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Living Every Parent’s Worst Nightmare: Losing Freddie and Finding Hope

By Charlotte (@freddieswish)

Charlotte’s one year old son, Freddie, died in a tragic accident in 2014. She set up Freddie’s Wish to raise awareness and funds so that she could support other bereaved parents, offer first aid training and use precious Freddie’s legacy for good. In this brave piece she talks about what it’s like to live out every parents’ worst nightmare and how there is beauty to be found, even in the darkest of times. 

bereaved mother

My son Freddie was honestly the happiest, cheekiest little boy. He loved being outside, running around and had the best belly laugh that was completely contagious. Just like every other parent, I moaned about the sleepless nights and the monotony of the routine but if only I had known what was to come. On the 7th December 2014, when Freddie was just 13 months old, he was involved in a car accident where he sustained such serious injuries that sadly, 3 days later he passed away lying by my side. 

A part of me left with Freddie that day.  It will always remain with him but despite the agony of the trauma and loss, I knew I needed to do something to help others going through this too, so I set up a charity in Freddie’s name, Freddie’s Wish. The charity has gone on to not only help so many bereaved parents and educate families in first aid, but it has also been my way of being a ‘Mummy’ still – Freddie’s Mummy – and for that I will always be thankful.

After Freddie died, I longed for the little things. The moments that you forget to capture; the bath times, story time, snuggles on the sofa. I even struggled adapting back to just being able to leave the house in the evening, to sleeping through the night again, leaving the house without a pushchair. These are adaptations that no parent should have to make. So, I really urge every parent reading this to savour those moments and to take all the videos and photos. Never worry about your hair not being perfect or not liking how you look, because I promise you, when they’re all you have left – or hopefully in the natural order, all your children have left – they really won’t care if you were in your scruffs or had your hair scraped up, they will just think how beautiful it is to have those moments to look at. 

bereaved mother

Although I will never get these moments back, I started to navigate a new normal because despite how hard things feel sometimes, the world does keep spinning and our hearts do keep beating, so I have learnt to find new ways of having Freddie with me. Whether that be with what I do in his name for the charity or talking about him to those who remember him or those who don’t, watching videos and looking at photos and just feeling him in every decision that I make. If you know anyone who has lost a baby or child, whether that be in pregnancy or after, please don’t be afraid to acknowledge their loss and say their child’s name. Grieving is lonely enough and I assure you reaching out and just saying “I’m here if you need me” or listening without trying to fix them or even  just saying “II don’t know what to say” will always be appreciated and I promise you, you will never be reminding them of that loss as they will never have forgotten.

Grief is for life. Just in the same way that the love for your child is, and if you go on to have more children it doesn’t mean that you have been ‘fixed’ or erase the love and grief you have for your other child. If you have living children when you lose a baby or child, that love remains equal.I have found from my experience as a bereaved mother and the other bereaved parents that we have worked with over the last 7 years that though that grief does soften over time, your life builds around it. Despite the days where it really hurts, you have a new way of appreciating and celebrating everything that losing them taught you.

A final thing that I have learnt since losing Freddie is that no route to parenthood or story of motherhood is the same. The power of love between a mother and her child is a love that lasts forever, whether they’re here in your arms or carried in your heart. Grief is the ultimate price we pay for loving someone, but I would take the pain and the heartache for the pure joy and total adoration that Freddie taught me and showed me and I will never not thank him for making me a Mummy.

bereaved mother

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

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