky to have you and Dan. I hope you find peace yourself. Look after yourself and keep talking to your friends, or someone. I was at an awards do the other night of many humbling people and it is fantastic to see ‘the other side’ – people find strength and come though. I’m so glad I’m involved in some way in the process.
    Take care,
    Susan x

  12. Ruth March 14, 2012 at 7:13 pm -  Reply

    Dearest Claire,
    How deeply moving. The birth of a child is exciting, nerveracking, enjoyable and brings amazing anticipation and love. All children are perfect in God’s eyes and those that have needs have an enviable innocence and emulate love. I thank God or each and every one of them.
    Bless you Claire and I pray that you will remember the joy your friend bought into you life. I pray for you, her family and all the people she touched and had such an amazing influence on that God will give you all comfort and peace.
    I too have been through unimaginable pain over the years and on top of that I was diagnosed with debilitating progressing Multiple Sclerosis. But, like you I have amazing family and friends and I have a rock solid faith and know that whatever happens God is looking over me.
    God bless you Claire. Your smile alone, as seen when on QVC, brings joy to us all. xxxxx

  13. TINA (SOUTH WALES) March 22, 2012 at 10:04 am -  Reply

    Dear Claire,
    I have just read your blog and was also deeply touched.
    I worked as a nurse for many years before having to take early retirement through ill health. Your sad story made me remember of someone I worked with a long time ago. As they say “hindsight” is a marvellous thing. This cooleague had been found out to be the culprit when money had been going missing. There was much shock and dismay of course and she was dismissed from her post. Shortly after she had gone missing and was eventually found having comitted suicide. She was a very disturbed person if only someone had seen. I often think of her and wonder why she never got our help and understanding instead our judgement. I worked in what was supposed to be a caring environment.Sadly as I experienced personally it was not always the case. This person needed help and must have been so troubled and disturbed. It is so sad to think she felt that her only way out was to end it all. So tragic.

  14. Myfanwy Brown April 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm -  Reply

    Dearest Claire,
    I am so sorry, and sad for you, to hear of the loss of your friend.
    I have experienced the loss of my dearest father and two close friends, through suicide. One happened last year, and he was a man I had once been in love with, and I still love him very much. I was devastated. So I can really understand how heartsore you must be feeling.
    I know it is not ‘PC’ to talk about God and faith, but I do believe you are a woman of faith, as am I Claire, and I pray that the Lord will heal your heart. I also pray that He will bring healing and peace to your friend’s family.
    It is all very well to be strong and hide our feelings, to remain positive and upbeat, but unfortunately, this can at times be the reason why some folk just find it too difficult to tell others about how they feel, or to seek help. They feel they cannot burden anyone.. the person feels helpless and hopeless..I know!
    I have suffered from severe depression all my life ( I am now 50!). I have good days and I have bad days, but my faith is what keeps me going and keeps me ‘joyful’ and wanting to live. I do not feel the burden of having to be strong on my bad days, I have learned over all these years to pity (and ignore) those who cannot, and will not, try to understand or empathise. I am so much more than my illness, and those that love me and care for me know the person I am inside.
    So Claire I applaud you for having the courage to write on your blog about your friend..if more people felt able and free to open up about how they feel, and how they are not coping, perhaps some lives would not end in such sorrow.
    With love to you dear Claire,

  15. Kristina Moore April 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm -  Reply

    Hello Claire, just be you as that is brilliant as is the way you write your blogs. I love the joyful bit of this blog but it is the sad bit that struck a chord with me to a certain extent. I have worked with and “known” two people one of whom I know took their own life and the other one I believe did. I would not have believed you if you had told me that this was going to happen to them. Both of them were amazing people and I am so sad that they are not in the world now. I don’t know how the families are coping and will never know but I do hope that the people themselves have found peace and that the families find a kind of peace.
    I do hope that everyone who has experienced this can find a kind of peace too. I cannot imagine what you feel but do sincerely hope that this is possible.
    Tina X0

  16. Karen Stafford May 26, 2012 at 11:25 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire, just read your blog and wanted to say how sorry I am to hear your sad news about a person who touched your life in such a way. I know it may sound totally insane but I often empathise with you as I have a special little boy who daily faces challenges which for the majority or children comes naturally. He has a sweet little sister though who helps him tremendously. I woulldn’t magic him into a “normal” child as it’s my little Boy’s autism that makes him so special. Claire I think you are so lovely and I send you my love and I hope the loved ones of this special lady who helped you so much at such a emotionally exposed time take some small comfort in knowing how special she was to you. Much love karen

  17. Sue Lee June 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire, I love watching u on QVC u are always smiling and cheerful and exactly what is needed as a presenter. Just thought I would briefly outline my story. I have a wonderful 18 year old son who is Autistic but my story goes back to 1988 when I had my daughter… My ex husband and I had been trying for a baby for quite a few years and in 1987 I found out I was pregnant what joy!! My daughter was stillborn when I was 42 weeks weighing 7lb and 3 oz a beautiful dark haired baby girl, no one can understand the hell we went through but we carried on. I was unable to get pregnant again and in 1994 we whent for IVF,it worked first time!! we felt so lucky!! We found out on my first scan we were having twins!! then a few weeks later triplets, we were over the moon to say the least. Then things started to go wrong,my waters broke at 24 weeks and my little girl was born at 1lb 6oz but it wasnt to be and she passed away. My indentical twin sons were born at 25 weeks and weighed 1lb 8oz and 1lb 12 ozs but they were alive!!. U mentioning the SCBU made me think back. One of my sons passed away when he was 16 weeks old and my other son Shaun came home from SCBU at Christmas in 1994 after 5 months in there. He is now 18 and I love him to bits and although he is Autistic I wouldnt have him any other way. I was divorced in 2001 and Shaun and I have been on our own since. It took time to get used to that but we have our own flat now and are happy!! My life has been hard but I have come through it u never get over your loses u just get used to living with them and try to be positive when it becomes too hard. Claire, thank u for your story and stay yourself always….

  18. Sandra September 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm -  Reply

    Dearest Claire,
    I have for the first time read your blog and my emotions are running deep. How sad for the family but joyous for you with your family. They say that one comes one goes. Such a fact of life. You speak from the heart.
    Will go and read your other blogs now.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Cast your vote!

Never miss a post!

Sign up to our QGossip feed to get the latest posts in your mailbox.

QVC uses first and third party cookies to enhance your use of this website and provide you with a personalised browsing experience. We do so in accordance with our Privacy Statement and our Cookie Policy. To learn more and change your preferences click here. By actively continuing to use this website, closing this banner or clicking the OK button below, you consent to our use of cookies.

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.