A Mother's Grief

Back to School...

My back to school photo doesn’t look the way that your photo will your will look My back to school photo doesn’t look the way that my photos used to look either   When I took Jacks back to school picture in P2, I never thought it would be his last. Who would? This is the kind of thing you see on tv, it doesn’t happen to you right?   Sadly that’s wrong and as hard hitting as this photo might be, this is the reality for so many families as the new school year begins. This is a reality that needs to be acknowledged and...
21.08.16 Ben XT
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Dear Newly Bereaved Parent...

Dear Newly Bereaved Parent...   To lose a child is to lose the very heart and soul of you. It is overwhelmingly disorienting. It takes a long, long time to find yourself again. It takes a long time to grow new life around the chasm of such grave loss. It takes a long time to grow beauty from ashes. This will likely be the hardest thing you'll ever do. Survive this. And eventually, maybe even thrive again.   At times it will feel virtually impossible. You'll wonder how a human being can survive such pain. You'll learn you know how to defy the impossible. You...
21.08.12 Ben XT
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The "First" I'll Never Forget

This is one “first” that I will never ever forget   The emotions and pain were so raw and looking back, I’m not quite sure how I made it through those times… But… i did and I am still here to share my experiences of this awful journey called “Child Loss” I cannot quite believe that I wrote this post on 11th August 2013 8 long years without my beautiful boy.   So this is possibly the worst dreaded Sunday feeling that I have ever had and this is one “first” that I have been dreading for a long time. Tomorrow marks the start of a...
21.08.11 Ben XT
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Who am I?

For years after my son Jack died, every time I looked in the mirror it was like looking at a stranger. I would look at my reflection and think, “I don’t know you. Who are you?” Even now, nine years since his death, from time to time, I still look at my reflection and miss the woman I was before he died. I miss everything that we had together. What I miss the most is my fearlessness. The woman I was didn’t carry the anxiety and worry, the second-guessing and fear that I often find myself caught up in now. That old me knew she...
21.08.02 Ben XT
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I Am Not a Normal Mum

I look like any normal mum but I know that I am different. People cannot see the pain in my heart that I carry every day. You never really know someone’s life or story just by looking at them. I am not a normal mum, I am a bereaved mum.   Early on I felt their stares, watching for signs of how I was coping with my loss. All eyes on me… wondering how I could possibly go on when they knew there was no way they could. Time slowly passes. I was known as the mum whose son died.   There was an awkwardness in our interactions – like...
21.07.20 Ben XT
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Summer Holidays

You feel sad because it’s the start of the summer holidays, you feel sad because you have to arrange childcare, you feel sad because your child gets bored, you get sad because your child wants to do things and you get sad because of the stress and cost of it all.   I feel sad because my child isn’t here to do all of those things. I feel sad because this is the 3rd summer that my child has missed. I feel sad because I wish I could have just one more summer holiday with my child.   I know the holidays can be...
21.06.25 Ben XT
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It Is Ok to Miss Them

I always thought that grief was something that came and then went. It was something that happened in the aftermath of a tragedy. And then, as with most things in life, it healed and you moved on. Then I lost my son and my whole world changed forever.   Grief consumed my entire being and there was no sign of it letting up. It took me a long time to realise that my new normal would be living side by side with grief. It took me even longer to get comfortable with it.   When I first lost my son Jack I wondered how I would survive? How...
21.06.16 Ben XT
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Difficult Questions..

      Is Summer your only one? Do you have any other kids? How many children do you have?   These are the kind of questions that we ask daily, often with no thought. It’s a simple conversation starter, especially when you see my toddler in tow. But, for parents, it’s complicated and for so many years, I have struggled with the answer to these questions.   Weeks after Jacks death, an older lady asked me if I had any children. It was the first time that I had been asked that question and, in that moment, I really didn’t know what to say. I didn’t...
21.06.08 Ben XT
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"Say Their Name" By Emily...

I Am A Bereaved Mother   Early on I felt their stares, watching for signs of how I was coping with your loss.   All eyes on me… wondering how I could possibly go on when they knew there was no way they could.   Time slowly passes. I’m known as the mum whose kid died.   There’s an awkwardness in our interactions – like you’re afraid it’s something you can catch. I assure you it’s not.   You’re not sure what to say. It seems the most comfortable thing to do is pretend nothing happened. Yet, that doesn’t really work either.   I still feel all eyes on me. When will she go back...
21.05.04 Ben XT
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The "Sickness" Called Grief

Yes, you will always be broken. But even a broken crayon can still colour…….. This “Sickness” is Called Grief   “They should be better by now. They need to move on. They should be over it at this point. This is starting to get unhealthy.”   In my world, I hear comments like this far too often. I hear it echoed from defeated faces feeling shame and guilt because according to the world swirling around them, they are doing this thing, this “sickness” called grief “wrong.”   Our society is broken. Our society is broken in the way it handles grief and those deep within its trenches. Our society is broken in the way...
21.04.06 Ben XT
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Greif Brain

“Learning To Live With Grief Brain”   Losing my son has changed the way I think. I don’t just mean my perspective on life has changed, I mean the actual cognitive process of thinking, “grief brain”. Grief brain is what happens to your exhausted mind after the loss of a loved one. I’m not sure how much scientific evidence there is to back it up, but I’ve read plenty of anecdotal accounts to know that it’s a thing. For me, grief brain settled in after the death of my son.   At first, I thought my memory lapses and my inattentiveness could be chalked up to the exhaustion...
21.03.29 Ben XT
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Why We Share Our Grief

This is the reason why I share my journey through grief on social media. This is the reason why I set up Brightest Star in the first place......so that people wouldn’t feel as alone as I did as a newly bereaved parent.   Angela kindly allowed me to post this message that she sent me on Mother’s Day.   I know some some of the posts aren’t always easy to read, they aren’t always easy to write but if they can help just one family then our stories are so important to share. There is still such a taboo around grief/child loss and only together...
21.03.16 Ben XT
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Mother's Day

