Barbara, shares her story on why she supports Light up a Life.

"I often wonder what he'd look like, or if I'd have had Grandchildren."

The reason I support the Light up a Life campaign is in memory of my son Paul. We had the heartbreak of losing him when he was just 14 months old, just as he was beginning to show his personality and his cheekiness.

My husband David and I married in our early twenties and have been together nearly 60 years. For years we tried to start a family. The stress was getting to me that my doctor told me to forget about it and go on holiday, which we did and ironically, I came back and fell pregnant!

Paul was a canny little thing. I always carry his photo with me in my purse because his smile brought so much joy to people. We would go out to the shops, and everyone would have their head in the pram talking to him, he was that type of baby, he loved everyone. 

Paul would’ve been celebrating his 50th birthday this year. I often sit and wonder what he might’ve looked like, what job he would’ve done, if I’d have had grandchildren.

When we went to register Paul’s death, I thought "was it something I did, was it something I didn’t notice? Why my child? Why me?" I’ll carry those ‘what if’s’ forever.

My dad had died the year before, and the day he died, Paul then died a year to that day. In the book of remembrance in the crematorium, their names are on the same page. My dad’s name is at the top of the page, and Paul’s name is at the bottom. Quite bittersweet really, my dad’s name looking down on my son.

A few months after Paul died, a young girl a few doors down gave birth to premature twins, and one died. I posted a card through her door just to tell her that I knew how she felt and if she needed to talk to somebody. A while after, she came over to the house and told me how much she appreciated me reaching out to her, and how it made her feel to know someone else had gone through the same thing. Losing a child is something you’ll never get over and never forget. Death isn’t easy, it's difficult, but you learn to walk alongside it.

We have been supporters of Teesside Hospice for many years. We have supported  Light up a life since it began. From placing baubles to dedicating a star in Paul’s memory to place on the Christmas trees. I am happy that my husband and I can continue to support Light up a Life while supporting a local charity who dedicates so much time and does such great work.

I was never able to buy Paul presents at Christmas, so to me, supporting Light up a Life is my way of buying him a Christmas present, while donating to a charity who need it.


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