Not all love stories are equal, not all are romantic…although they are the good ones and I’ve had my share!

No, the love story I want to share is way more profound than that for me. Its a happy/sad love story full of hope, unconditional love and the honour of being a mother. And here it is.

I’ve been very fortunate that my life has been full of love. I’ve had so much love in my life, from my parents, family, friends, lovers, my darling husband and especially my kids – all four of them.

I am a very loving person and have always loved love.

So you’d think that writing about it would be easy for me, but it’s not, because there are so many facets to love and one of those facets that I really had to study and learn about and accept, is the love that is in grief.

Grief is my constant companion ever since my only daughter passed away 18 years ago and it sucks every day.

But when Chloe was here on this planet, she loved me like you wouldn’t believe. We were peas in a pod and with Sam and Liam, we were a perfect little unit.

Except for about 4 years of her life, Chloe was unwell at home, in hospital or recovering from surgery,  so we spent loads of one on one time together and she was like a koala on me, wrapped around me. We just loved each other to bits which makes grief harder because there seems so much more to miss.

It wasn’t Chloe’s wish to leave us, she fought a big fight but in the end the choice was taken out of her hands, her body failed her. The feeling of impotence and frustration at not being able to help has weighed heavily over the years and the missing her only grows bigger.

In 2019, both of her besties got engaged, one of them married. Such joyous occasions that leave my heart hurting for what we missed out on doing together.

They say that the depth of your grief is the equal to the depth of your love. So following that, our love was/is enormous and so is the grief, it’s also heartbreaking and cruel.

But stay with me, there is a happier ending…

After Chloe died, everything stopped. 

She had been my 24/7 focus, she had needs and at some level we knew we were on borrowed time so we were attached at the hip. When that all stopped it felt very weird. And as heart broken and just generally broken as I was, I suddenly had all this time on my hands.

Instead of sitting and being with the grief and healing, I didn’t, I just got on with life because I just wanted to honour Chloe. Because she lived her life to its fullest, she tried everything she could despite feeling rotten most of the time. She was just wonderful.

I also couldn’t bear to think about the loss of one of the loves of my life, so I just got on with it and within a year I met Kyle, Declan’s dad. Everyone was like “whoa” and in retrospect, it wasn’t my most insightful move, but it was definitely heart driven, and that being the essence of who I am, I just went with it.

We got married and when I found out I was pregnant with Declan, I was in a particularly vulnerable place in our marriage, so I counted forward 40 weeks and the baby was due on April 16, Chloe’s birthday. So I figured I was going to have this baby and it would all work out one way or another. Declan was born on Chloe’s birthday 3 and a bit years after she died, spontaneously and naturally.

I know in my heart that Chloe gave me this gift of ongoing love in the form of Declan. We are very close and have a loving and fun relationship, very much like his big sister.

I love all my boys with all of my heart but Declan’s love back to me is demonstrably different, and it reminds me of the way Chloe loved me. A new life that was the ultimate gift of hope and unconditional love and continues to help me heal and survive and love and live every day.

So, that’s my love story for today.

Its sad and glorious all in the same breath, but that’s life isn’t it, dichotomies all over the place.

The reasons or lessons behind life and it’s wily ways normally reveal themselves over time, and it’s something that I try to be aware of.

But what could possibly be the lesson from this enormous life/grief experience?

Well, there’s actually plenty, in fact there’s a list.

  1. I’m not just surviving life on this planet, I’m living the crap out of it because I know how lucky I am to be here.
  2. LOVE is all there is and it survives death. (The Beatles were indeed right)
  3. That life is precious and fragile so treat it with love & respect.
  4. That sending love out to others and surrounding yourself with people who care for you and love you, helps support you during your time here.
  5. That love is free and it’s the salve to much that life throws our way. So welcome it in.

So that’s my love story, my story of love surviving and continuing, just in a different form.

My story of the honour of parenting my kids, all four of them. My story of surviving, learning, growing and embracing this experience called life.




Facebook:  Elle Crawford Marsden





Elle Crawford Marsden is a Fleurieu loving 50+ woman, wife, mother and grandmother living on spectacular Hindmarsh Island, South Australia. Her hubby and growing family (twins soon) mean everything to her. In the business of business and life, Elle wears a few hats all of which are aligned with her core value, paying it forward and helping others.

Elle is a Heart + Body Resilience Coach through her business GROW Coaching and Pilates on the Fleurieu Peninsula, SA. Elle’s focus is to help women and men to build their inner strength, whether that be in an emotional or physical sense, through resilience coaching and body awareness education and support.

Elle also teaches Pilates mat classes in Goolwa 2 days per week through Pilates5214. She educates and coaches her students about the principles and benefits of Pilates to help improve posture, strength and body awareness. It’s  amazing functional exercise.  

Then there’s MEETS for Fleurieu Women doing work, business and life, a community for women who are juggling their lives but who are still striving to be the best versions of themselves. A place where we come together, connect and tell our stories.