You and I have never met, but yet we visit the same place every day We both walk down the same unguided dark path. We cling to memories as if it’s our life support. Our minds drift off to that same place, the place that temporarily distracts us from our grief.   You’re the one person who knows the way my stomach feels — the unhealed knot in the center of my gut. You know the hollowness in my heart. Your tears are the same shape as mine, and they roll off the cheek without warning. You smile just like me. It’s a smile that...
21.03.14 Ben XT
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Your Big Brother Loves You

“Your big brother loves you,”I often tell my other children, though I question if they understand.They were not here when he both lived and died.He was my first. He is the big brother, they are his little sister and step sister.Talking to what many call my “rainbow” children about their big brother is something that has always been important to me.I want them to know about him, but parenting after loss offers challenges.I want them to know the love we still carry in our hearts for their big brother, the brother they will never meet.I often hear others question when...
21.03.13 Ben XT
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A Stone in Our Pocket

“The best way I can describe grieving over a child as the years go by is to say it’s similar to carrying a stone in your pocket.   When you walk, the stone brushes against your skin. You feel it. You always feel it. But depending on the way you stand or the way your body moves, the smooth edges might barely graze your body.   Sometimes you lean the wrong way or you turn too quickly and a sharp edge pokes you. Your eyes water and you rub your wound but you have to keep going because not everyone knows about your stone...
21.02.08 Ben XT
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Breaking the Taboo

Before Christmas I was given this candle by two of my school pupils. I was so touched by their thoughts and kindness at what would have been such a happy time of year for them. Many of our young people get bad press but I’m very privileged to teach some remarkable teenagers.   Going back to school after I lost Jack was a massive part of my journey. I dreaded the very thought of it but in actual fact, it was one of things that probably saved me. I needed some kind of purpose and routine in my life and the people...
21.02.05 Ben XT
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Exhausted

I’m exhausted. I don’t mean in the way that I’m not getting enough sleep, or I have too much to do in the day-to-day. I’m tired of being bereaved. Tired of my son being dead.   I want out. I want to go back to being a “normal mum” who didn’t make decisions about death, funerals, or what to do with a headstone, or how to celebrate birthdays for a child who isn’t here to celebrate or worrying every day that my other child might die if she become sick or catch a virus. I didn’t sign up for this life, and I’d like the one I...
21.01.24 Ben XT
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Still Grieving

I’m not political at all but this post really stuck with me and I hope it sticks with you too. I still talk about my son who died in 2012 and I always will because grief never dies   Your grief is a sign of your love for the person you have lost. I really hope with everything that has went on this past year, we can start to normalise grief. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, There is no time limit, You do it your way  
21.01.23 Ben XT
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We Did Not Fail

As parent, a mother or a father we feel our main role is to protect our children and to keep them safe, regardless of their age. I look at this picture of Jack & I and I am reminded of how his whole life, I tried to hold on tight to Jack, I tried to keep him safe, I tried to be best mum that I could be.   Since Jacks death, I have really struggled with the fact that as his mum, I couldn’t prevent his death, I couldnt save him, I didn’t see any signs that he was sick and...
21.01.14 Ben XT
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A New Year Without You

Starting a new year after losing my son Jack seemed inconceivable 💔How could I move forward into a new year without Jack, knowing he would be missing from 365 days of that year? Though it has been over 8 years now, each January, when the calendar turns I am taken back to that first year without Jack. 2012 started like what seemed to be an ordinary, normal year and ended as the most painful, traumatic year of my life. We started the year moving into our new house and we ended the year with me holding you in my arms as...
21.01.03 Ben XT
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Greif Isn't Linear

Grief is not linear line of emotions. It is not a connect-the-dots picture where the end result is clearly seen. Grief is not a map that you easily follow by reaching marked destinations. There are so many things that grief isn’t.   Through my life experiences and especially the loss of my son, I’m starting to truly understand what grief is.... It is completely unpredictable, just like life is.   Before I resided permanently in the bereaved parent world, I thought constant sadness had to be present in grief. I didn’t understand how a person could smile, laugh, be genuinely content and still grieving. You’re supposed to be sad. You...
20.12.30 Ben XT
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Happy 14th Birthday, Jack

When you were placed into my arms 14 years ago today, I never imagined that your life would turn out this way   Your birthdays shouldn’t be spent this way, you deserved so much more and you had your whole life ahead of you   We had 6 years of love, laughter and an unbreakable bond. We had a bond that most people could only dream of and together we took on the world as mummy girl and baby boy.   I love you, Happy 14th Birthday Son xxx   Watch Jack's video here     
20.12.25 Ben XT
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I Wish

My wish for Christmas is that you know how much I love you. Wherever you are, I hope my love surrounds you.   I want you to know you’re so special to me and that I’m grateful to have had you. That you know the place as my firstborn will always be yours.   I wish for you to feel the depth of my love for you. For Christmas, I wish that you’re not alone.   So, I imagine a beautiful celebration with all of your friends who also left their families too soon. I envision you surrounded by family who gives you the magical Christmas that I long to...
20.12.24 Ben XT
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Sacrifice for What's Right

8 years ago today, I left my son in a mortuary in Edinburgh, over 50 miles away from home, not knowing when I would be able to see him again.   Jack needed to be transferred back to the Glasgow mortuary and have his post-mortem before we could see him again. I remember feeling so empty leaving without him and also so guilty that he was so far from home, alone in a mortuary and I wouldn’t be able to visit him when I wanted and needed to.   Jack was in Edinburgh Sick Kids because Yorkhill intensive care was at full capacity. If Jack...
20.12.20 Ben XT
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Dear Mum

Dear Mum,   I am still here.   I am here for you when desperation creeps in between the spaces of our new realities.   I am not gone. Every tear you shed, I collect it.   I gather the rain, and to each drop I give life to the memories you and I have shared.   I step into your dreams when you least expect it, and if you look hard enough, you can find me there. Say my name.   Remember me in the quiet moments.   They will sustain you when the world intrudes and tries to drown out the sound of the conversations that you still have with me when you...
20.12.19 Ben XT
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Hold Their Hand

Nothing prepares you for the words.... “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...
20.12.18 Ben XT
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Never Take Anything for...

