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Forgotten Mourners: Kirsty & India's Story

Updated: Aug 6, 2021

Thank you so much to Kirsty and her eldest daughter India for sharing their experiences as part of our Forgotten Mourners series during Children's Grief Awareness Week.

Kirsty writes:

When we found out our baby girl Naya had died we came home and spoke to the children, we then returned to hospital to give birth to her. Honestly it was the worst conversation I have ever had to have. India was six years old, her sister Marley was four and their brother Hudson was three at the time. The little ones just looked sad; Marley asked if she would come home next week while Hudson cuddled my tummy which was unbearably heartbreaking. India cried and cried hysterically for hours; we had to sleep with her. We then returned to hospital and Naya was born still. We came home with a box and no baby.

Naya's perfect little feet

The days that followed were the hardest of my and my family's life. As parents we found it really hard to support India. We called five charities none of which could help. We searched for counsellors; they all had waiting list months long, so we just continued to talk to India ourselves and allowed her to express herself however she needed.

A picture that India drew a few days after Naya died

Marley, India & Hudson remembering their sister Naya on a family trip to the beach

We found our copy of These Precious Little People a hugely helpful resource that we could read to India, Marley and Hudson. India attended a Sands memorial service with us and it was there that she met other children that had also had a sibling die. I think this helped her understand that it happens to other people as well. My husband Brent and I also decided to set up a charity that focuses on sibling support so we did. Naya’s Wish offers sibling boxes to children whose sibling dies; these boxes have some lovely resources that will help support them. We also organise sibling meet ups and coffee mornings for all the family. We are organising fundraisers for Naya's Wish, and India has decided she wants to organise a bike ride with her friends; we have noticed since we have been doing this India especially is coping a lot better. 

India, Hudson & Marley with their Naya bear

Hudson asks to say goodnight to Naya every night by looking up at the sky and Marley draws pictures of rainbows and stars with Naya almost daily. Naya will be forever missed and loved by us all but I feel we are starting to find our new normal as a family.

A beautiful picture by Marley

India's story:

My Daddy told me he had news and I asked, "Is it to do with Naya our baby?" Daddy said, "Yes." 

He sat me down on the sofa and told me that him and Mummy had been to the hospital and found out Naya’s heart had stopped, so she had stopped moving. Marley my sister asked Daddy when Naya would come back and Daddy told us Naya will now live in the sky but also in our hearts. I knew that meant Naya wouldn’t come home and stay with us so she would be a star now. I felt so sad as I love her so much and just wanted her here. After that I cried as I didn’t know what to do. Seeing babies makes me sad especially if they are girls. I will never forget mummy and daddy telling me she was a girl it was the best day of my life. I remember it a lot. 

I didn’t want to talk to anyone outside my family. And I didn’t like talking about Naya. But when I went back to school people starting knowing what happened to me so I talked to my friend Lexie as her mummy had died. My teachers have helped me a lot by talking to me about Naya. I had special sessions at school to help me, I made a ‘happy ‘ book. It helped me when I felt sad I could look at it. Mummy got us a book which helped as it helped me realise that this had actually happened to someone else as well.

Naya's tree

Everyone is so kind to us now. My family are better than we were before, and we buy Naya lots of things; we have ‘Naya bear' and we have a tree we go to which has lots of things around it we made and brought for her. My mummy and daddy help me cope by calming me down as I get angry. I can cuddle Naya bear when I’m sad or visit her tree. I put things in her memory box now and I look at all her things at home which makes me feel better. Sometimes it makes me sad but that’s ok isn’t it?

She’s part of our family even though she’s not here to hold. And she will always be, we will never forget her. Every night I see her in the stars and I feel like she’s always close to us.

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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