A woman who lost her three sisters, her brother and her father in a road traffic collision which she survived has found comfort in her suffering by adopting three ‘reborn dolls’.
Beulah Suket, 49, has suffered constant pain since the smash in 1977 in which she lost nearly her entire family.
After more than 30 years of suffering emotional and physical agony in the wake of the devastating incident, Miss Suket’s pain counsellor suggested she take up a hobby.
Miss Suket’s partner Barry Jones, 64, took her to a shop selling reborn dolls – ultra-realistic model babies carefully crafted to appear like real newborns.
Miss Suket, of Derby, who has three grown-up children, now has three female models named Tinkerbella, Rosebud and Rosemarie whom she cares for as if they were real.
She said: “Having something to focus on, to take me away from the negative thoughts and towards something interesting and positive, was hugely helpful.
“I struggle to stay positive sometimes, but having the reborn dolls in my life makes an enormous difference.”
In 1977, Miss Suket was riding in the back seat of her family’s car with her sisters Mandy, Angela and Marie and her brother Paul, with her father Pal and her mother Mary in the front seat, when it was hit head-on by a lorry which had strayed into the wrong lane.
Of the seven family members in the car, only Miss Suket and her mother survived.
Miss Suket said: “I woke up and my mother was in the room with me. I asked her where my sisters, my brother and my dad were. She simply said, ‘they’re dead’ and then, traumatised, she left the room.
“In the coming months, I had to find a way to cope. I was just 12 years old and there wasn’t the system of bereavement counselling there is in place today.”
After a prolonged period of recovery, Miss Suket was left with crippling pain. Today she suffers with chronic pain and degenerating discs in her back, requiring constant medication.
Despite her challenges, she developed a family life, having two sons and a daughter, who are now all fully grown.
But following the death of her mother Mary at the young age of 53, she faced slipping into depression.
She said: “My children flew the nest and I got divorced. I began to struggle to stay optimistic about things.”
Miss Suket met her current partner, Barry, five years ago and he was supportive as she sought lasting solutions to her unhappiness.
She said: “I saw a programme about reborn dolls on TV and I was interested in them.
“Shortly afterwards I had an appointment with the pain specialist. He said there was nothing he could do to help with the pain any more than he already was, but suggested I get a hobby.
“I knew that I wanted to find out more about the dolls.”
Mr Jones took her to a specialist shop in Newcastle, where he offered to buy her a doll.
Miss Suket then threw herself into caring for the doll, buying outfits, sleepsuits and an antique wooden cot for the girl doll, which she named Rosebud.
Today, Miss Suket has three dolls, and is planning to buy another for her 50th birthday.
Reborn Dolls, which include include a huge amount of detail and are made from premium materials to make them as lifelike as possible, can cost hundreds of pounds. Highly sought-after models can sell for as much as £1,000.
Miss Suket said: “Looking after the dolls soothed me. It really helped me, especially when Barry needed to go out or be away for a while, leaving me on my own.
“Having something to focus on other than the negative thoughts in my mind, made a huge difference. I have to work hard to be positive, and they help.
“I’d like to get a fourth one, but after that I’ll stop myself from buying any more. I have enough to care for, but I love it.
“For me, the dolls are true lifesavers.”
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