As I put Summer J to bed tonight, I didn’t take today, tonight or tomorrow for granted. When her brother Jack went to bed on 17th December 2012, I took it for granted that I would see him in the morning. Life took a very different turn the following morning and I never saw my baby boy awake again.   Life is fragile, life is unpredictable, life can’t be take for granted, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. There is no doubt that this year has been difficult for so many people, everyone has different views on Covid but if we are lucky enough to be alive, then...
20.12.17 Ben XT
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Why We Will Never Get Over It

“Why We Will Never Get Over It” Unfortunately bereaved parents get judged often. By those who know us and by those who don’t. We are often criticized and pathologized for grieving (for remembering our child.) People erroneously think we are stuck, depressed, and/or clinically-something, if we still cry, ache, and miss our child; if we still remember them; if we continue speaking their name and grieving for them– especially if the grieving has been going on “too long.” Too long could mean 3 months, 6 months, a year– a decade, or longer. It couldn’t possibly be healthy to grieve THAT long,...
20.12.15 Ben XT
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When You're Ready

When your ready, Take a moment, Gather your family, Share your memories, Light that candle and Speak their name Every year since I lost Jack, I’ve went to the Togetherness and Hope Service. The sick kids Chaplin Jim Meighan puts on the most beautiful annual service to remember all the children that have died. The service is the one place where I can go and I don’t need to wear that mask or pretend I’m ok. In all honestly, I probably cry through most of the service and the beautiful music because it’s a place where I feel that I can cry, it’s ok to cry, it’s...
20.12.13 Ben XT
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Dear Friend

Dear Friend,   I’m so sorry we met this way. I’m so sorry that you know this pain. That you too have experienced the heartbreak of having to say goodbye to your child. I would never want this for anyone.   This “club” that we’re in is by far the last place any of us ever could have imagined being a part of and I wish more than anything that I didn’t have to share the title of bereaved mother/parent with you.   We may have met in person through Brightest Star, through a mutual friend, maybe at the cemetery Or maybe we’ve never actually been in the same...
20.12.06 Ben XT
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Christmas Tree

Because Jack died days before Christmas Day, this time of year has always been emotionally challenging for me.   The year that Jack died, it took me over two months to take the Christmas tree down because I wanted my house to stay the same way that it was when he left for the very last time The following year, I couldn’t bear to put it back up or even acknowledge that it was Christmas without Jack. I had no interest in Christmas, it was now a time of year that I associated with nothing but sadness and heartbreak.   The following year I...
20.12.02 Ben XT
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Children’s Grief Awareness...

Some of our greatest and most treasured memories are those of spending time with our brothers and sisters as children. We remember the ways we would play, the ways we would fight, and the ways we would love each other.   However, instead of looking back on fond memories, there are so many brothers and sisters like Summer J who are left with one lingering question - What If? What if their brothers and sisters would have been alive when they were growing up. How would things be different? How would they be the same? Instead of those happy memories, these storytellers are left with the...
20.11.22 Ben XT
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Libby's Message x

No parent should ever need to leave their sick or dying child alone in an ambulance. It’s an experience that will haunt me until the day that I die   Although the years of fundraising and campaigning were exhausting.... Every now and then I receive a message like this and it makes me say to myself....every ounce of hard work, worry and tears were worth it......   I just wanted to say thank you My daughter Sophie has a life limiting condition of full trisomy 13. She is 5. Although she has been relatively well until a month ago when she was admitted to hospital in...
20.11.03 Ben XT
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You Have a Chance

This is the reality of what “just a virus” can do This is the reality of what “just a virus” can do to a healthy, fit 5 year old boy.   If someone had told me 8 years ago... Theres a deadly virus going around.... If you .... stay at home... stay away from people... wear a mask .... Then you will protect your son, yourself and your family. I would have literally done anything to keep my boy safe   But Jack didn’t get that chance and I didn’t get that chance to protect him. We are all getting a chance right now to protect our families from a deadly...
20.10.25 Ben XT
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Addressing Your Mental Health

It’s really no surprise that child loss and mental health go hand and hand. It’s the most unnatural, heartbreaking and life changing experience that any parent can endure and my mental health changed FOREVER the day that my son Jack died. The day after this photograph was taken in 2017, was the day that I realised I needed help. It is true when they say “never judge a book by its cover”. On the outside, I looked happy but on the inside, I was struggling to cope with day-to-day life and dealing with my overwhelming grief and emotions. I had just marked...
20.10.11 Ben XT
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Love & Grief

I never wanted to have this personal relationship with grief that I do. I never really thought I would know this heartbreaking, life changing type of grief. I never thought it would become my life partner. I never thought it would become a part of my soul and stay forever in my heart. This grief is like the blood that pumps through my body. It has become part of who I am.   I’ve learned that grief doesn’t keep track of time. Although seven years have passed since your death, this grief is as powerful as it was in the very beginning. I’ve learned that the first...
20.09.13 Ben XT
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Do You Know What It Is Like?

