Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

'Daily battle to learn to live a life that she's not in'

Funeral service card for Abi Hone after she was killed in a car crash along with her friend Ella Summerfield, 12, and Ella's mother Sally Summerfield. Photo / Supplied
Funeral service card for Abi Hone after she was killed in a car crash along with her friend Ella Summerfield, 12, and Ella's mother Sally Summerfield. Photo / Supplied

Lucy Hone will be trying to "work through it" today on the second anniversary of her 12-year-old daughter's death.

Abi Hone, her best friend Ella Summerfield and Ella's mum Sally were tragically killed on May 31, 2014, when a Dutch driver ran through a stop sign and crashed his rented station wagon into the side of their Volvo near Rakaia on Queen's Birthday weekend.

Mrs Hone, who has a PhD in wellbeing and resilience science, said the pain of living without her funny, beautiful daughter still hurt everyday.

Lucy Hone, author of What Abi Taught Us. Photo / Supplied
Lucy Hone, author of What Abi Taught Us. Photo / Supplied

"For us the anniversary isn't particularly special, it is the daily battle to learn to live a life that she's not in. Sometimes people say we are thinking of you particularly at this time, well that's really nice but we are thinking of her all the time."

Mrs Hone has written a book called What Abi Taught Us with practical strategies of coping with grief after she realised that there was not much bereavement research.

"I was told what we would feel and that it was going to go on for years and that grief was individual, but there didn't seem to be enough information about the things that we could do to help us along that path."

Funeral service for Abi Hone at Sumner School, after she was killed in a car crash along with her friend Ella Summerfield and Ella's mother Sally Summerfield. Photo / Supplied
Funeral service for Abi Hone at Sumner School, after she was killed in a car crash along with her friend Ella Summerfield and Ella's mother Sally Summerfield. Photo / Supplied

Abi's ugg boots still sit beside her brother's at the front door of the Hone's family home in Christchurch, the bedroom has the same duvet cover and her sunglasses still hang on the rear view mirror in her dad's truck.

Mrs Hone said having reminders of Abi around was not a sign the family isn't dealing with her death, in fact, it was the opposite.

"The general thinking now from the new science of bereavement is you don't have to pack it all away. You can't eradicate that person from your life because that person is so part of your life."

Abi's clothes have been given away to friends or in some cases turned into cushions, but the most of the pictures in her room remain untouched.

She acknowledged that leaving the room untouched, while others were forced to sleep on the couch could be going too far.

Ella Summerfield, who died in the crash with her mother Sally and Abi Hone. Photo / Supplied
Ella Summerfield, who died in the crash with her mother Sally and Abi Hone. Photo / Supplied

"From my professional experience that's when you consider whether it's helping you in your daily functioning or harming you. We mainly function - we are accepting that we are going to have days where we are going to cry or breakdown or leave the house. We've got to continue to live."

Mrs Hone said one day she would probably put Abi's ugg boots away, but not while it was still a family home and her sons' boots remained there.

Through her research, she also learnt that it was OK to withdraw from grief and have a break.

"Most people have managed to cope with it so they don't end up in a therapists chair or clinically impaired by grief. And so, it's quite interesting to know that is what we isolate - we have to approach grief and then we have to withdraw again when we are ready.

"It's fine to avoid your grief when you want to and engage in distracting activities because you have to give your brain and heart a rest. And I don't think people understand it."

- NZ Herald

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