A mother has revealed her ‘all-consuming grief’ at losing her husband and daughter in the space of 13 months.
Mother-of-four Stephanie Nimmo, 47, from Raynes Park in south west London, lost her husband Andy, 53, to bowel cancer in December 2015, and her daughter Daisy, 12, passed away just 13 months later following a life-long battle with Costello Syndrome.
She knew Daisy would never reach childhood because of her condition but never expected her to outlive her beloved husband, Andy.
‘Our bubbly family of six is suddenly down to four’, she said. ‘So this year my Christmas preparations will be tinged with sadness.’
Stephanie Nimmo and her daughter Daisy before she sadly passed away in January 2017. Daisy was diagnosed with a rare, genetic disorder known as Costello Syndrome
Stephanie has written about a book detailing her grief in a bid to inspire others to reflect on their lives.
This year will be her first Christmas since Daisy died and the second Christmas since Andy’s funeral.
In her book, that appeared in the Daily Mirror, she wrote: ‘We had always known that Daisy would not reach adulthood, we just did not expect her to outlive her daddy.
‘Just 13 months after her dad died of an unexpected and cruel cancer, I was forced to give comfort to my dying daughter by telling her she could go and play in the stars with her daddy now.
‘Following the death of her beloved dad and my husband, Daisy had asked me every single day where he was, and now our bubbly family of six was suddenly down to four.
‘So this year my Christmas preparations will be tinged with sadness.’
She added: ‘I am determined to keep going, honouring their memory by living for the moment and making precious memories with my sons and daughter as they grow up without their father and sister.’
Stephanie’s husband Andy was 53, pictured here with Daisy, when he died after a short battle with incurable bowel cancer
Stephanie has been a carer for the best part of 20 years, also looking after her two sons who have high functioning autism. (L-R) Andy, Theo, Daisy, Xanthe, Stephanie and at the front Jules
MailOnline previously reported how Stephanie was a successful career woman in the marketing industry who suddenly found herself caring for a sick child after having Daisy in 2005.
Daisy had Costello Syndrome, a rare genetic syndrome which increases the risk of cancerous and benign tumours, heart problems, orthopaedic issues, endocrine issues and neurological issues, and is associated with developmental delay.
She played the role of full-time carer, as well as mother for the best part of 20 years, to Daisy [who needed round-the-clock care] and for her two sons Theo, 20, and Jules, 14, who both have high-functioning autism.
Stephanie said she and Andy knew Daisy wasn’t going to live ‘forever’, but admitted she thought her husband would be by her side her when the time they dreaded came, and they would face their daughter’s death together.
But Andy was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer in November 2014, and died just over a year later.
She said: ‘The year after Andy died was so hard, I had to adjust to becoming a single parent. Andy and I had always been a team and I missed him by my side.’
Stephanie spoke about coping with becoming a widow and a bereaved parent in the space of just 13 months on a recent appearance on Loose Women
‘IT WAS A WAY OF PROCESSING WHAT HAD HAPPENED’
Stephanie’s book is out in September
Stephanie has written a book, Was This In The Plan?, based on her blog of the same name documenting the family’s journey – something she said she has found therapeutic as a way of dealing with grief, loss and everything in between.
‘I had always promised Andy,’ she said.
‘He said ‘we must write the book’, it was a way of processing what had happened.’
Stephanie is also planning to establish a ‘death cafe’ later this year – meetings people can attend to discuss their funerals and final wishes.
She added: ‘I look back to when Andy died. It was just horrific, I was on my own. I was exhausted and emotionally drained.
‘It was so tough but what I’ve learned is I am the same as everyone else – I am not superwoman, I am just an average woman.
‘You just get out, put one foot in front of the other. It is tempting to hide under the duvets, but what good will that do?’
Tragically, just over a year after losing her husband she found herself planning her daughter’s funeral.
She said: ‘She was transferred to intensive care and put on life support. The staff did everything they could but eventually I had to make the toughest decision of my life and switch off her life support machine. As Daisy slipped away I told her to go and play in the stars with Daddy.’
Now the Nimmos are readjusting to a new dynamic after going from being a family of six to four in just over a year.
She said: ‘Christmas will be so very different this year as we remember all our previous Christmases.’