Do you want to know what it is like to lose a child? Sit down, let's talk, this could take quite a while. At first you are in shock, and then you are in denial. And pretty soon reality puts your emotions on trial. You lose so much, but the first you lose is your smile. To others you seem okay, but you really are not. The grief that you feel is only the start Because your child now lives only in your heart You treasure each picture that is all you have got You cling to memories that you thought you forgot You know your life will never again...
20.08.30 Ben XT
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The New School Year

Every new school year brings a mixture of emotions for those who have lost their child. I can still vividly remember this day and this blog 7 years ago and in all honesty, I didn’t think I would make it this far but I have. As the pupils start school again tomorrow, I’ll have Jack in my heart and I’ll keep going because he didn’t get the chance to 💔So this is possibly the worst dreaded Sunday feeling that I have ever had and this is one “first” that I have been dreading for a long time. Tomorrow marks the start...
20.08.11 Ben XT
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Cherishing The Struggles

When you first have children they talk about the challenges of parenting....the struggles of a baby waking in the night, the toddler who won’t stay in their bed, the cost of childcare, injuries from sports...   Having to take off work to pick them up from school when they don’t feel well, helping them with homework, a messy house, the never ending laundry, the cost to buy school clothes, packing their lunches....   You watch their eyes light up on Christmas morning....and try to soak in the magic of those moments.   You coach them in sports, rushing to practices and ballgames...and tote them all over the country...
20.08.06 Ben XT
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School Uniforms

There’s no doubt that money is tight for everyone just now. So many people been have been furloughed or lost their jobs and the expense of new school uniforms is an added worry for so many families.   As I said last year when I started this campaign, I have always really struggled with seeing the new school uniforms in the shops. I can’t help but think...I should be out buying Jack his. Many times I have stood crying in the middle of the shops as I watch mums try the uniform on their children. Many times I have had to walk out...
20.07.28 Ben XT
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I Just Miss You

I just miss you. There really is no other explanation for the heaviness felt in my heart. It is as simple and yet as complicated as that – I just miss you. What I wouldn’t give for one more moment. One more moment to hold you. To look into your eyes and tell you how much you are loved. What I wouldn’t give to go back in time to the moment where I last held you. Where I was able to kiss you and where I was forced to say goodbye. Because I would relive all the pain of what came...
20.07.19 Ben XT
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Holidays Without You

“I couldn’t protect him from that virus”Reading this again made my stomach sink.7 years ago I was talking about viruses and look at what we are living in now 💔 So the summer holidays have begun and unlike most people, this was a time that I was truly dreading. Last year Jack was super excited about finishing primary 1, he couldn’t believe that he had 6 weeks off school, a whole 42 days. That last day of term was like Christmas Eve, he came bouncing out those school gates with the biggest smile as we looked forward to our summer holidays...
20.06.30 Ben XT
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Jack's Toys

Packing Jacks toys away was one of the most heart wrenching things I have had to do. I kept Jacks room and toys the same way for over 4 years after he died and to be honest, if I hadn’t moved to a new house, I don’t know if or when I would have packed his toys away. Each toy brought back memories of Jack, people will often tell you to “think of the memories” “remember the good times” but what people don’t realise is that those memories are so painful because they are reminders that your child is gone, they...
20.06.28 Ben XT
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Remembering You Is Easy

Remembering you in easy, I do it every day, Missing you is the heartache that never goes away. On the night that Jack died in my arms, I did not believe that I would survive 7 and a half hours without him. Today, I find myself having survived 7 and a half years without him and I am not quite sure how I got to here Over the last few months, I have had so many conversations with newly bereaved parents and all of them have asked….. “How have you survived all these years without your child?” “How do you cope with the pain?” “Does this...
20.06.19 Ben XT
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A Difficult Father's Day

It is very true that bereaved mums and dads are part of a club that nobody wants to join. Truth be told, when we had children, none of us ever thought that we would join this club. Nor did any of ur ever want to   Fathers Day is a difficult day for any bereaved parent and it can be difficult to know what to buy them. It can be actually be really difficult to know what to buy any dad on Fathers Day. This year, why not sponsor a “Hand in your Heart” or our Superhero Teddies in memory of your...
20.06.19 Ben XT
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Some Things Make Me Feel...

I would never have thought that I would class myself as “lucky” when it comes to anything at all to do with losing my son Jack. Over the years and having spent time with so many bereaved parents, I know that there are many things that I can think of myself as “lucky” for. The hospital taking a copy of jacks hand and foot is something I feel lucky to have, I got his hand print engraved onto a necklace and I carry that around my neck and rub his hand every day. So many families don’t receive a copy of...
20.06.10 Ben XT
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Our Memory Boxes

Holding Jacks hand when he was dying and holding him in my arms as he died is something that I will always be so grateful for. I can’t even imagine how the families who have lost loved ones to Coronavirus must feel not being able to hold their parents/sons/daughters/loved ones hand as they die.As a charity, we feel we need to help people in this position. More than ever, just now is a time to think of others. It was my intention to place these keepsakes in our memory boxes but for now, I feel these could also give comfort to families...
20.05.17 Ben XT
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Our Real Life Superheroes

This photo makes me think of so many things when it comes to our doctors, nurses and my Bravest Avenger Jack…I really do believe that the doctors and nurses in our hospitals etc fighting Covid 19 must have superhero courage and strength to go to work every day knowing they are literally put their life in danger. As most of you know, my son Jack was obsessed with the Avengers, especially the Hulk and he most definitely had the strength of the Hulk as he fought to stay alive. The Avengers are on Jacks gravestone because to us, he was and...
20.04.25 Ben XT
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Birthdays Before and...

