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That Dreaded Sunday Feeling...

Posted June 11th 2013

Arlene and Jack before school

Tonight I have that dreaded Sunday feeling that we all have when we know we have the work the next day. This is a different feeling though as tomorrow will be my first day back at work since I lost Jack. This is the last and only picture that I have of Jack & I in the morning before we went to school in the mornings. Tomorrow it will only be me in the house when I wake up, there will be no Jack to wake up, no Jack to make breakfast for, get ready, watch TV with and no Jack to have that kiss and cuddle before we leave for school.

Am I going back to work because I have moved on? Am I going back because this pain is better? Am I going back because the time is right? Am I going back because I want routine in my life?? I have been asked all of these questions and the answer to all of them is no. The most hurtful to any parent like me is the perception that by going back to work you are moving on. I will never move on from losing Jack and I don’t believe that any parent ever moves on after losing a child. You may learn to cope but never move on as that suggests leaving your child behind. The routine is the scariest bit, I am going back to an old routine that is so very different now, and my life has lost its purpose. It is just me in the house and it feels so empty without its daily buzz of Jack. Tomorrow and every day, my heart aches for Jack as I open my eyes and realise that this wasn’t actually a bad dream, it has all really happened. The last day that I said goodbye to Jack on our way to school, I had to idea that it would be last. We are approaching the 6 months mark, it feels like this happened yesterday but an eternity since I said that last goodbye and got that last kiss and cuddle from Jack. Tomorrow I will wake up and have to face the reality that those special moments that we all take for granted won’t be happening in my house.

Bereaved parents are no different to any others parents, we have houses to keep and bills to pay and therefore we all have to return to work at some point. I am lucky that I have been able to have 6 months off and I am lucky that I work in a supportive workplace with the most caring staff and pupils. Some parents have not been as lucky as me, having to go back much quicker, losing their jobs or not feeling supported. It is also the perception that men should be stronger and go back sooner, how can any of us make that judgement. I know how hard it was for Derek to go back and it is now I can appreciate that fear. I found a petition lately from a bereaved mother who like me wanted to use her situation to make a change. She claimed that after the loss of a child, an employer only has to allocate you 3 days off your work. 3 days, 3 months, 3 years who can put a timeline of this nightmare. If someone was to ask me when the right time to go back to work is, I don’t think I could answer as I genuinely don’t know. I don’t know where the last 6 months have gone and I don’t know how I got to be here. One thing I do know is that without friends and family and the support from all of you, I wouldn’t be here today. I am trying my best to reply to all of you but its taking me some time to work through them all, please know all your messages mean very much to me.

I have found it very hard to smile this week, yesterday was Jacks school sports day and I found it so hard to see all the pictures and comments from the proud mums and dads as I wanted that to be us with Jack. Yesterday, I really felt like a wasn’t a mummy anymore and that was something I loved being with all my heart and soul. Today I have been filled with such sadness at the thought of starting tomorrow and the school routine without Jack.  If you take anything from this, tomorrow when you get up for work and your rushing to get the kids ready for school and all get out the door, take a minute to appreciate those special moments as like me, you just don’t know what the future holds.

Arlene, Jacks Mummy xxxxxx

Why, Why, Why?

Posted June 3rd 2013

Arlene and Jack

Why is the question that I ask every single day. Why did this happen? Why Jack? Why could Jack not have been saved? Why, why, why? A thousand questions that can never be answered, a 1000 questions that I will ask every day for the rest of my life. What I have started to realise is that some of you are also asking why, why do I have this charity and more so, why do I do this Blog? Does this help me? Does this make me feel better? So I am going to try to answer a few of those questions.

In the first few days after Jack died, all I wanted was to talk to someone “like me”. Someone who had been through this pain, who knew what to expect and in all honesty, just to talk to someone who was still living as I didn’t think it was possible to wake up the next day. My family and I searched high and low for someone “like me” but I couldn’t find anyone despite calling several organisations for help. I remember on the 23rd December saying to my mum, why will nobody help me, why is there nothing out there? I then said to her, if someone called my house tomorrow and said Arlene, my child has just died, can you talk to me? I wouldn’t even have to think of the answer, it would be yes. From that day forward, I knew that was what I wanted to do, to provide people with a chance to talk to someone “like you”.

A few days later, thankfully a close friend brought the most beautiful girl to talk to me, a girl who had also tragically suffered this pain. That amazing girl gave me my first and only bit of hope, simply because she was still standing in front of me, she was alive. Although she had faced the worst hurt imaginable, she was the most beautiful girl on the inside and outside. She talked to me about the things that she faced in the first few months, the first year and the years after. I think of this girl every day and on my dark days, I remember some of the advice that she gave me.

