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Valentine's Day

There is no greater love in the world than that between a parent and a child. Valentines Day is a day that symbolises love so i couldnt think of a better way to continue my love for Jack, than to launch Brightest Star on Valentines Day.

Today, Brightest Star turns 3 and we are one step closer to the opening of Hulks Haven, a breathing space for bereaved families. Thanks to all of your fundraising, we have just about completed decorating and furnishing a Hulks Haven in Linwoo...d. As I said in the video, this is an operational base for the charity and a dedicated area that bereaved families can come to for support. We have built a counselling room into the office as this allows us to carry out our bereaved parent counselling, group therapy sessions and it will also allow us to offer play therapy for siblings.

This is an incredible achievement for the charity and without each one of you, this would never have been possible. We have already supported hundreds of families who have lost their children and with Hulks Haven opening, we hope to help hundreds more. Each one of you that supports Brightest Star is helping us as a charity to change the way that bereavement is dealt with in our soceity and for that, and all that do for Brightest Star, I sincerly thank you.

To mark our 3rd Birthday, can i ask you all to invite 3 of your friends to like Brightest Star or to donate £3 by texting Jack06 £3 to 70070.

Happy Valentines Jack

Lots of love Mummy xxxx

Book Day

It's been world book day and parents all over the country will have been around every shop looking for their child's favourite costume but how many of us read books with our children?

When our children are young, reading books is part of our daily life with them, we use books to help them talk and develop. As our children get older and into tv, phones and computers games, reading can become a thing of the past.

Jack loved to be read a book at bedtime. All of his books are s...till under his bed and i can't help but feel so sad every time I look at them. I can vividly remember lying in his bed beside him as he would say, another story mummy, another story. Like every mum, after so long I would reply, right jack that's enough, time to get to sleep now. How much do I wish I could change that now?

Jack also liked to watch a dvd in his bed, like many parents, I would use that time to do the dishes or clean the house, how much do I wish that I could change that now?

How much do I wish that I knew what would be jacks favourite book now? How much do I wish that I knew what character Jack would have dressed as? How much do I wish I could that I could read him that favourite story in bed tonight? How much do I wish that I could read him another 10 stories tonight and hear him say, another story mummy.

Why not take 10 minutes tonight to read your child their favourite book and give them an extra tight cuddle. If I could, I would

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Mother's Day

Over the years, it had crossed my mind of how Mother’s Day would feel if my own mum wasn’t alive but it had never crossed my mind what Mother’s Day might feel like if my child was no longer alive.
Sadly like so many others, I now know what the latter feels like. I really did think that I would hold Jacks hand forever, never did I imagine having to let it go forever.

Being a mum was the best thing to ever happen to me and being a bereaved mum is the worst thing that has even happened to me.
Nobody teaches you how to be a mum, it is filled with am I doing this right? Am I doing that right? Am I good mum? Are my children happy? Have I done enough?
When your child dies those questions multiply and take a whole different meaning. Nobody can prepare you for the “Was this my fault?” “Could I have done more” “Did I do enough” “What if” “I could have, I should have”. When we are pregnant, we can read books on parenting, we can ask other mums for advice but where do you turn when you child has died? Nobody can quite understand the guilt that you feel as a bereaved mum but….

“I have to tell you this,
You did not fail, not even a little,
You did not choose this,
You didn’t want this to happen,
You didn’t do anything wrong.
It just happened, to you.

Despite your being, pleading, praying, hoping against all hope it would not happen,
You could not have prevented this if you tried harder, prayed harder or were a better person,
There is nothing more that you could have done,
You did everything you possibly could and you are the best mother there is because you would have done anything to keep your child alive.

No one else could do what you do,
No one else could ever mother your child as well as you can, as well as you are,
No one else could let you child’s love and light shine through the y you do,
No one else could mother your dead child as bravely
No one else could carry this unrelenting burden as courageously. It is the heaviest most torturous burden there is,
You were chosen to be your child’s mother and no one could parent your child better in life or in death than you do
It takes incredible strength to mother a child you can no longer hold, touch, see or hear.
You are the mother of all mothers”.