Birthdays Before and Birthdays Now...You’ll never know how much I love youAnd though you had to goI’m always thinking about youIf I could take your placeId do it a thousand timesNow there’s a u-shaped hole in my lifeAnd noI won’t be the sameYou taught me to be braveAnd although it wasn’t for longYou told me what love isNo I won’t be the sameYou saw me to be braveAnd although it wasn’t for longYou taught me what love isFor just less than a yearI never slept at allAnd I’ll never sleep againIf I could see you once moreYou were too good...
20.04.16 Ben XT
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It is NOT “JUST" A VIRUS

An “everyday” cold and flu VIRUS killed my beautiful, healthy 5 year old son Jack.   It is not “JUST” a virus…..   Jack was healthy one night, fighting for his life the next night after the Adenovirus attacked his heart and made it stop and the following night, he died in my arms, six days before his 6th Birthday on Xmas day.   It is not “JUST” a virus….. What do people not understand about this?   Like Coronavirus, “Adenovirus symptoms can include fever, sore throat, cough and runny nose. It can cause mild to severe illness, though serious illness is less common. People with weakened immune...
20.03.28 Ben XT
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A Difficult Mother's Day

Today is a very different Mother’s Day, a very difficult Mother’s Day for so many. People all over the world will have lost their mums from Covid19 in the last few weeks, People all over the world are worrying if they will lose their mums to Covid19 in the coming weeks, People all over the world couldn’t be with their mums today because they are doing the safe thing and staying away.   Many will be mourning their Mums today, Many will be mourning their Grans, sisters and Aunts today, Many people will be mourning the children that they long to have, But in the past, it never...
20.03.22 Ben XT
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The Little Things Count

I’m not a the type of person to ask for help or to ask people to do things for me. Im certainly not the type of person who would ask people to do things in memory of Jack. I suppose I’ve always seen it as, if people want to do something in his memory, then they will. If I ask, then it’s almost making them feel that they have to do it and that defeats the point.   When Jack first died, everyone who knew Jack was at 10ks etc. but as the 7 years have gone on, the numbers have dropped and dropped...
20.03.03 Ben XT
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You Can’t Fix a Broken...

“You can’t fix a broken heart when a part of it is missing” How very true that quote from a good friend is. Everyone wants to find the magic fix for you when your child dies but the reality is.... there is no fix for this pain. It’s an unimaginable, indescribable pain that lives with you in your head and heart everyday. All we need is people to walk beside us on this horrendous journey, We need people to hold us when the pain is too much handle,We need people to listen when we want to talk about the pain we feel, We...
20.03.01 Ben XT
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There Is No Right or Wrong...

He lives in you, he lives in me,He watches over everything we see,Into the waters, into the truth, In your reflection, he lives in you 💔 Last week we granted our final Christmas wish by sending bereaved parents and siblings to see the Lion King Musical in Edinburgh. Summer J is too young to go so I decided to buy Summer J this lion king outfit and both her and Jack Lion King figures. Jack absolutely loved all of his animal figures when he was young and I feel that a part of Jack is with Summer J when she plays...
20.02.24 Ben XT
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A Grieving Mother

I can totally relate to this, when I see Jacks shoes or clothes, my stomach sinks and heart hurts. It’s a stark reminder of the reality that he’s gone and his belonging are now memories 💔 Sending love and strength to everyone missing their child xx  
20.02.22 Hayleyxt
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Happy Birthday Baby Boy

Happy Birthday Baby Boy....Officially a teenager ... you should be here to celebrate today 💔You were best Christmas present any mummy could ask for 💚Loved and missed every day xxx
19.12.25 Hayleyxt
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The Most Precious Video I...

As everyone prepares for Christmas, I’m thinking of my beautiful boy who is with Santa as his No1 elf.This is the most precious video I have of Jack because of its ending.My heart broke as I watched it because I didn’t remember that was how it ended 💔That turned out to be my last ever video of Jack and I’m just so glad I have this video to cherish.Its the only video I have of Jack cuddling me and what I would give for just one more cuddle with my boy. You see he’s not just a little boy on...
19.12.24 Hayleyxt
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The Heart Of A Lion

He lives in youHe lives in meHe watches overEverything we seeIn every creatureIn every starIn your reflectionHe lives in you During his final days on this earth, Jack most definitely had the heart of a lion and the fight of a lion trying to stay alive.Against the odds, his heart started again after 7 minutes of resuscitation at the hospital, despite the fact we don’t know how long his heart had stopped before he even got to the hospital.Although unconscious, his heart fought for another 40 hours to stay alive until his body just couldn’t fight anymore.I remember the doctor telling...
19.12.19 Hayleyxt
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Always You Will Be Part Of Me

Always you will be part of meAnd I will forever feel your strengthWhen I need it mostYou're gone now, gone but not forgottenI can't say this to your faceBut I know you hear I'll see you againYou never really leftI feel you walk beside meI know I'll see you again When I'm lost, I'm missing you like crazyAnd I tell myself I'm so blessedTo have had you in my life, my life I'll see you againYou never really leftI feel you walk beside meI know I'll see you again Jack Kennedy 
19.12.19 Hayleyxt
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Jack Kennedy 🌟

They say memories are golden, well, maybe that is true.�I never wanted memories, I only wanted you.�A million times I cried.�If love alone could have saved you, you never would have died.�In life I loved you dearly, in death I love you still.�In my heart you hold a place no one else could fill. Jack Kennedy 🌟19th December 2012, the day our hearts broke forever 💔 Jacks Memory Tree 
19.12.19 Hayleyxt
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Glasgow to Edinburgh

If anyone has ever travelled from Glasgow to Edinburgh in rush hour traffic, you will know how stressful and long that journey can be.Imagine that same journey but your child is unconscious and fighting for their life in an ambulance,Imagine you’ve not been allowed in that ambulance with them,Imagine your not by their side holding their hand,Imagine your in a car, unaware where the ambulance is and unaware if your child is still alive or has died without you holding their hand,Imagine your child does die the following day and for the rest of your life, you need to live...
19.12.18 Hayleyxt
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Real Life Superheroes

I have the NHS to thank for the care they gave Jack when he died but I also have them to thank for his little sister Summer J. We received the best care possible when going through IVF and during Summer J’s delivery at the Queen Elizabeth. The doctors and midwives knew about Jack and my anxiety about something happening to Summer J during the delivery and they went above and beyond to make my whole pregnancy and birth as calm as it could be. I can honesty say her arrival was one of the most beautiful things I have...
19.12.16 Hayleyxt
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My Boy Always Will Be The...

