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I Carried My Son

I carried my son inside me for 9 months, I carried him in my arms when he was a baby and all through his life, I carried him upstairs every night to bed and on this very day four years ago, I carried my own son to his funeral and to his grave.

Although I knew that a woman carrying a coffin isn’t the “done thing”, I had carried my son his entire life and there was no way that was going to change at his funeral. Along with his dad, his grandads and uncle, I made the decision to carry Jacks coffin with them in the church and at the graveside. I was understandably advised by several people not to carry Jacks coffin but I wanted Jack to know that he was ok and that his mummy was at his shoulder right till the very last minute, there was no way that I was going to leave him on his last hours on this earth. Again, it’s not always the "done thing" but I decided to talk about Jack at his funeral because there was no way that I could sit and listen to someone else talk about my son. Nobody knew Jack as well as I did and I felt that was the very last thing that I could ever do for him.

There are so many traditions, rituals and "done things" for funerals but a child’s funeral is something that should never happen so who says that we have to abide by these "done things". My advice to any bereaved parent would be to have your child’s funeral the way that you want it to be, not the way people say or think it should be. Our priest was amazing and supported everything that we asked for and I will be forever thankful for service that he gave our beautiful boy.

My advice to family and friends would be to let the parents have the funeral the way they see fit. If they want a burial or cremation, religious or not, that is their own choice. If the child is at home the morning/night before the funeral or at a funeral parlour, give the parents time with their child. As harsh at it sounds, that is the parents last hours their child so their time together is what’s most important, not yours. As a parent, that is time you never ever get back. From my own experience and from talking to so many bereaved families over the years I have learnt that after the funeral is the time when the reality of the death of their child death really hits. Before the funeral, the door and phone never stop, the house is full, the funeral is full but where do all these people go after the funeral? Sadly, that is also the time that most people go back to their own normal life and for many parents, that’s the time they need you most.

If you have made it to here, I know many of you will have been reading this and thinking “I can’t read anymore”, “this makes me too upset” “this make me uncomfortable” “this is morbid” but I am talking about it for that very reason. Children dying, children's funerals and the grief their parent suffer is such a taboo subject but sadly mums and dads like me go through this tragedy every day. If you know someone who has lost a child, reach out to them. Help Brightest Star to stop these taboo subjects.

Never did I imagine that I would see the day that I buried my own son, now know there is no greater saying than “a parent should never live to see the day that they have to bury their child”
Sending love and thoughts to every family that has had to go through this heartache.

Arlene, Jack’s Mummy x15731902 1216442415114374 5074671672295811861 o

Baby If You Got To Go Away

Baby if you've got to go away
I don't think
I can take the pain
Won't you stay another day
Oh don't leave me alone like this...
Don't say it's the final kiss
Won't you stay another day

I remember having to go buy a heavy jacket the night before Jacks funeral and as it was Xmas, this song was playing in the shop and all I could do was cry. That night, I knew I was going to see my son for the very last time and the following day I knew I would have to bury my own child. I remember thinking....I just wish Jack could another day as there isn't ever long enough to say a final goodbye to your child.

Jack was my only child and he was my life 24/7 so when he died, I really didn't believe that I could live one day without him. There have been times over the last four years when the sadness is so sore that I wonder if I will survive another day but someway somehow, I have got to four years without Jack. The journey hasn't been easy and I know that this journey never really ends but like hundreds of other bereaved parents out there....I am still standing. To those families that aren't as far along this journey as me, I can only wish that brings you some hope.

Many families will be facing Christmas without their child and they may need support more than ever. There are some small things you could do to help...

Put their child on a Xmas card.
Tell them that you are thinking of/missing their child.
Mention their childs name/talk about the child.
Let the family do what they want to do on Xmas day, they might want to see family etc but they also might not. Remember that is a reflection of their grief, not a refection of their feelings about you.
Let family traditions change to accommodate the missing place.
Share their laughter and their tears.

It doesn't matter how long ago a child died, xmas is about family and our children so if you can, always take the time to remember them with their family.

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Its ok to go baby

“Its ok baby, if you are ready to go now its ok, mummy is here, you don’t have to fight any longer, it’s going to be ok, mummy loves you”.

I will never forget saying those final words to jack as he lay about to die in my arms with his dad at his side.
As a parent you feel so helpless lying there knowing that your child is going to die and there is nothing that you can do to save them. For months after Jacks death, I was filled with guilt for saying that to Jack, I kept thin...king, I should have told him to keep fighting but as his mum, I didn’t want him to suffer any longer. Jack had fought to save alive for 36 hours and I remember the doctor kept saying, Jack will decide, Jack will decide when and what happens. I really do believe that Jack didn’t decide to die or did he want to die, I know Jack did all he could all to stay alive but in the end, his little body just couldn’t fight any longer.

Every parent remembers that moment when they held their new-born child in their arms for the 1st time, no parent should ever remember holding their child for the last time as they die in their arms. I would give anything to hold Jack in my arms just one more time. Everyday I feel so sad without Jack but today has been exceptionally hard reliving the final days and hours of his life and my arms ache to feel his cuddle so please cuddle your son or daughter just once more tonight for all the children that aren’t here to have one.

Both Jacks dad and I were lucky to be at Jacks side as he died but I know that some parents are not as lucky. No parent should ever have to endure such a tragedy, your son or daughter should never die. We lost our son overnight to a cold and flu virus so please be extra vigilant with your children during these winter months. I only wish I knew then what I know now.

As I was doing this post, I realised that I don’t have very many pictures of Jack sleeping. If I can give any advice, it is to take as many pictures if you children as you can. You don’t the value of a photograph until it is all you have left
I can’t thank you all enough for the support, kindness and compassion particularly over the last few days. I have read every single comment and I cannot put into the words the impact they have. Thank you for all the awareness that you have helped to raise by commenting, liking and sharing posts.

Arlene, Jack’s Mummy xxx15540788 1209227462502536 8317683459509607470 o

Go Hold Your Sons Hand

“Go hold your sons hand because you don’t know much longer you will get to do it for”

That sentence will live with me forever because that was the moment that I realised that my son was most probably going to die. I can honestly say that for me, that is probably the most beautiful way you can tell/prepare a parent that their child is going to die without using those terrifying words.

How do you tell any parent that their child is going to die? How do you explain to a parent ...that their child who was healthy the night before will never wake up again? To the doctors and nurses that tried to save my boy and who on a daily basis, try to save the life’s od someone’s son or daughter ….I thank you. Having to watch a child die and tell their parents such devastating news must be the hardest job in the world.

I remember the doctor calling me and saying “I am sorry that I couldn’t save your boy” but for me he did save my boy. Thanks to the doctor and nurses in the RAH Paisley starting Jacks heart again, I was able to spend another 36 hours with my son and have him die in my arms. I can’t even imagine how I would have felt if I had got the hospital and Jack had died without me there. For giving my son the best chance and for allowing us and our families to be there, I will be forever in the debt to the doctors and nurses at RAH Paisley and Edinburgh Sick Kids.

Jack would hold my hand all the time especially when we were on the couch watching tv and when he was going to sleep. I thought I would be able to hold his hand as he walked through the rest of his life and although I am so sad that I wont, I am so thankful that I got to hold his hand in his last hours in this earth.

Tomorrow is never guaranteed so tonight please “Go hold your child’s hand because you don’t know much longer you will get to do it for”

Arlene, Jack’s Mummy xxx15493376 1208413505917265 2494395029874380228 o