Friday, 28 August 2015

This week has been a very productive week for the  charity.

Last Thursday saw us hold our very first Community Support Group.
We all felt that it went well and that we can do this. 
We are hoping that over the coming weeks more people will attend and find friendship and support.

We then  received a message from the Leeds General Infirmary saying that our request to hold a fund raising collection day  at the hospital has been ok'd.

We think this could be a really successful money raiser and get us closer to being able to purchase our first Cuddle Cot for the Rosemary Suite.

This Tuesday I then got a phone call  from a journalist who had contacted me through Twitter, asking to come along to meet us on Wednesday to film our story.

Being filmed is always quite nerve wracking and slightly embarassing, but we do it as we know this is the way to reach a wider audience and get Charlie's story out there.

Myself, Carrie and Brad first met the journalist at my house where they filmed us talking about our story and what we are trying to achieve. They also filmed us doing everyday things around the house and with us coming in and out of our house. It all felt very weird and a little silly but we know it will be worth it if it helps our charity. We then went to the church  where we are holding our community meetings. They then asked us about our meetings and spoke with the vicar to hear his view on what we are doing. I was then asked what keeps us inspired to keep going.

This was the easiest question they had asked me all day. Charlie is our inspiration and when we feel things are getting difficult or we are feeling like we are hitting brick walls all we have to do is look at our pictures of Charlie or think about his heroic struggle to live  and that is all the motivation we need to continue on.

All in all its been a very productive week, and we hope that we continue to keep busy. 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

This Thursday sees our first Community Support Group. 

This is something we have been working hard to get started, as we know how much support is needed for bereaved parents and their families.

We are hoping that we will be able to provide support and friendship to families going through the toughest time of their lives.

The group is going to be an informal group with no pressure on anyone to speak about their loss. 
We want people to feel comfortable and if they feel able to discuss their issues then we will be there to listen. 

None of us have formal qualifications in counselling but we have the experience of having gone through our own loss. We can talk about how we are coping through our bereavement and offer a shoulder for others to lean on.

Over the last 2 and a half years, since losing Charlie, we have all found our own ways of dealing with our grief and everyone of us has our own ways of coping. 
Grief is a very individual thing and whatever way you find works for you is the right way.

Whist going through the internet, looking for information on grief and ways to deal with it I came across this list of do's and don'ts and I would like to share them with you as I think the more informed people are the more able they are to support others.


  • DO get in touch. Let your concern and care show
  • Do be available to listen, to help with the other children, or whatever else seems needed. Offer help with practical matters like house work and shopping.
  • DO say you are sorry about what has happened and about their pain.
  • DO allow them time to express their grief. Accept silences and don't force them to talk.
  • DO encourage them to be patient with themselves, don't expect too much from themselves.
  • DO allow them to talk about their baby.
  • DO give special attention to the brothers and sisters of the baby that has died.
  • DO reassure them that they did everything that they could for their baby.
  • DO encourage them to seek outside help, either from a professional or another bereaved parent.
  • DO remember the family on the baby's birthday or anniversary of their death, mothers day & fathers day. These can be very tricky dates for the family and showing that you remember the dates can help.
  • DO be patient with them and stay in touch with them.
  • DON'T let your own sense of helplessness keep you from reaching out to the bereaved family.
  • DON'T avoid the family because you feel uncomfortable or don't know what to say.
  • DON'T say you know how they feel (unless you have been through the loss of a child it is impossible to know how they are feeling).
  • DON'T push for details about the child's death. If they want to share details, listen with understanding.
  • DON'T tell them what they should feel or do.
  • DON'T impose your religious or spiritual views.
  • DON'T change the subject when they talk about their baby (it has probably taken them a lot of courage to start talking about what happened).
  • DON'T point out that at least they have another child or could have another baby, no child can ever replace the one they have lost.
  • DON'T blame anyone for the death.
  • DON'T try to find something positive about the babies death, avoid cliches. 
  • DON'T avoid mentioning the babies name out of fear of reminding them of their pain. 
  • DON'T say things like "you ought to be feeling better by now" or "it's time to move on". There are no time limits on grief or the healing process. 


Friday, 14 August 2015

what we have learnt

Thousands of parents experience child loss each year: miscarriages and stillborn births, infant death, and sometimes there are children who pass away suddenly without warning, without explanation. But no matter how one loses a child, whether by prolonged illness or sudden death, the loss of a child is perhaps the most profound, the most overwhelming, the most inconsolable of losses to deal with,

As I have learned over the two years and eight months since my grandson's passing, every individual experiences grief differently. Some days you cry until you can't cry, and then you cry some more, other days it feels like you have a heart of stone, no two days are ever the same. Since Charlie died i think everyone in our family deals with our loss in their own way, we all talk about Charlie and we include him in our lives on a daily basis, but we all find it difficult at times to talk about when he was born, the loss we all felt the pain of losing him plus the pain we felt for Carrie, everything that happened goes against everything we hoped for,It violates the natural order of things your children/grandchildren are not supposed to die before you. As many of you know there is no right or wrong way to grieve and it’s about what’s right for you and your family.