My boy always will be the missing piece of our family. Life will never be complete without him 💔 What happened to that little boy?How did he die?What can I do to stop it from happening my child? Just some of the questions I’ve seen on my previous posts this week. I don’t want to scare people but for those who don’t know, this is Jacks story 💔 On 17th December 2012, I had waved my happy and healthy five year old son Jack off to school all ready for his Christmas party and pantomime. At that time, I had no idea that...
19.12.16 Hayleyxt
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To The Doctors & Nurses

As the days approach to the anniversary of Jacks death, I have been reliving those last few days of his all too short life. Your job as parent is to protect your children so when they die, you are filled with…. “What if’” “Should we have” “Could we have” Was there something we could have done?Was there something we should have done?Should we have known that there something was seriously wrong with Jack?When I took this photo of him sleeping, I had no idea that life was going to change forever. I have been thinking about the doctors and nurses that worked on...
19.12.15 Hayleyxt
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Christmas

This time 3 years ago, my life was like many of yours. I was a mum to a handsome 5 year old little boy who was excited for Xmas. I was doing all the things that you will be doing with your children just now, decorating the house, writing letters to Santa, visiting Santa, watching xmas movies, xmas shopping, planning xmas day and trying to do everything to give my son the best Christmas. Little did I know that my life was about to change forever, my son was never going to see that Christmas or any Christmas after that....
19.12.14 Hayleyxt
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My Christmas Wish

It’s been an emotional weekend to say the least.Yesterday and today we sent over 45 families to see Santa at Hamleys and 160 families to the Pantomine in memory of their children.The feedback from the parents has been truly humbling and on their behalf, thank you to everyone who donated.It’s been such a lovely experience organising something as special at such a difficult time of year. To see the smiles on both you and your children’s faces, has made my weekend. Today, we had some quiet time to reflect, think of Jack and spend time with other bereaved families the Royal...
19.12.01 Hayleyxt
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Like Every New Mum, I Am...

On the left, is my son Jack who died suddenly aged 5, from an “every day cold and flu virus”.On the right, is his baby sister Summer J who I am fiercely protective of. Like every new mum, I am protective of my baby but having lost jack so suddenly to a virus, which he probably caught from someone else, almost gives me a “valid reason/excuse to be overprotective. But as a parent, we shouldn’t need a reason or a justification for being protective of our children. I have decided to write this post for all the mums and new mums out...
19.11.18 Hayleyxt
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Precious Last Memories

This is one of my last precious memories and videos of Jack. We had gone for breakfast with Santa at Hamleys and as you can see, he was absolutely buzzing for Xmas and his 6th Birthday on Xmas Day. It is so sad seeing how excited Jack was and knowing that he never lived another 3 weeks to see that Xmas. As I watch this video, I struggle to comprehend Jack could go from this happy, healthy little boy to lying in a hospital bed, fighting for his life to gone forever. Seeing him, talk and move makes this whole nightmare...
19.10.08 Hayleyxt
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The Bravest Thing I Ever Did...

The bravest thing I ever did was continue my life....When all I wanted was to die.... Since losing my beautiful boy Jack, there have been many times when I have felt and thought that I couldn’t go on any longer.There has been many times when the pain of his death has been so unbearable that I’ve just wanted to close my eyes and die. Several times, people who haven’t lost their child have said to me....“I’d kill myself if I lost my child”“I just couldn’t live without my son or daughter” I used to think to myself, there are right, why am I...
19.09.10 Hayleyxt
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Back To School Photo

My back to school photo doesn’t look like yours,It used to look like yours but it doesn’t anymore,My son Jack used to be standing at the front door with his new school uniform on, But he isn’t anymore💔 My back to school photo changed forever the day my beautiful Jack died aged 5,Now, there will forever be a missing piece in my photos. This will be the photo for thousands of families over the coming weeks...Families who have lost a child,Families who can’t have children,Families who are trying to have children,Families who have a sick child. Like myself, all of those families...
19.08.14 Hayleyxt
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School Uniforms

Since I lost Jack, I have always hated the summer holidays.One part of the summer holidays that I have always really struggled with is seeing the new school uniforms in the shops. I can’t help but think...I should be out buying Jack his.Many times I have stood crying in the middle of the shops as I watch mums try the uniform on their children.Many times I have had to walk out of the shops because I can’t cope with hearing parents and their children arguing over the uniforms.I know it can be stressful but tomorrow is never guaranteed and sometimes...
19.07.28 Hayleyxt
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Brother & Sister Forever...

Brother and sister forever joined at the heart 💙💕 When Summer J is old enough I’ll be able to tell her all about this ambulance and all the kind people that fundraised to make it possible. I hope Summer J never needs a journey in Jacks ambulance but if she ever does, I’ll be forever grateful that I’ll get to be by her side.Until the day that I die, I’ll never forget the moment Jack was driven away in that ambulance to Edinburgh without me. I’ll never forget the journey in the car from Glasgow to Edinburgh wondering if he was still...
19.07.26 Hayleyxt
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Special Occasions

Special occasions or family get togethers are always emotionally challenging when you have lost your son or daughter.Every day of your life, you miss their presence but it’s often more prominent when everyone is together and your child is the one that is missing. Yesterday was Summer Js christening and the first family event we have had since her arrival.It’s a personal choice but I always feel the need to include Jack in these special days.It might make people uncomfortable but there’s no way that I could not include my son in my life and in special occasions. I used to...
19.06.24 Hayleyxt
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Jack's Ambulance

When someone you love dies, many people look for signs that their loved one is still with them. Whether it’s white feathers, robins or rainbows, people look for signs that give them comfort, signs that their loved one is still around them. Since my son Jack died, I’ve never really been a person that’s actively looked for signs, I suppose I was too scared to rely on signs, incase I didn’t get them when I needed them most. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when I would have wanted nothing more than some kind of sign that Jack was...
19.06.12 Hayleyxt
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My First Born

Whether you have no children, one child,or ten children, nothing or nobody can ever replace the child you lost 💔 I’m incredibly lucky to have been given the gift of another child but I will always have my first born.I can’t watch him grow up or carry him in my arms but I will always carry him in my heart. Sadly mother’s and fathers across the country lose their children every day, I never knew this fact or thought for one minute that it would happen to my son and I but it did. Bereaved parents exist all around you, be the...
19.06.02 Hayleyxt
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Hope

I know what it’s like to lose a child and feel like part of you has died,I know what it’s like to lose a baby when your pregnant and wonder if you will ever be able to fall pregnant again and safely carry a baby to full term,I know what it’s like to long to be a mum, struggle to conceive and wonder if it will ever happen,And I also know that should never gave up HOPE. This exact time last year, Paul and I had just completed our first cycle of IVF.16 eggs were retrieved, 12 fertilised and only one...
19.04.18 Hayleyxt
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Some Perspective During a...

