I expect many people can remember where they were when the Twin Towers were hit on 11th September 2001. We were away on holiday with our only child.
It was two days later when our world collapsed. Our two-year-old daughter died in a vehicle accident at our home. The days that followed were very unreal and somewhat surreal. The shock, numbness and devastation cannot be described.
Our whole view of life and death had to be faced. Despite having the agonising thoughts of ‘If only’, and the question ‘Why?’ we still chose to trust God, knowing that his love for us was still the same as before. We knew that one day we would see our daughter in heaven, and this knowledge did give a measure of hope.
On the very next day after the accident, we kept an antenatal appointment (Sarah was three months pregnant) and heard our son’s heartbeat for the first time. The reality hit us that he was alive but our daughter was not. Our son was born six months later. His birth was met with joy but also pain, as our daughter was no longer with us.
In the following months, we saw people around us carry on with their normal lives. We had lost our ‘normal’ and everyday life was a struggle. We were just going through the motions of life, being very numb in our hearts. It was difficult to relate to friends and family, and they did not know how to help us.
A good friend of ours told us about Care for the Family’s Bereaved Parent Support. We contacted them the following year and were put in touch with a fantastic couple who had lost two children. This couple were such a source of help and relief to us both. It was great to be able to talk freely about how we felt about our loss. We also attended a Care for the Family Bereaved Parent Weekend. Again, it was great to meet like-minded people who understood.
The Bereaved Parent Support befrienders identified with us and helped to take away some of the sheer isolation we were experiencing. They were such a support to us, were very caring, and shared some of the heavy load we were carrying on our journey.
Being in communication with people who understood what it was like to lose a child gave us both a great source of hope. It was encouraging to see that they had gone through such a traumatic time but had come out the other end many years later, still together and living a fulfilled, happy life.
This year, a member of our family also lost a child in extremely sad circumstances. We know how hard it is, especially in the early years. Just as Bereaved Parent Support has helped us, we have now been able to help and support this couple in their loss.
To get in touch with someone who understands please telephone Care for the Family on 029 2081 0800 if you have lost a child and would like to talk to another parent whose child has died, and understands a little of what you’re going through. We call these parents ‘befrienders’. We will try our best to put you in touch with a befriender who has lost a child of a similar age, or in similar circumstances.