Another year has passed since my son Jack's untimely death. As soon as the summer holidays start my countdown normally begins: another day without Jack, another year he won't be here to celebrate his birthday which on September 16, is just two weeks after the anniversary of his death. Days pass by, months and years pass too but my heart still misses the little boy who brought so much joy to many with his big blue eyes and cheeky smile.
I still continue with my petition on Change.org, a campaign calling on government to increase bereavement leave for grieving parents after the death of a child.
I often look back to the day it all started for me, the day I decided I had to find a positive way to honour Jack's memory, I can honestly say if I hadn't started my petition just six months after his death, I have no idea what I would be doing.
I always knew I was going to do something positive in his memory but had no idea that what I set out to do would be as successful as it has been. The thing that has kept me going is my family, without whom I can't imagine the situation I would have been in. The days when the pain was all too much and I just wanted to stay in bed and not face the world, I would hear the voice inside me urging to get up and continue with my day. Setting up Jack's Rainbow gave me me hope, every signature on my Petition gave me the determination to continue with Jack's legacy and in turn I knew I wanted to help other families when their darkness hit them.
My own personal grief comes and goes nowadays, I seem to laugh so much more. I will always miss Jack that I am sure that will never alter but speaking about my own grief and how my campaign in changing corporate companies' outlook on a parent's grief is the has helped so much. I hope the campaign will eventually lead to a change in law because offering 12 months off for the birth of a child and just three days to grieve a child's death is inhumane.
Nearly five years on from Jack's death and there are still some days where I need to be with my own thoughts and emotions especially around anniversaries. I often get asked to be a keynote speaker now, which is a career I never thought I would go into. The thought of inspiring others to reach for the goals whatever they may be and create a change in areas passionate to them. I spoke to a class year of 16 year olds last year, which was probably the most nerve-racking thing I have done, even more frightening than standing up and speaking in the Houses of Parliament. I would certainly have not done that before Jack's death. I was invited to talk about campaigning and how I started my petition.
I explained that anyone could start a campaign to change things no matter what age they were how you shouldn't be scared for standing up for something you believe in. After my talk, so many young people came to thank me and ask question.
I continue to fundraise and hope to raise enough to provide a holiday home by the sea for bereaved parents to escape too after the death of a child. I have won a couple of awards over the past few years which took me totally by surprise, one for Inspirational Mother award and another for my support during Drowning prevention week for The Royal Life Saving Society. In
November this year I have been asked to speak in Penang, Malaysia at The World Drowning prevention conference which is an absolute honour as are all my speaking engagements but hopefully I can take my campaign to the rest of the world and ensure that all bereavement policies across the globe are longer than three days.
So looking back over the past five years, there have been many ups and downs on my journey without Jack but I will continue to look for his rainbows in the skies and share my story, continue campaigning until I get the change I want to see.