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  • Writer's picturethesepreciouslittlepeople

Forgotten Mourners: Emma & George's Story

Updated: Aug 6, 2021

Thank you so much to Emma and her son George for sharing their experiences as part of our Forgotten Mourners series during Children's Grief Awareness Week.


Emma writes:


George was three, almost four years old when Lydie died. He was devastated and confused. He asked lots of questions many of which I found unbearably painful to answer, but I knew he deserved an answer. Just because he was three years old it didn’t make his grief any less than mine or my husband Tim’s but he had no concept or resolved thoughts about death at such a young age. In the first days after Lydie’s death, I often said the wrong thing to George without realising it, ultimately because I wanted to protect him. I said she had “gone to sleep” and then George would not go to sleep. I said she was “ill” and then when he was ill he’d worry he was going to die. Every day I’d wait till George was in bed before I would allow myself to really let go and grieve, to collapse into sorrow. I was trying to protect him from the grief, but George was grieving too. I didn’t know how to help him. 


It was Sands – the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity - that explained child grief and magical thinking to me and how I wasn’t helping George by trying to protect him from Lydie’s death. They helped George, Tim and I walk together through our grief, holding hands. They gave us a sense of hope when all we felt was hopeless. They are an amazing charity and I am so thankful to them for all the support they gave us.


Nine years on I have written and illustrated a picture book for young children managing childhood loss and bereavement with the support of Sands Charity. “Where are you Lydie?” is available to buy at www.emmapoore.co.uk. A percentage of all sales will be donated to Sands to support their work to reduce the numbers of babies dying and to ensure the best possible care and support when a baby dies.


If you would like to see more of the book, Alexis' 2.6 story challenge for Sands on YouTube featured 'Where Are You Lydie?' so you can hear it being read and see all of the illustrations.

If you need support, you can download the Sands Bereavement Support Book for free or you can also download the Sands Bereavement Support App on your smartphone or tablet, or by visiting www.sands.org.uk/app. Find out about other ways Sands offers support at www.sands.org.uk/support.


George’s story:


When Lydie was born I was three years old so now I’m 13 it’s a bit hard to remember exactly how I felt. I know I was very sad. I was really looking forward to having a brother or sister. I remember it was mostly Mum and me who talked about Lydie because we were at home together. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t go and see Lydie in Heaven, I was worried about her and if she was lonely. I used to draw a lot of pictures for her and I wanted to send them to her. 

Lydie, drawn by George aged 3

We go to Lydie’s place as a family as much as we can and we used to send a balloon up into the sky on her birthday, now we make a cake and a birthday card. We have a special candle holder with her name on it and she has her own Easter and Christmas decorations that we all put on the tree together. There are camellia bushes in our garden given to us by family and friends which flower in April when Lydie was born. We also have a peach tree and at the bottom are different shells and stones Henry and I have collected for her. There is a small photograph of Lydie in Mum and Dad’s room and a family tree downstairs with all our names that is framed on the wall.


I remember when I said I had a sister called Lydie, my friends didn’t understand and that was really upsetting for me. Now I’m older I don’t talk to my friends much about her but I know it’s hard for my little brother Henry who was born after Lydie, he’s seven. I’m really proud of my Mum for doing the book, I hope it helps other children.

My hope is that with more of us talking about the grief felt by the whole family, we can all feel better-equipped to seek or offer support; to more readily and confidently give it, and more frequently be the recipient of it. I have written before (here and here) about why I think it's so important for us to accept that children have a right to remember precious little people within their families who have died and to grieve along with us if they need to. You can read more about how to talk to children about death and find further support here.



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