Elaine Lordan Says Losing Son Gives Her Perspective

09/08/2008 at 02:00 PM ET
Gareth Cattermole /Getty

The unimaginable grief following the death of a child is something that Elaine Lordan knows all too well, for the 42-year-old former EastEnders actress lost her son James Garrett in 2005 at the age of 12 months. For a time, Elaine admits that the home she shares with husband Peter Manuel "was becoming like a shrine and getting silly," but now the couple display "just a few photos" of James. Although they only spent a year with their son, he has forever changed their perspective on life, Elaine says.

"We will never forget him. I think about James all the time…He taught us about other people, and how much worse off so many other people can be."

James — who died of complications from a congenital diaphragmatic hernia — was "a really happy baby" who "rarely cried," Elaine says. The couple had saved up a considerable sum of money for medical procedures James would eventually need in order to correct the birth defect; together, Elaine and Peter decided to donate the funds to four children in Third World countries who needed cleft lip surgery. "We really wanted to do it for James," Elaine says. While she sometimes finds herself studying 3-year-olds, "wondering what [James] would have been doing" had he lived, Elaine says that "the old cliche about time being a great healer really is true." Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be Elaine’s only brush with loss.

Click ‘more’ to read about Elaine’s miscarriage, and why she says she won’t have more children. 

One year after the death of their son, Elaine and Peter decided to try for another baby and were thrilled when Elaine easily became pregnant. Their happiness again turned to sorrow when six weeks later, Elaine miscarried. "I don’t want to try for any more children…I had a miscarriage and I am 42 now," she says. "Anyway, I think I would be too embarrassing if I turned up at the school gates. All the other mums would be young and there would be me looking like a gran!"

Elaine says that, instead, she feels "blessed" and "incredibly lucky" to enjoy a good relationship with Peter’s three children from a previous relationship.

"They joke and call me the wicked step-mother but I am more like a big sister to them, particularly to the girls. They come to stay regularly and we go on holiday a lot with them. It’s nice."

Source: The Mirror

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Jay on

Wow! that’s so sad! I can’t imagine going through that.. but she seems like a strong woman! and it’s nice to see she enjoys her step children.

kate on

Some people seem to have so much tragedy in their lives.. the article doesnt say that Elaine also lost her mother to suicide recently. She is a very strong lady.

Mari on

How terribly, terribly devastating for the parents…a loss beyond words…

Jen on

Elaine’s mother took her own life, just before little James died…. I often wondered how she would ever recover from that double tradgedy, but thankfully it looks like she’s doing really well.🙂

MB on

How sad! Those hernias are so serious. I nearly died from one as an infant. It’s beautiful what she and her husband have done for all those children with cleft palates. It’s a wonderful way to honor James.

Louise on

Wow, what a strong, strong woman.
I admire her very much, and I’m off to give my little boy a big hug now, because I feel so blessed to have him. Thank you Elaine for reminding me of that blessing.


What a sad story, she’s been through so much, but she still remains positive and strong and I really admire that. When you hear a story like this it really makes you appreciate life a bit more.

babyboopie on

That is so incredibly sad and moving. I feel for Elaine and she has been so brave. I can’t imagine a life without my son Pierre, he brings me so much joy, and tomorrow morning I’m going to tell him I love him before he goes to school.

Rosy J on

So sad for her but at the same time so glad she has her step children to help ease the pain of her loss.

CTBmom on

Amazing strenghth and generosity….I can’t even imagine what they went through. I agree with the others who said that hearing stories like this make you appreciate your family a little more. God bless them.

mams on

How terribly sad that she has given up on motherhood when she could adopt and make a child very happy. The bit about being too old at 42 is just silly, all kinds of women have babies in their 40’s, plus if she adopted an older child she wouldn’t look like a gramma at the school yard, just another happy mum!

Lisa on

she is truly inspiring. as a mom of a toddler who was born with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia and almost didn’t make it, I admire her for raising awareness for this terrible defect. it is more common than spina bifida yet very few people are familiar with it.

SMC on

mams, I have to disagree with you that it is “terribly sad that she has given up on motherhood”. Elaine owes no one an explanation about why she has chosen not to have any more children at this point. That is her personal choice, and after the horrible time she has been through, it’s unfortunate that some people have the nerve to criticize her. By the way, she hasn’t “given up” on motherhood. She was and will always be a mother to her son, as well as a step-mother to her husband’s girls.

MB on

and mams, adoption isn’t a quick and easy process. it can take 2-3 years, and have heartache of its own. my friend was at the hospital to pick up her new baby when the bio mom changed her mind. it took my friend quite awhile to get over that. i don’t think anyone can judge elaine for not wanting to add to her family. she’s gone through a very hard time, and was blessed for a year with her son, and she has 3 step-children.

Sarita on

Because adopting has been getting a lot of media attention due to celebs adopting people seem to think it is easy and good for everyone.

If I had lost two children, I would probably be terrified of losing another, so I understand her not wanting to go there again.

Also, even if others think it is normal to have children when 45 doesn’t mean everyone has to agree with that.

Hea on

Mams – It’s not silly, it’s how she feels and a lot of people agree with her. She’s feels she’s done, respect it.

lila on

Same thing my brother died for on 1980…but he was 10 days old…God, there are 28 years between then and now…I thought they could heal it now…
Poor mother, I know what it means, I see what it is everyday through my parents’ eyes…

Teacups on

I lost my brother to complications many years ago from a severe cleft palate, plus a sister as well to infant death. I know Elaine has had deep struggles with loss, as well as the loss of her mother, and battles with alcoholism. I applaud and deeply respect her courage and her determination. Elaine, from my heart I salute you and am praying for you.

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