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In 2014 I got the 4am knock on the door that confirmed every parents worst nightmare. My son had been killed as a pedestrian on a busy road in the early hours. Just like that, no warning, no time to prepare, no last kisses or goodbyes, he was gone.
I am an ordinary woman from an ordinary family. Working parent, 2 children who had flown the coop and the youngest child (half-sibling to the older two) at home with my husband and I.
My son, was an extraordinary boy, to me anyway. He lived an ordinarily life, he worked, had just moved into his first home with his girlfriend of 5 years. He was always the funniest in the room, but oh my word he was loving too. He had so many friends some even came to visit me in his place on mothers day. He was a much loved young man.
The difficult thing is, when the world is expecting you to start to get back to ‘normal’ the protective shock is wearing off the realisation of what youve lost hits home. I plodded on, grasping escape from reality where I could find it. I developed depression, started medications. Became a virtual recluse, unless it couldnt be avoided.
Taking care of yourself, your future is fruitless when you dont care if you die...its a simple reality of coping with the loss of a child. Die and go to heaven and be with your child or die and there is no heaven and no longer live in hell, a win-win I reasoned. With depression came some self-harm, some self-loathing, all whilst trying to keep it together to do my best to make sure my girls live a ‘normal’ life. I am proud of my girls, they have coped so well.
To ease my pain I shopped a lot, mainly at night with nothing else to distract my thoughts, I invested in new business ventures based on hobbies that provided a little distraction and much needed creative outlet, but hobbies do not make successful businesses. I’d dreamt of being self sufficient...it didnt turn out that way.
So here I am, 4 years later and a lot in debt. I’m no longer depressed, off medications. Help from three different counselling organisations has enabled me to develop coping strategies and to be in a place where I’d actually quite like to live. I have some motivation now, the pain still remains, but its not a constant anymore and now I welcome my grief as a reminder of how much I loved my son and he loved his family.
This money, is pure and simply to pay off a mound of debts, that currently continue to grow. Easing financial pressures will allow my family to live a better life. For me to hopefully one day be able to reduce my hours when I become a grandma, to allow us to breathe and continue to move forward, reducing stresses by allowing us to be able to spend more time as a family instead of struggling to pay off debts. Mental health and debt accruement are all too common companions and there is no protection.
I can‘t predict the future, but when I’m in a position to take a step back and breathe, In some way, I want to make things easier for other bereaved parents. Whether that is in fundraising, speaking about risks to young adults, or literature I don‘t know, but I do know I will give back.
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