Mother’s day is a day of sadness for so many so today and I want as many bereaved mothers as possible to read the above quotes from “You are the mother of all mothers”.

Tonight, I am asking you all to take a minute from your day to think of those mothers who don’t have their children with them on Mother’s Day, the mothers who are living every parent’s worst nightmare.

Brightest Star provide support to bereaved mothers, fathers, adopted parents and step parents in the form of monthly peer group support meetings, one to one counselling and intensive therapy workshops. Sadly the number of families that need our support is growing each month and with Hulks Haven open, we can now provide them with a dedicated place to come. My post last Mother’s Day was seen by 182, 2336 people, if this years was seen by the same and each one of them donated just £1 by texting Jack06 £1 to 70070 then we could raise so much to help with the work that Brightest Star provides for bereaved parents and siblings

Please help to let this post reach as many bereaved mums as possible by sharing, commenting liking or tagging your friends in it. Let’s make them know that they “Are the Mother of all Mothers”

Love and strength to all those living without their child on Mother’s Day.

Arlene, Jack’s Mum xxx12496513 976683825756902 865840551261765061 o

For me, sleep is my therapy

Posted January 27th 2016


If I went for a sleep during the day abroad,

I would be taking a siesta,

If I went for a sleep during the day here, I am depressed.

For me, sleep is my therapy. When I am asleep, it is the only part of the day where I can get a release and rest from this pain.

I am missing my son, I am missing my old life and I am missing the “old” me. I am simply grieving the loss of my son and that is the price I pay for loving my son so much. BUT if someone were to diagnose me with depression, personally I wouldn’t care because I dont think that there is anything wrong with that.

With grieving, I can associate with some of the symptoms of depression such as sadness, darkness, mood changes and fatigue. I don’t want to feel any of those things BUT I can’t help it as I have no control over my feelings. One minute I can be sitting at my desk working and the next minute I can be in floods of tears, I can wake up in the morning and not want to get out of the bed, I can sleep for hours on end and I can be around my closest friends but still feel isolated and different. I am not ashamed to say that I have had times were missing Jack and trying to live with this 24/7 grief has got too much for me and I have felt that I can no longer carry on living. I have had times were the pain has got so unbearable that I thought of every possible way out of this life.

On the other hand, people can see me out socialising with my friends, they can see me laugh and smile, they can see me speak at charity events or they can see me carry out a day’s teaching and think that I am fine. To a stranger, they would never know that i have lost my son and grief is part of my daily life. That is the thing with grief and I assume depression, it doesn’t just switch on and off like a light bulb, you have no control over when it will hit you and in what way, shape or from it will hit you.

What does a grieving or a depressed person look like? The answer….. We look exactly like everyone else!!! Some people have this idea that someone who is depressed or grieving is constantly sad, they cry all the time and they don’t leave the house. People think that people with depression take medication and are the first to judge condemn or ridicule them for that but do we do that who take painkillers for broken ligaments or sore heads? If someone could give me medication to help ease my broken heart or help to ease my grief then I would take it in a heartbeat and who is anyone else to judge?

With 3 years of experiencing grief, I can now see the stigma attached with being depressed and why people don’t want to admit that they are depressed. People telling you to “move on”, “give yourself a shake”, “you don’t look like there is anything wrong with you”, “get on with it”, “see the positives”, “do things to help yourself”, “exercise, eat better”.

People asking “what is actually wrong with you”, “what have you got be depressed about”, “what is so wrong about your life”.

Thankfully I can say that I’ve not heard all of those things since losing Jack and starting this horrible journey called grief but I have heard some. Some people have told me that I would have a reason to be depressed as my son has died but I believe that people don’t need a reason or a cause to be depressed. Just like grief, I believe that depression is just one of those horrible things that some people are forced to live with. They didn’t bring it on themselves or choose to suffer from depression.

Just from experiencing the symptoms of grief, I truly believe that NOBODY would chose to be depressed or experience the stigma that goes with it and that is why we as a society need to be more open minded about it. Just like me need to with grief, we need to talk to our friend and families about depression; we need to stop stereotyping, judging and be more accepting and supportive.

Lets raise awareness and help support those suffering from depression.

Arlene, Jack’s Mummy