These last few weeks I’ve had vivid flashbacks of the final hours of Jacks life and how hard he fought to stay alive. I know my boy didn’t want to die, I know he fought as hard as his little body could, I know he loved life, I know he loved his family and I know I would have done anything to save him. During this lockdown, we are all guilty of feeling sorry for ourselves for being “stuck in the house” “having nothing to do” “not able to see our friends and family” But....when I look at Jacks grave, that’s the only reality check that I...
19.04.12 Ben XT
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Mothers Day 2019

‪This Mother’s Day, there is no mum more deserving than the mums who have to get up and face the day without their children. Our job as mothers is to protect our children and I for one, know there’s that there’s been many times that I’ve thought that I failed at my job as a mum because I could protect or save Jack from dying. Each one of us would have traded places with our children.Today we are reminded that we are still mums, we always will be. We did not fail, we are the strongest and ultimate kind of mothers 💔‬ Sending...
19.03.31 Hayleyxt
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Photo Memories of Jack

You think that photos aren’t important until photos are all that you have left 💔 I don’t know what made me take so many photos of Jack. Back then I was naive, I didn’t realise that children died so I definitely didn’t take them with the knowledge that one day they would be all that I would have left of Jack.However, I’m so glad that I did take so many photos because I can look back on all of our memories for years to come. As Summer grows up, I can show her all the photos of her big brother and...
19.03.17 Hayleyxt
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Brightest Star Turns 6!

Had I never lost my 5 year old son Jack to a cold and flu virus on 19th December 2012, I would never have known that “a virus” could kill a child and the importance of learning CPR, I would never have known that there were so little support services available to bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings, I would never have known that families often leave the hospital with their children’s belongings in paper bags, I would never have known that ambulances do not always have the space to carry parents with their sick children, And I would never have known to start Brightest Star. 6...
19.02.14 Hayleyxt
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The Love of a Parent

No words can describe the love that I have for my beautiful boy and the loss I feel now that he’s gone.The love of a parent is a love that never dies, no matter the distance ❤️You can never tell your children that you love them too much, take every opportunity that you can to tell them ❤️  
19.02.14 Hayleyxt
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Summer J

Summers J’s 1st trip to Brightest Star HQ,our very own Hulks Haven for families affected by the death of a child, sibling or grandchild, of any age, from any cause of death. This picture makes my heart burst with love and break at the same time. The sad reality is that this is the only picture that I’ll ever get of my two babies together. No child ever replaces another and it makes me sad that people could ever think such a thing.It makes me sad that Summer and Jack will never get to know each other and that one day...
19.01.20 Hayleyxt
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No Name For A Mum and Dad

Orphans, widows and widowers. A child taken away by death, Has no name for a Mum or dad. Angel Mum/dad is what they are, A love for her child that Knows no bounds. A strength from an unknown source. A pain so physical yet She lives on. Caring for and loving their Child in this world, Never knowing that Her child was an Angel, Here only for a while. Walking in two worlds. Her child’s and hers. Heartache felt of the loss, Compassion for other Angel Mum’s and dads Is what she has. Angel Mum/Dad’s meet and share, Experiences and feelings of all They bear, Laughing and crying together, Giving comfort and peace, Of all those who feel What is so real. She flays as if...
17.08.06 Arlene
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Would You Know My Name?

Would you know my name If I saw you in heaven? Would it be the same If I saw you in heaven? I must be strong And carry on, 'Cause I know I don't belong Here in heaven. Nobody can ever imagine their child dying before them, people probably don’t even let it cross their mind. Why would anyone want to think about such a tragedy unless they had to? When you see a story about a child dying on the news or Facebook, it naturally makes you stop and think, what you would do or feel if your child died. The automatic thought for most parents to...
17.08.06 Arlene
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Holidays

Sometimes the holidays can be the loneliest times of the year the most. I don't even remember writing this post but it is all still so true... You might feel sad because it’s the start of the summer holidays, you might feel sad because you have to arrange childcare, you might feel sad because your child gets bored, you might get sad because your child wants to do things and you get sad because of the stress and cost of it all. I feel sad because my child isn’t here to do all ...of those things. I feel sad because this is...
17.08.06 Arlene
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At The Start

At the start, I couldn't imagine living 4 days without Jack. Today marks 4 and a half years since he died and I will never know how I've got to here. It feels like forever since i cuddled him in this picture and forever since I wrote this.... My life without you is empty, I need you back so much, ... I wish you were here beside me, I long to feel your touch. Our time together was special Our love was so strong Why were you taken from me? It all seems very wrong. Why must I go on...
17.08.06 Arlene
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I Only Have A Picture Now

I only have a picture now, A frozen piece of time, To remind me of how it was, When you were here, and mine. ... I see your smiling eyes, Each morning when I wake, I talk to you, and place a kiss, Upon your lovely face. How much I miss you being here, I really cannot say, The ache is deep inside my heart, And never goes away. I hear it mentioned often, That time will heal the pain, But if I'm being honest, I hope it will remain. I need to feel you constantly, To get me through the day, I loved you...
17.08.06 Arlene
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I Need Help