29/12/2012 changed the course of lives forever, yes it was one of the hardest and the most painful any of us have ever gone through but what also came out of that day was hope a chance for change though we didn't know this at the time, we all learnt a lot about courage and strength, Charlie had a whole pile of both, as we move forward as a family we will all carry this with us, as we campaign for better bereavement services, better bereavement care we know if we have as much strength and courage as Charlie did then we will achieve what we set out to.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Awareness and support

When you have Grief in your life, you quickly become an expert at juggling your emotions. You learn how to maintain your composure and get through each day, even though you know something too big for words is missing and sometimes, before you even see it coming, Grief shows up and changes everything. I realize that grandparents mourn twice once for the grandchild you so eagerly anticipate but perhaps even more so, you hurt like never before for your own child. 
My maternal instinct was to comfort and protect my daughter, but there was absolutely nothing I could do to fix it for her. It was the most horrible feeling in the world. I wanted to kiss away this boo-boo like I did when she was a child,
I have also come to realise that the subject of a baby dying is something that is not widely spoken about unless it’s something a person has gone through.

                                           WHY ISN'T IT TALKED ABOUT?
I can only assume the words stillbirth, miscarriage, incompatible with life syndromes, are so horrific to think and talk about that people feel if they don't talk about it and think about it then it doesn’t happen, but the reality is it does happen to thousands of people around the world each day.
I don't think bereaved parents expect or ask for many things below is just a few ways you can show you care and more importantly acknowledge their child.
     1.  Remember our children.
We want the world to remember our child or children, no matter how young or old our child was. If you see something that reminds you of my child, tell me. If you are reminded at the holidays or on their birthday that I am missing my baby, please tell me you remember him or her. And when I speak his or her name or relive memories relive them with me, don't shrink away. If you never met my baby, don't be afraid to ask about him. One of my greatest joys is talking about him or her.
2. Accept that you can't "fix" us.
An out-of-order death such as child loss breaks a person (especially a parent) in a way that is not fixable or solvable — ever! We will learn to pick up the pieces and move forward, but our lives will never be the same.Every grieving parent must find a way to continue to live with loss, and it's a solitary journey. We appreciate your support and hope you can be patient with us as we find our way.
3. Know that there are at least two days a year we need a time out.We still count birthdays and fantasize what our child would be like if he/she were still living. Birthdays are especially hard for us. Our hearts ache to celebrate our child's arrival into this world, but we are left becoming intensely aware of the hole in our hearts instead. Some parents create rituals or have parties while others prefer solitude. Either way, we are likely going to need time to process the marking of another year without our child.
No matter how many years go by, the anniversary date of when our child died brings back deeply emotional memories and painful feelings (particularly if there is trauma associated with the child's death). The days leading up to that day can feel like impending doom or like it's hard to breathe. We may or may not share with you what's happening.
4. Realize that we struggle every day with happiness.
It's an ongoing battle to balance the pain and guilt of outliving your child with the desire to live in a way that honors them and their time on this earth,As bereaved parents, we are constantly balancing holding grief in one hand and a happy life after loss in the other. You might observe this when you are with us at a wedding, graduation or other milestone celebration. Don't walk away — witness it with us and be part of our process.
5. Accept the fact that our loss might make you uncomfortable.Our loss is unnatural, out-of-order; it challenges your sense of safety. You may not know what to say or do, and you're afraid you might make us lose it. We've learned all of this as part of what we're learning about grief.We will never forget our child. And in fact, our loss is always right under the surface of other emotions, even happiness. We would rather lose it because you spoke his/her name and remembered our child, than try and shield ourselves from the pain and live in denial.
Consider it a sacred opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with someone who have endured one of life's most frightening events. Rise up with us.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Yesterday was our 2015 Family Fun Day.

The morning was busy preparing things and transporting all our stuff down to the venue.

The weather was being quite nice to us and we managed to get prepared pretty quickly and smoothly.

Our first stall holders started to arrive.

We were all starting to feel very nervous but also very excited. We just wanted it to get underway and for people to start arriving. 

Soon we had all the stalls sorted, the disco was in full swing, the bouncy castle and slide were fully functional and the cakes were all ready to be bought and eaten.

All we needed now were people.

We needn't have worried, people started to arrive just before 1pm.
You could almost feel the anxiousness leaving our bodies.

More people started to arrive and we all seemed to be getting much busier. I was on the Tombola stall and it was getting a good amount of customers.

One of our patrons, Kim Groves, arrived and she was really happy and pleased with the amount of people that had already come. She said she was very proud of what we had achieved and how much we had there for people to do.

We had a slight blip at this point as suddenly the heavens opened and we were all getting very wet. Everyone rallied round and we took all the stalls inside the venue.

Although it meant we couldn't carry on with the bouncy castle and slide or the crazy golf it didn't stop the people coming and enjoying the things that were happening inside.

Everyone who came seemed to be enjoying themselves and we saw lots of kids running around with blue and pink mouths from the candy floss they had eaten.

At 5pm we drew the Raffle. We got the children to take it in turns to pull out the tickets and the people that won prizes seemed very happy with their prizes.

To end the day we had a balloon release. Throughout the afternoon there had been red hearts for people to write a message to someone they had lost. We then attached them to the balloons. we all stood outside and let the balloons of together.

We had so many people that helped us either by donating their time and energy or by donating their service for free. 

After everyone had gone we gathered together to find out how much we had managed to raise. 

At the end of Saturday we had raised an amazing £509.78.

What a brilliant amount. We feel very proud at what we have achieved and for the continued support we have received from our supporters.

Thank You to everyone who was involved with the day, be that by spending your pennies to donating your services. Without all of you we couldn't have come closer to achieving our goal.