Had that mutual friend not put us in touch, I would still be searching to find someone “like me” to talk to. Through Brightest Star and the Blog, I want to raise awareness that there are people out there to talk to. If this happened to some family tomorrow, the next day or in 10 years and they are looking for someone to talk to, I want someone to be able to say to them….I know where you can go…Brightest Star. I am also aware that not everyone wants to talk on the phone or meet up and that’s another reason for the Blog, so they can read it and realise that they are not alone in this journey.

I don’t do this Blog or charity for my own gain as it won’t bring Jack back, I don’t do it for people’s pity as I live this reality everyday. I don’t do it because I want the world to read my life; I do it with the hope that one day we can help others not to face this journey alone. I know that I can’t help people and nothing other than their child will help but maybe, just maybe it might some comfort to other broken hearted families.

I often doubt this Blog as it’s not something I feel 100% comfortable after all it does leave me so exposed but then I look at the number of families that it has made contact with and I know that talking about it is the right thing to do. A child dying is something people don’t want to face or talk about and maybe that is why we have so little services out there. If that means that I have to be the one to talk about it then I will as something has to change. I just hope that one day Brightest Star can bring that change and that my Brightest Star will make a difference to other people life’s they way he did and will continue to do every day for us.

Thanks to each one of you for your support, emotional and financial. Without you all sharing Brightest Star we would not have got to this stage.


Even the Sun Makes Me Sad

Posted May 26th 2013

The Sun Makes Me Sad

As everyone woke up this weekend feeling happy to see the sun, I couldn’t help but feel sad when I saw it shining bright. Like every other child, Jack loved the sun, he would want his shorts on, his top off and I would try to find places to go and things to do in the sun that he would enjoy. I couldn’t help but feel lost this weekend with the sun, life revolves around our kids and overnight, I have found that my life stands still. I miss getting up and spending my life revolving around Jack. What to do, where to go, what friends he would like to take, what he would like to wear, what he would like to eat, I miss all those daily routines but most of all I miss my boy. I got up yesterday and sat outside thinking who am I if I am not Jacks mummy? Yes I will always be his mummy but not in the real life way. What am I going to do without Jack? How can things like this happen? Where is Jack? What if he is scared? And out of nowhere I looked up at the sky to see this sky kiss just happening. Maybe it’s a sign, maybe its not but for that few seconds, it was the only comfort that I could take.

I sat watching Britain’s Got Talent tonight and I couldn’t help but cry as I watched the kids look so happy and run to their parents. I couldn’t help but feel sad knowing that I will never get to see Jack follow his dreams. I will never have him run into my arms again or be able to tell him how proud I am of him. Every day is hard but this week has been a very low one, it’s very true that this feeling is like being on a rollercoaster that you cant off. People think that time is a healer but time only makes this reality worse. You see, the more time that passes, the more time I have been away from my baby and the more I miss him. To say that I am missing Jack doesn’t even touch the surface of this pain. No parent should ever be without their child and I still don’t understand how or why this has happened. No answers will ever be enough as all I want is Jack back where he belongs.

Thanks to Brightest Star and Jacks Army, I have made friends with some families who are also living this nightmare. Together we will walk this long road and support each other every step on the way. One of the mums said that she felt really alone and isolated until she found Brightest Star as she also had no support. Like me, she used to think she was going mad with her thoughts but she now knows that its ok to feel that way as other people have these thoughts too. This is all down to the support from you guys, this wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for all of you sharing Brightest Star with your friends and family. Please continue to tell people about Jack and Brightest Star so that no other parent has to feel so alone should they face this living nightmare.

Arlene, Jacks Mummy xxxx

All That I Do Is To Make You Proud

Posted May 14th 2013

Click here to watch  the video Jack's Army 10k



Jack’s Army, my family and friends made me so proud on Sunday, without each one of you, I don’t know where I would be today.

There are so many unsung heroes behind Brightest Star but without one in particular I would never have got Brightest Star off the ground and to where it is today. Andrew Craig is not only one of my best friends but one of the masterminds behind Brightest Star and the amazing website that we have. Thanks to the fact that Alan, Andrew and Chick took some amazing photos on Sunday, I am about to show you one of the most humbling videos that I have ever seen. I am sure that you will agree that Andrew has done another job for Brightest Star with this one.

When Andrew asked me what music I would like for the video, I didn’t even need to think about it as I have listened to this song every day since I lost my gorgeous boy. You see the other mastermind behind Brightest Star and my biggest driver is Jack, I would give my last breath to have my boy back in my arms but I know that will only ever be a dream. With Brightest Star, I want to make dreams into a reality by helping other families to face this living nightmare. Jack was such a caring wee boy and I want to carry that on through Brightest Star so Jack.

Now I’m hoping, if you hear this
You believe that all that I do is to make you proud
Make me stronger, so that I rise up
Made my mind up
All that I do is to make you proud
Love you Baby Boy

Lots of Love, Mummy Girl xxx