My granddaughter was a beautiful, cheeky and demonstrative young lady who learned to swim before she was 2 and was in a class of 4 year olds at nursery school where she attended 2 days per week. The other 3 days of the week she was with me while her single parent mother worked full time.
Initially our days were exploratory – making noises, learning to sit, crawl, stand, feed, walk and talk. There were daily walks and play park visits, visits to see ponies and sheep on Dartmoor, trips to the static caravan we owned in Cornwall where the swimming pool featured massively. We stayed at the caravan and enjoyed sofa time watching movies (mainly Shrek!). In her final months we had a season ticket to a local farm attraction and visited once or twice per week. It was a perfect time for me and a wonderful experience for us both.
When Lexi contracted ‘Streptococcus A’, the doctors diagnosed a cold and prescribed Calpol. The infection became invasive and a rash appeared after a couple of days.
My daughter and her sister rushed Lexi to A&E but she died on arrival. Despite the best efforts of the medical team she could not be revived.
At this point the police had been called as an unexplained infant death requires investigation. My daughter was subjected to a house search within a couple of hours of the death of her daughter and had a police presence in the hospital while having her final time with her dead baby. The situation was then made even worse when Lexi’s body was retained, pending a coroners decision on whether a post mortem was required.
No fault was found and the blood tests confirmed that ‘Streptococcus A’ was the cause of death and within a week Lexi was released back to the family and we were able to prepare for a funeral.
Throughout this horrendous ordeal, I was looking to hold my family together and comfort my daughters (Lexi’s mother and her Aunt), my 3 remaining grandchildren and my wife, all of whom were broken-hearted, mystified and suffering life-changing grief.
My research around grief management and loss brought me to The Lullaby Trust. I read about ‘Befrienders’ and saw the role as a way of gaining some benefit from my beloved Lexi’s death by helping others experiencing the loss of a child.
The next decision was to actually use the ‘Befriender’ service to increase my credentials to be a ‘Befriender’ in the future and in the vain hope that the service may help me find solace for my own devastation through a private third party. My ‘Befriender’ provided a sounding board for my grief and identified with my experiences from those he had felt after his own loss. He was also kind enough to read and comment on the poems I was moved to write as an outlet for my grief and anger at losing Lexi.
Most importantly and most helpfully, he put me in touch with the professional staff at The Lullaby Trust who have provided brilliant support to me allowing me to provide the help my family needed and still needs from time to time.
Our bereavement support helpline
If you would like the opportunity to talk freely, for as long as required, with a sympathetic and understanding listener please call our bereavement support helpline on 0808 802 6868 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.