Sunday, 29 November 2015

Every where I look at the moment all I see is people getting excited and decorating for Christmas.

As a child I loved Christmas, we never had much money but my mum always used to make it a special, magical time. I will always remember the excitement I felt when my mum bought out the snowman treat jar  (cotton wool covered glass jar). There were never expensive items in it but to us it felt like treasure. 

Christmas was all about getting together with family members that you probably hadn't see since last Christmas, catching up on gossip, playing cards and watching my aunty getting very drunk.

Now, although I still enjoy Christmas, especially seeing the excitement on my granddaughters faces, Christmas has taken on a different emotion.

I'm glad that we have the granddaughters to allow us to still enjoy the festive spirit and get involved with the madness that is Christmas shopping.

Now Christmas also has the constant reminder of the journey we began on December 29th 2012. 
This year would have been Charlies 3rd Christmas, and i'm sure he would have been causing chaos with presents and wrapping paper.

Each year I have bought a different bauble to hang on our Christmas tree for Charlie. Today I purchased this years bauble. This year our tree will have a large wooden white 'C' especially for Charlie.

If you know someone who is struggling over the Christmas period please spend a little time with them. Most bereaved families just want their lost loved ones to be remembered and talked about so don't feel scared of starting that conversation.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Grief is Grief

For the last two weeks all we have seen on the television and in all the papers is the devastation caused by terrorists across the world.

I find it heartbreaking to see all these innocent families thrown into the world of grief when they were just out enjoying themselves.

The most harrowing images I have seen this week were  posts from Syria.

The images I saw this week bought tears to my eyes, there were rows and rows of children and babies lying dead with parents looking totally destroyed and distraught. 

These families are all now having to go through their grief  with the knowledge that their children didn't need to die.

We know that losing a child/baby is devastating and so painful. When you know there is a reason e.g. medical,you can try and understand the death and even come to terms with the loss after time. 
However to be in a position where you know that you should still have your baby with you, how can you even begin to understand and accept it.

My heart goes out to all those families thrown together through one common factor, the loss of their children.

These are the stories that are not always shown as they are so difficult and traumatic to see, but these innocent little lives need to be honoured and their families need support. 

No matter where you are in the world or how you lost your child, grief is grief and the right support is vital to help the families move on with their lives.

This is why we set up Charlies Angel Centre, to highlight the deficits in bereavement support  across the UK and to help those going through grief. 
I have no idea what kind of support is available in Syria but it will be desperately needed.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Yesterday it suddenly hit me that soon Charlie would have been 3 years old, every year since he died as a family we like to get together, thou as some family have moved to different parts of the country it takes a little more organizing, I have never been a great fan of christmas even when my children were little but i am even less so nowadays the 29/12/2012 changed me,
It made my loath for christmas run deeper, don't get me wrong i am nowhere near like scrooge, just the essence of what christmas should be about was lost a long time ago, whatever happened to a little gift and spending time with your family sharing a meal and laughing and talking, now days the pile of toys must be at least 4ft high with phones and tablets and laptops, but for me the run up to christmas 2012 i didn't want gifts or large amounts of food, sweets and drinks i wanted just one thing
                                                                          ONE GIFT. 
A gift that does not cost anything  i know Charlie's diagnosis was terrible and the awful words that my daughter and myself had to hear (incompatible with life)  the words that make you feel like you have been punched so hard that your legs wobble but that gift that so many people take for granted every day was totally out of our gasp, no money in the world could make this happen, you just can't nip to argos to buy this in fact no shop can ever sell it because that  GIFT was LIFE
Charlie's life was short just 19 minutes long but i have learnt over time that doesn't mean it's the end because Charlie has gone on to help others, he has helped shape future bereavement services, he has raised the profile of bereaved parents and baby loss  and how aftercare is so important.
And more importantly for me he has given me back what christmas is about because on the 29/12 of each year as a family we meet up have a meal talk laugh and share a small gift,

Sunday, 8 November 2015

I work in a primary school and deal with children from 4 to 11 every day. I find working with the kids a good way of keeping busy and is my way of working through my grief.

This week I have found myself quite emotional and missing Charlie more than usual.

I have thought that it was maybe because we are getting to the time of year when we were coming to terms with Charlies prognosis but then I realised what had triggered it.

Halloween and Bonfire Night. 

I was stood at school on Thursday evening looking out of the window at the fireworks being set off when suddenly I was hit with this overwhelming emotion.

I felt so sad that we would never have the excitement of seeing the joy on Charlies face as he watched the fireworks zoom up into the night sky. We wouldn't see his little smiley face as he made shapes with a sparkler. He wouldn't have the chance to dress up as a vampire or ghost.

All the children at school had been busy telling us about which firework display they were going to and getting so excited.

We also held a spooky day and film night. The kids were dressed in some brilliant costumes and took great delight in trying to scare the teaching staff.  

It then hit me that Carrie & the family would never have that excitement of using face paints and trick or treating with him, counting all the goodies he had been given. 
We get to see our other beautiful grand children enjoying it and to see their excitement is fantastic. 
But for Carrie and so many other mums & dads this must be another reminder of the things they will miss out on.

We all take certain things for granted and it took me by surprise how much it affected me. 
There must be hundreds of families out there going through the same emotions as me as they watch other families taking part in the festivities. 

As we get closer to the next big family celebration, Christmas, please remember all those families struggling through grief and extend a hand of friendship. 

Sunday, 1 November 2015

I am always very proud to say I have 5 beautiful grandchildren. 

They make your life so special and unlike when your children grow up you can spoil your grandchildren as much as you like, without having to deal with the day to day things. This is what all grandparents love to do.

I have been blessed with some pretty amazing ones;

Charlie, has been the family inspiration to stand up and fight for improvements to the provision of bereavement support. Without Charlie in our lives we would never have known the current inadequate support out there for bereaved parents and families.
Admittedly we would have much preferred to still have Charlie with us to be able to spoil rotten, but instead we have been given this role to take on in his name.

Throughout our journey since Charlie's death my 2 eldest granddaughters, Rhiann 9 & Amy 7, have shown such amazing compassion and empathy for other people going through the loss of a baby.
From the very start of us setting up the charity they have always wanted to be involved. They have helped at every event and have even helped arrange some. They have done things from baking cakes and helping sell them outside local shops, running tombola stalls during fund raising events and arranging for their school to hold a non uniform day. 
Last week they gave up a full day of their half term holidays to shake buckets and hand out leaflets at the Leeds General Infirmary. This time they were accompanied by their little sister, Mila 20 months, who drew in the crowds with her cheeky smile. 

Over the last 2 and a half years these amazing little girls have managed to raise £1000.