Surreal, it’s the only word I can use to describe the opening of our very own Jolly Josh centre! Today the charity has reached a gigantic milestone, that once was an unrealistic, unachievable dream. For those that have followed and read my previous blogs, ‘HOPE’ features greatly in most. Today firstly demonstrates that we should never give up on hope, nor should we give up on our vision, our passion, our drive. ‘Inclusion’ is defined as ‘the practise or policy of providing e
In 2019 I was invited to Rochdale Woman of the Year as a shortlisted nominee. I worked at the local special school teaching children with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities and so replied to say that I didn’t think I’d be able to attend. After much persuasion from the organisers, I came to the event with a friend who was also a representative trustee of Jolly Josh. Friends and family were unable to book the time off work and, in all honesty, even though I was incr
We are now four years into our grief journey, and it’s not become any easier, time IS NOT a healer. I no longer cry every day, but Joshua is in my thoughts throughout, casting a feeling of numbness, a sense of emptiness. Upon reflection, I changed the day that Joshua passed away, I didn’t want to but how could I not? I have felt the most mental and physical pain humanly possible, child loss. Its effects are life changing, personality changing and I’m now learning that I c
To James on Father’s Day 2021, (an edited version from 2019) You are appreciated for being the most amazing Daddy to our children. You have supported me in every way since our lives were torn with the grief of learning that our son Joshua had experienced extensive brain damage (aged 6 months old) but especially since our lives were ravaged by his terminal diagnosis just one week after his first birthday. More so, you have been my protector and the person that I’ve come to dep
Today a special little boy should have turned 5, Joshua should have been waking up today another year older, I’d have been thinking about how time passes so quickly and have been wishing for it to pause. Instead, Joshua’s birthday is spent in a state of confusion. How can it be true that instead of having a party, we visit his memorial tree, it’s our reality. Joshua entered this world peacefully, just as he exited. Naturally, I taunt myself with ‘what ifs?’ What if he had hav
At present @ITV @Coronation Street are revealing a storyline for Jane Danson (Leanne Battersby) and Simon Gregson (Steve McDonald). This story of a #mito diagnosis became our reality on this day in 2017, just 8 days after Josh's 1st birthday, after months of incorrect ‘viral’ diagnosis’, hospital admissions and then confirmation of extensive brain damage. We arrived at ‘that day’ On this day, I remember being so very cold, my body went into shock and I couldn’t stop shaking.
As the nation celebrates #VEday #VE75, our family not only reflects in celebration of freedom and victory, we also remember Joshua, on what would have been his 4th birthday. My thoughts this year are in the form of a poem, as I consider all the things that Joshua would have become, aged 4... If only! #emptyarms #childbereavement #childloss This year, due to #lockdown #covid19 #coronavirus #pandemic Joshua's birthday gathering at his memorial oak tree was a quieter occasion.
Yesterday, for a brief moment I thought I saw Joshua. It of course was Oliver but I've never seen him looking so much like his big brother, so much so that I was taken aback, so shocked that I cried. Oliver is currently the same size that Joshua was when he passed away, he is now wearing the very last of his brother's clothing. I was unsure as to how I felt about Oliver wearing some of Joshua’s clothes but I decided that it’s what would normally happen, brother’s would wear ‘
In 2017 James and I travelled (with authorisation and ‘support’) from London to our Children’s Hospice in Chorley with Joshua’s body wrapped in frozen peas as he lay across my knee- this journey demonstrated our desperation to be at our beloved ‘holiday home’. We arrived 16 hours post Joshua’s death. I have been trying to process this this for some time, wanting to make positive change and finally began to share my feelings when I presented at the North West Children's Pallia
Today Oliver is 6 months old! I have no idea where the time has gone, for most this is a simple monthly milestone, for us it's a sigh of relief... The past six months have, in truth, been very difficult, Oliver is loved and adored but he's been a very different baby to Sophie and Joshua due to terrible reflux and colic. We honestly feel as though we've been in a whirlwind, and with severe lack of sleep as Oliver has struggled to settle, unfortunately he hasn't been the most
Moving forward into a New Year is always difficult for us, the further time passes, the more we feel that people expect us to have ‘moved on’ from our grief. This will never be the case, we have come to terms with the fact that we carry this weight of emotional and physical pain, forever. No amount of ‘New Year, New Start’ catchphrases will enable us to overcome being bereaved parents. There’s also an overwhelming sense of heartache that is inflicted in knowing that our life
Today Oliver is five months old, for us this is an important stage. His bother Joshua had monthly milestone photographs, like many babies, and we had added notes of his developments to enhance the memories. However, when it came to writing Joshua’s milestone achievements for month five, it became clear that he had not reached any and in actual fact had regressed; Joshua had lost the skills that he had previously acquired. We had noticed ‘symptoms’ of illness in Joshua from
Just two years after the launch of Jolly Josh’s first ever session, our families were today invited to a ‘Mystery Meet’, alongside the Mayor and Mayoress of #Rochdale to be present for our much awaited announcement. We were incredibly excited to publicise that we now have the keys to our own venue! This venture was first discussed in September after celebrating our 2nd Year Anniversary and has moved forward swiftly. The long term goals which we once only dreamed of achieving
Sophie, Joshua’s older sister started nursery just ten days after Joshua passed away, an extremely difficult transition for her and for me. Our attachment meant that in the rawest of grief we needed each other, therefore she only did very short sessions which developed with time. This week Joshua should have begun his nursery adventure, instead we mark two years since his funeral. I use the term ‘funeral’ loosely. If truth be told I was unable to give Joshua the funeral he de
Today Oliver is one month old yet he’s actually only 37 weeks plus 6 days gestation. He’s been home for just over two weeks and that’s due to the new ‘home tube feeding’ programme which is supported by the Neonatal Outreach Team. Oliver fed independently for six days after birth; however as a premature baby #prembaby born at 33 weeks he began to tire and required a #NasoGastric feeding tube (#NGT). #EstablishingFeeding for Oliver meant that we had to consider the fact that at
Oliver is one week old, we have spent our first week on the #NeonatalIntensiveCareUnit #NICU and we are thrilled to say that Oliver has wowed us all… The past week has been an utter whirlwind with so many different emotions, the primary emotion being LOVE. I have experienced three very different births. Sophie was born on the #BirthCentre, I arrived at the @RoyalOldhamHospital at 9cm dilated and just managed a beautiful water birth. Joshua was born at home as a planned water