Day 4: Legacy (Capture Your Grief 2013)

Legacy
Legacy

Day four of Capture Your Grief (in memory of Freddie Leigh Bromley) and the subject title today is ‘Legacy‘.

Having looked up the full meaning of legacy I have decided to photograph the memorial page I have set up for Freddie – www.freddieleighbromley.muchloved.com

Among the many words used to define legacy is ‘donation‘ and ‘gift‘ so it seems apt that I share this page.  I set it up a few weeks after Freddie passed as more and more friends and relatives wanted to show their love for him by donating some money to a relevant charity. Not only does the page allow people to donate money but also light a candle, send a thought and read about fundraising events.

I had not even heard of the charity SANDS until I was given some leaflets on it the day I left the hospital.  It is a stillbirth & neonatal death charity which helps support parents like us whose baby has died around the time of birth and promotes research to reduce the loss of babies’ lives.  It was therefore so important to me and my family that this be the charity we chose for any donations to go to.  Already we have raised over £1,000 for SANDS by family, friends, friends of friends, friends of family and strangers who have been touched by our story.  We are so grateful and amazed at the generosity of people especially those that don’t know us personally or have only met us a few times.

With the anticipation of any birth when a loss is experienced, friends and family feel desperate, grief stricken and overwhelmed with emptiness. The SANDS website alone has provided me and my family with information and advice at times of desperation and despair.  Among the normal emotions that come with the grieving process is the feeling of guilt and questions of ‘why?’,’what went wrong?’ and ‘why is this happening?’.  The website provides crucial information on how often tragedies like this happen, possible causes, improving the review of deaths, raising awareness of risk, improving post mortem consent, improving data on deaths and safer pregnancies.

My experience of SANDS here in Guernsey has been very helpful.  I was provided with the contact details of a local representative for the charity who took time to meet with my husband and I to talk about the loss and our feelings. Having gone through a stillbirth herself, we have a common experience and understanding which is invaluable.  To know that you are not alone and can share your thoughts, concerns, worries and anxieties with someone is imperative to grieving.

DID YOU KNOW that 11 babies are stillborn every day in the UK, stillbirth is around 15 times more common than cot death, more than 30% of stillbirths happen at term (after 37 weeks gestation) and the UK’s stillbirth rate is largely unchanged from a decade ago?

I would love to know what the official local statistics are but it was mentioned that 2/3 stillbirths happen each year here on Guernsey (death of a baby before or during birth after 24 or more weeks of pregnancy).  If I can turn this pain into a positive it will be to talk about it, share my experience and make people more aware.  That is why Freddie’s memorial page not only provides a place to pay tribute to his lost life but also help raise awareness and money for SANDS.

Freddie’s memorial page is one of the things I can do in honour of him and to emphasise how important the gift of life is.

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My Dancefloor Challenge Experience

The event is always extremely well supported and has become a popular annual fixture in Guernsey.  In fact, this year the demand for tickets was so great, that the event was hosted over two nights for the first time, giving twice as many people the opportunity to see it.

Dancefloor Challenge 2012 took place on Friday 27th & Saturday 28th April at Beau Sejour and raised funds for two local charities, GADA (Guernsey Amateur Dancesport Association) and the Guernsey Bereavement Service.

I was lucky enough to take part this year through my job at The Best of Guernsey and was one of the ‘amateur’ dancers, and it was without doubt, one of the best experiences of my life.  Not only am I a stone lighter in weight but I have made some great new friends, faced and overcome some personal issues and gained a few new hobbies along the way!

For the Challenge I was paired up with Alex Rowe to learn the Argentine Tango for a group dance and the Ballroom Tango for our couples dance.

I was pretty nervous at our first rehearsal but everyone was so friendly and my dance partner Alex, who had just finished instructing a Zumba class, came over and gave me a big sweaty hug, which definitely broke the ice!  Continue reading My Dancefloor Challenge Experience