''Life goes on''.
A simple phrase, that now have such an enormous meaning to our family and friends.
12 March 2015 is the appalling day that is forever etched in our minds, deep in our memories and so very sad. Our eldest, handsome and caring son was only 18 when he was tragically, unfairly and unexpectedly taken from us. He was brutally murdered as he was enjoying a weekend away with friends at the Trecco Bay caravan park in Porthcawl, South Wales in March 2015.
No parent can fully explain the hurt and relentless pain that is often overwhelming when experiencing the loss of your child. Whether through illness, trauma, accident or crime the feelings are often unexpected and exhausting. The emotions and feelings that we all carry daily are difficult to live with. The acceptance of what has happened will never be felt by my family. The far reaching effects of such a callous and preventable act upon my blue eyed, cheeky smiling son is tormenting and agonizing.
Our lives have changed in every way. As a family we have changed, We are devastated and often numb with sadness. Families are supposed to support each other, but how can you support when your heart is broken?
The misery and despair of grief is lessened by knowing that we allowed Conner to have his voice heard. Feelings of comfort and pride coupled with sadness and pain in honouring his organ donation wish, and give the gift of life to others.
When Conner turned 16, he applied for his provisional driving licence, and came to me to tell me he'd ticked the box on the form saying he wanted to be an organ donor. We had a discussion about it, and he was very adamant that if anything ever happened to him, he would like to be considered as a donor.
I never dreamt that moment would come just two years later.
Conner was put on life support machine in intensive care: We knew the situation was very serious and grave. However, despite the horrendous circumstances we were in, Richard and I, and both our children, drew a lot of comfort from the way the hospital managed everything.
After four days of Conner being in hospital, the doctors came to tell us that no more could be done for Conner and that his life support machine was to be turned off. The extremely empathetic organ transplant team approached us, and asked us how we felt about honouring his decision to donate his organs.
At first I really didn't want to. I felt Conner had been through enough traumas with the attack and horrific injuries he had sustained. However, as well as being aware that his decision to be an organ donor, Conner also had a tattoo on his arm reading ''Life Goes On''.
For us that was very poignant; being given the opportunity to support Conner's decision to donate his organs felt like a great opportunity to allow this to happen - to allow Conner's life to go on in someone else.
There was no way of saving Conner, but Conner has been able to save other people's lives through organ donation. The specialist nurses explained everything so well and sensitively. As well as managing the organ donation side of things, they also spoke to us about making handprints of Conner and saving some of his hair for a locket. All of this really helped in such a horrible situation.
As a family we are very proud that Conner had this tattoo and we were able to honour his decision. Conner has given an incredible gift, we have been able to do what Conner would have wanted and supported his decision to become a donor.
I'm all for the new organ donation system, I think it opens up those questions around organ donation that perhaps people might not otherwise talk about. Even though Conner was only 16, he made that decision to be an organ donor and luckily we had talked about it. I think it's really important young people are listened to and given the opportunity to talk about it at school and college. It's not long before they'll be adults. It's also important people talk to their loved ones about it so families are aware of their decision, should they find themselves in that incredibly difficult situation. Who knows what we would have done if Conner wasn't on the register and we weren't aware of how strongly he felt about being an organ donor.
We didn't choose to be part of this journey, a journey that is far from over. Conner was loved unconditionally by many people and his legacy is testament to this.
Ensuring that his legacy and voice is heard is our priority. After all he truly believed that