The day after this photograph was taken was the day that I realised I needed help. It is true when they say “never judge a book by its cover”. On the outside, I looked happy and full of fun but on the inside, I was struggling to cope with day-to-day life and dealing with my overwhelming grief and emotions. I had just marked the fourth anniversary of my son’s death, my fourth Christmas without him and what should have been his 10th Birthday when I finally admitted that I needed help. For over three years, I had tried to keep busy, tried...
17.08.06 Arlene
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I Would Give My Life

I would give my life to have you back, said his Mum I know you would, said her son. I cry each night for you, said his Mum And I catch all of your tears said her son I pray for the day that I can see you again, said his Mum... Close your eyes and you can see me, said her son I am always just a dream away............. You are the first person who loved me, and you are the first person I loved. You were always there when I needed you, and you always knew when I needed...
17.08.06 Arlene
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What If I Told You

What if I told you that at the bright age of 5The world in his palmsThe stars in his eyesThat a boy so happySo full of joyWorld became dullAs he shut his eyesWhat if I told youThat a boy no more than fiveHad just a simple virusBut failed to surviveWhat if I told youThat little Jack KennedyWas a healthy little boyDidn’t hurt easilyLaughed did not cryIt was unexpected for him to goHis parents left with sorrow and woeWhat if I told youthat for that life threatening rideHis parents couldn’t be with him in the ambulance by his sideWhat if I...
17.08.06 Arlene
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So When Are You Having Baby?

You get engaged and the first question people ask is “so when are you getting married?”You get married and the first question people then ask is “so when are you having a baby?”Since when did it become ok to ask such a person and private question?On the other hand, some people don't see them as personal and private questions, everyone sees these questions very differently. Even my husband and I both have different views on this but losing Jack has made my views on these questions change.Complete strangers have asked me, like many others that question and I often wonder...
17.08.06 Arlene
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Remembering Jack

Remembering Jack, My Incredible Hulk,I brought you to this world, your flesh and blood my ownA dream of joy and happiness, that I had never knownI cradled you, and kept you warm, you set my soul on fireI loved you to the moon and back, to the mountain tops and higherI watched you grow, each day some more, and then you learned to talk,You told me that you loved me too, my love, my life, my rockThe years passed fast, I couldn’t know, the pain that was to follow,The day you left to heavens care, my heart was crushed by...
17.08.06 Arlene
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How Many Children Do You Have?

How many children do you have? Do you have any children? Two common questions that often come up in conversations. Until 4 years ago, I didn’t realise how heart wrenching those questions could be. Now, I know that those two questions can be the most difficult for someone who has lost their son or daughter. Many bereaved parents don’t know how to answer those questions, especially the first time that they are asked them. They are worried that they will get upset saying they ...answer and they are worried about how their answer will make the other person feel. Many people...
17.08.06 Arlene
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Mother's Day

Many will be mourning their Mums today,Many will be mourning their Grans todayBut in the past, it never occurred to be that many would be mourning their son or daughter today.That was until I lost my own son Jack.I don't know if he would call me mum or mummy or anymore, I don't know if he would still be as cuddly or tell me he loved me as much as he did when he was 5. I don't know what my son would be like anymore but I do know that for 5 years, I got to be his mummy...
17.08.06 Arlene
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Just For A Second

Yesterday for a few seconds, I thought that Jack was still alive and singing the exact same that he was in this photo. But …. then I woke up. I had been dreaming that Jack was alive again, him dying had all been a nightmare and he was walking towards me singing. I was so overjoyed to see Jack and to hear his voice again, the happiness I could feel was indescribable. As Jack got closer to me, I put my arms out to cuddle him and then I realised that he wasn’t there, he really had died. I could feel...
17.08.06 Arlene
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How Much I Miss You

“There are no words that can ever say, how much I miss you everyday As times goes by the loneliness grows, how much I miss you nobody knows I think of you in silence, I often speak your name But all I have are memories and you in a phot frame Nobody knows my sorrow, nobody sees me weep... But the love I have for you is in my heart to keep I’ve never stopped loving you, I know I never will Deep inside my heart, you are with me still Heartaches in this world are many, but the death...
17.08.06 Arlene
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How Lonely Grieving Is

Nobody ever warned me just how lonely grieving can be and last week, four years on, I finally realised that fact for myself. I am lonely because I don’t have Jack here anymore, I don’t have his unconditional love, his cuddles and kisses or his “I love you mummy, can we do this mummy, can you get this for me mummy”. What I would I would give anything to be together again, for the sleepless nights, for the school run, for the washing basket to be full, for all the mum things ...that people often complain about. What i would...
17.03.19 Amanda
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When no words seem...

When no words seem appropriate ..... ~I won't say, "I know how you feel"- because I don't. I've lost parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and pets, but I've never lost a child. So how can I say I know how you feel? ~I won't say, "You'll get over it"- because you won't. Life will have to go on. The washing, cooking, cleaning, the common routine. there. ... ~I won't say, "Your other children will comfort you"-because they may not. Many mothers I've talked to say that after they have lost a child, they easily lose their temper ith their remaining children. ~I won't say, "Never...
17.03.19 Amanda
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The Last Time

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms, you will never be the same. You might long for the person you were before, ... When you have freedom and time, And nothing in particular to worry about. You will know tiredness like you never knew it before, And days will run into days that are exactly the same, Full of feedings and burping, Nappy changes and crying, Whining and fighting, Naps or a lack of naps, It might seem like a never-ending cycle. But don’t forget … There is a last time for everything. There will come a...
17.01.25 Amanda
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Could You Get Over It?

Would you be able to "get over it" or "move on" if your son or daughter died? Most people can't answer that question because they don't even want to think about such a tragedy happening to them. In reality, nobody can answer that question honestly until they have experienced such a tragedy. ... From personal experience, I know I'll never "get over it" how can I possibly get over the death of my own son? I don't think ill ever accept or understand how a healthy 5 year old can die overnight. I'll also never "move on" as that suggests I'm moving...
17.01.11 Amanda
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