On the 19th March 2004, my daughter gave birth to a lovely little girl - Kira Louise. I was so excited! I had other grandchildren and they are an unending delight to me. But they are my son’s children, and this was the first child of my daughter. She was also - at the time - the only grandchild that was local to me. The others live hundreds of miles away.
That weekend was also Mothering Sunday, so with delight and excitement, I bought my daughter her first Mother's Day card and a little present from her daughter.
Eleven years ago now, in the early hours of the morning, my daughter came into my bedroom crying for help. “My baby’s not breathing,” she said. I snapped out of my sleep and tried to resuscitate the baby. The rest of that night is a blur of panic, hope and then numbness and disbelief. The hospital could not revive her.
This was “cot death” visiting my family and leaving us bereft and looking for answers that cannot be fully explained.
The post mortem did not find any cause for her stopping breathing. The subsequent inquest recorded a sudden unexplained death. This leaves so much unresolved grief, no one to blame, no one to explain how it could have happened. What do you do with those questions? What do you do with the natural anger and despair that follows?
This event has changed me, my daughter and the rest of my family in ways that could never have been imagined. My daughter sunk to depths that were so deep I was afraid I was going to lose her as well. Even now, after all this time, I can feel Kira snuggle up to me.
It was after this that I found The Lullaby Trust (known as FSID at the time). They have been a source of help, comfort and inspiration to me and my family. They have, over the last 45 years worked tirelessly, not only supporting the bereaved, but working with professionals to promote healthy and safe environments for babies.
Since that awful day 11 years ago, I have become involved in supporting the charity, both in volunteering, learning more about SIDS and raising money to allow The Lullaby Trust to continue funding research, educating families, professionals abd supporting the bereaved. This grief does not abate. I have met mothers who lost a child to SIDS up to 40 years ago. They cry and show the pain of this even today.
This does not mean that we, the bereaved live in sadness and despair. Many try to do something to help to prevent others experiencing such devastation in all sorts of ways, whether donating, doing a marathon, Mile In Memory, or something more extreme!
This year's Big Give Christmas Challenge takes place from 12 midday Tuesday 29 November to 12 midday Friday 2 December and your donation will be doubled for free during this time! We need to raise a challenging £30,000 in online donations which will be matched to a staggering £60,000 to fund our new nationwide campaign on Safer Sleep for Babies, launching in 2017. Please visit the Big Give website page for more information www.lullabytrust.org.uk/big-give