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4 Years On

As I approach the 4th anniversary of my sons death, the 4th Xmas and Birthday without him, I look back at wonder how I actually got to here. This video is a stark reminder of just how much I have struggled throughout the years but I am still standing and that is hope.

So many people will be approaching the 1st Xmas without their son or daughter, many people ask me what I do at Xmas and this video talks you through my sons 1st anniversary, birthday and Xmas. There really is n...o right or wrong thing to do, you just have to do what gets you through another day.

I hear so many people tell grieving families, "you need to celebrate xmas", "you cant be alone at Xmas", "you need to get the tree up", you need to do this, you need to do that. In reality, we don't have to do any of these norms, we don't have to do anything except survive what I believe is the hardest time of the year for any bereaved family.

Sending love and strength to all those facing Xmas without their son or daughter x

Mummy I Dont Want To Die

Mummy I don’t want to die,
Jack your not going to die.
Are you going to die mummy?
No im not going to die Jack, not for a long time and you will be a big boy by then with your own family.
But I don’t want you to die mummy and I don’t want another family, your my family mummy....
Right Jack lets make a deal, when we are old, you and I will die together.
Mummy I want to die with all my family, even my cousins that I don’t know.

Fast forward two weeks and I am lying next to Jack in an intensive care bed with a nurse telling me that my healthy 5 year old son was about to die. I remember crying and saying to the nurse but I promised Jack that we would die together, how can this be possible? I can’t let my son die.

I was driving Jack to his school Xmas disco on the very night this picture and that conversation took place. I don’t know then that two weeks later my son would die and I would be forever remembering him saying that he didn’t want to die. Jack was a healthy little boy and had never experience any family members die so I don’t know what made him say that and I will never know.

Having your child die is the worst experience that any parent can suffer but in many ways I know that I have been spared some pain.
Jack didn’t suffer before or during his death and he didn’t know that he was going to die. So many parents have to watch their child suffer with horrible illnesses and have to tell their own child that they are going to die. They have to watch and listen to their child’s fears of dying and I cannot imagine such a pain. In day to day life it can be hard to be thankful for what we have but I for one know that there are some who are so much worse off than me.
Tonight I am going to be thankful for what I had and have, maybe we could all take a minute out of our night to do the same.

Arlene, Jack’s Mummy xxCNV00112

What is Christmas?

It's been another year, another xmas without my little boy but this is still as true today....sometimes we all need a little perspective, myself included 💔

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. I would never see him run down the stairs desperate to see if Santa had been, I would never get to see him open his presents, play with his toys and do all the Christmas things that most families do.

Nobody knows what tomorrow might bring and sadly tomorrow is never guaranteed for any of us. I like everyone else could easily get caught up in the Christmas stress, worrying about money, worrying about presents, stressing out in the shops, rushing here, there and everywhere, and worrying about pleasing everyone else. Was it really a big deal that I wouldn’t what I needed from the shops? Was it really a big deal that the shops were busy and I had to wait in cues? Was it really a big deal that I couldn’t get a parking space? Or that I didn’t send Xmas cards? Or that I didn’t know what to get people? Or that I couldn’t get to see everyone on Xmas Day? Or that people didn’t agree with my decisions?

With hindsight, none of the Christmas stress was really worth it. All that was important was the time that I spent with Jack and the memories that we made together along the way. I am so thankful for all the things that I got to do with Jack on the lead up to that Xmas as I know so many people never get the chance to experience the gift of being a parent. Christmas really is about the kids and the memories that you make with them, not the money that you spend on them.

In the midst of the Christmas rush, the busy shops, the festive nights out, take some time to make small but special memories with your children, watch a Xmas movie together, play a game, make cards or read a Xmas book. One of the things that Jack loved to do that last Xmas was have me sing the 12 days of Christmas book to him in funny voices. During his last phone call to me, he said “mum we sang that song in school today” when I asked what song, he replied with “the one you sing in the funny voice, 5 golden rings”. It was something small but now it’s a special memory.

Don’t forget to take some pictures of the memories along the way. I didn’t know that true value of a photograph until they were all I had left of my son.

As this post and photo appeared on Facebook memories today, I was was again reminded of the importance of family, photos and memories and I wanted to reshare it with you all.

Arlene, Jack’s Mummy xx15400518 1204599629631986 6562007475107957765 n

Just For Today

Just for today I will try to live through the next 24 hours
and not expect to get over my child’s death,
but instead learn to live with it, just one day at a time.

Just for today I will remember my child’s life, not just her death,...
and bask in the comfort of all those treasured days and moments we shared.

Just for today I will smile no matter how much I hurt on the inside,
for maybe if I smile a little, my heart will soften and I will begin to heal.

Just for today I will reach out to comfort a relative or friend of my child, for they are hurting too, and perhaps we can help each other.

Just for today I will free myself from my self-inflicted burden of guilt,
for deep in my heart I know if there was anything in this world
I could of done to save my child from death, I would of done it.

Just for today I will honor my child’s memory
by doing something with another child
because I know that would make my own child proud.

Just for today I will offer my hand in friendship
to another bereaved parent for I do know how they feel.

Just for today when my heart feels like breaking,
I will stop and remember that grief is the price we pay for loving
and the only reason I hurt is because I had the privilege of loving so much

Just for today I will not compare myself with others.
I am fortunate to be who I am and have had my child for as long as I did.

This life hasnt turned out the way i expected or wanted it to but I am lucky to have had 6 amazing years with Jack, i am lucky to have been his mum and to what it was like to feel his love. Some people are not as lucky as me.

Everyone gets so busy and stressed at this time of year but just for today, take a minute to appreciate what you have. Like me, there will people who arent as lucky as you xx15327350 1196400473785235 6163165947836095744 n