This series was created to share with our readers the thoughts and emotions of a grieving parent dealing with the monumental tragedy of losing a child. Enjoy!
For the next few weeks, I have decided to pen (or type) down my feelings as I walk my way through … and hopefully …walk my way out … of the weight of the emotions that have taken up abode in my heart since my son’s demise in February this year.
I, as usual, refuse to let this whole experience be the end of me… but a rebirth.
I am absolutely certain that within this circumstance, there will be many lessons to learn. Hopefully many interesting emotions too! I can certainly testify to the fact that I have been swept by many so far. I will tell you about this one that I feel I have just come through:
GETTING HIS FUNERAL SERVICE DONE
We had the final service in memory of our son at the St Christopher’s chapel at Great Ormond street Hospital London. It was special. After a lot of e-mails and phone calls back and forth between the chaplain and I, we pulled it off!
When Fred died, I was not really sure about how the next hour would be because it hardly made any sense to me. All I knew was that I was not going to let myself worry. The worst had happened and in my mind, everything would be easier…fall into place. Nothing could possibly be worse than his death. I set out asking questions and being initiated into a new world of funerals, flowers, invitation cards, thank you cards and what have you.
One by one each activity slipped into place. We were directed to the Coop funeral services by another lovely parent whose daughter had also sadly passed away. She reassured me about how personal and comforting their service was. I knew I had to contact them. Although I had been referred to many other directors locally, I could not shake off the reassurance in this woman’s voice. So I made the call one morning and booked an appointment.
The atmosphere was serene and comforting when we arrived. They put me at the centre of all the discussions to my discomfort. As a woman of African origin, it was quite difficult for me to have these discussions when my husband was present. It just felt disrespectful. He was the dad too. Interestingly there was a cultural shift in my favour. My husband was too westernised to care so I ignored the discomfort and let myself enjoy being at the centre of the deliberations. It began to feel comforting that I was being indulged in a sense as the “Mother of the child”. As soon as the signatures and payments were done, the Coop funeral services took over. They handled bringing our boy back home and all I really had to do was focus on giving him the best send-off.
The day of the funeral service was a day of remembrance. We had all Fred’s nursery rhymes on cue. We had no hymns per se. What we sang were two of Fred’s favourite nursery rhymes.
Row your boat and Twinkle little star.
We all shared fond memories of him throughout the service. His lead consultant, Ward sister, School teacher and Former PA to the consultant gave lovely tributes to my boy.
There was laughter and love in that chapel that day. It was filled to capacity with all his team. It was amazing that everyone could find the time to come and I will remain eternally grateful to everyone who attended physically. Many hearts were united with us from all over the world… those who could not attend in person. I appreciate all their prayers too.
It was also a memorable experience for Mark who now is left without a brother. He kept asking if he could play in the hospital Activity Centre because he had missed not being in the hospital for that reason. It was lovely that everyone who attended made the day special for us as a family.
We all felt fired up with strength for the event of the following day which was the day Fred was to be committed to Mother Earth. We did not really want to invite anyone because we were very conscious of what Fred meant to everyone. He was a special cheerful boy and we worried that it would be too much emotionally for some.
On that sunny Friday morning, we arrived the Cemetery all set to go on that final walk with our boy.
But guess what?
We met all the nurses in his Local team right there waiting to walk with us. It was amazing. His consultant was in attendance, some representatives from GOSH, even Mark’s class teacher attended. We also had friends, Family, Fred’s school Driver, people from his school….we were blown away.
Now I am sitting here this sunny Sunday afternoon thinking about how blessed I have been because of Fred. He drew all these people into my life. All this love, comfort and support network now surround me. I am blessed because he was mine. I feel honoured to have been the one who bore him. We hope to learn more about Propionic Academia because Fred once walked this earth. His life may have been short, but it was long enough for him.
This is a vote of thanks to everyone who has stepped into our life in the last 4 years. We love you all. Not forgetting all of you online who have supported us through this most difficult time. We appreciate you too.
Thank you for reading
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