In the aftermath of Poppy dying my head spun in a thousand different directions. How will I copy? How will we cope? What do we do now? Now do we move forward with life? I had no idea but opening up and talking was a must. I struggled in the early days but I did open up to Emily and being that typical man I still need to open up more about my feelings to her. Not that I don’t talk with her about things but I need o do it more. I still have anxieties and sadness over Poppy and parenting are these are things I need to open up more to her with.
Talking helps and it aids your mental health. When Poppy died we were asked if we wanted bereavement support and we had our names passed on to Forget Me Not. We didn’t think about it and then out of the blue we got a phone call and made an appointment to visit Forget Me Not and talk.
Having not really down therapy or any kind of support like this it was daunting. We were both a bit scared but we knew it was for the best. What is really spooky is that we used to live right across the road from the hospice. We saw it getting built 4-5 years ago. We used to walk out old dog George there and wonder what was being built. Little did we think we’d end up coming here to talk about losing Poppy.
My own experiences of this stuff had been from US TV shows. So in my head we were going to be seen on a couch and talked to by a Doctor, obviously this wasn’t the case. Having only spoken to family or fiends about Poppy, the thought of talking to a stranger about Poppy was scary and nerve wracking. You fear they might tell you that you are dealing with things badly or that you need serious help. I love talking about Poppy though, even though it is so heartbreaking to talk about what happened. It also makes me so happy to talk about her. To tell people how amazing my daughter is.
The truth is we went in and were met by Suzanne and just sat in their communal area. We went and we talked. It was made to feel so easy and normal. We could just talk about what had happened. What is really nice is the bereavement team are all former nurses that have worked on neo-natel units. They know about everything we are talking about. We could just talk about Poppy to start with, then us, our lives, our plans.
There was no judging or you must do this or that. It was just a chat about Poppy and us. Suzanne would ask questions and offer advice when she thought it might be needed. Sharing to who was then a stranger was really rewarding. Just to talk at ease about Poppy and feel like you could be really honest was massive. We could get advice, encouragement and support. To have someone say that you are doing ok and you are doing things he best way you can was so nice to hear.
We’ve been back when we’ve felt we needed to talk. To go through how we are doing and what we might want to do with our grief. Just having a support network outside of our family was so rewarding. To be able to go somewhere and talk, share and just be ourselves was so comforting. Poppy didn’t come here but she could have and seeing the work Forget Me Not do was so hear warming and amazing.
They supported us with Emily’s pregnancy with Reuben, offering to attend any appointments with us if we needed extra support. That just is above and beyond. They are always there no matter what. Even now we go once a month to a rainbow baby group. Yes I’m still writing a blog post about it, it will get posted honestly.
The hospice is set up with a communal area to relax and play in. It has it’s own self contained flat for families and babies. It is a lovely flat and if Poppy had lived longer she would have stayed here with us. A place to make memories and try to be a family for the little time you have together. It has been built and decorated with such love and care.
There is so much there, hotel like bedrooms for parents to stay in when their poorly children come here. A room that they can be just for them to have a moment together. There are kids rooms, a swimming pool, music room, teenager room for older brothers and sisters of poorly children. They place has been built with love and every possible situation.
Forget Me Not have a mission:
They want to change the way children and their families are supported when they face life-shortening conditions. They do new and different things. They help children and support their families amazingly.
The care goes on long after the heartbreak of losing a child. Forget Me Not are there for as long as you need them. They support you in whatever ways you want. For us it has been to pop in for coffee, cake and a chat. To just openly talk about Poppy, life and how we feel we are doing. They are there to give us support when we feel we might need it.
It is an amazing charity. They’ve helped us so much that we want to give back to them and last year we raised money for them with bake sales and by me running the York 10 Mile Run. We’ve been able to raise over £2000 to help them continue the incredible work and support they do and give. They have a glass memory wall that our fund raising has meant we have been able to get a brick on it. We just need to finials what we want on it and then a small piece of Poppy will be there. A piece of her legacy.
We have been supported amazingly by them. They are big reason why I have been able to get to this point. Thank you for all you have done for Emily, Poppy, Reuben and me. (and Holly the dog)
Hit the links below to read about the amazing work they do: