June 3, 2018

A void I’ll never fill – missing my nephew J

I was dubious about writing this post…its personal and I am not sure what the point of this post is.  To release?  To share my experience with others?  To find comfort?  To help others?  To gain support?  I don’t honestly know.  But I am finding my fingers are to the keyboard and the words are following.

I hate to say this.  I hate that I have experienced this.  In 2004, back when I was a young and carefree 18 year old, my beautiful perfect nephew died.  I even hate the word.  Died.  Die.  Death.  It’s shit.  Awful.  It terrifies me.  But I have experienced it so close to home.  He was only four years old and wasn’t like a nephew.  He was so much more.  He was like a brother.

My heart is thumping in my chest as I am writing this and to be honest, with his anniversary looming, I have felt a little fragile.  For some reason, this year I am reliving THAT day.  That day our world came crashing down on my perfect family.  My sister was still so young to experience such a loss.  Married with another son who was only 10 months.  Why did this happen?  A question that goes unanswered as I shout to the skies many times, hoping to know why he was taken away from us so suddenly.

My nephew died of a sudden brain haemorrhage.  One minute I am saying goodbye to him whilst he was on his way to see the new Harry Potter film at the cinema with my sister.  The next, I was waking up to hear the news he is in hospital as he felt poorly.  From that moment, my life changed forever.  Completely.  It has certainly shaped the person who I am today.  Unfortunately I struggle.  I am not the most carefree person I wished I could be.  I worry massively.  I am so fearful of life going in a bad direction.  Of sudden horror.  I know that sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes I feel like I am living on edge.  Terrified of what today or tomorrow might bring.

The days after we lost him are a blur.  A blur of hot warm weather, tears, family gatherings, sleep fuelled by sleeping tablets, family outings (people may look from afar and think thats bloody strange).  Why are they off out?  But actually being all together really helped them dark days. Keeping busy gave us all strength.

Unfortunately and also fairly, some people just don’t get it.  Often, all of us at some point have had comments such as ‘I felt the same after my Nan died’ or ‘do you still feel sad?’  I have found myself in several scenarios like this and have almost lost it.  How anyone can compare losing their 90 year old Nan to loosing a 4 year old child within the family I do not know.  Part of me is sad and lonely that a person is comparing such an experience to this, then the other part is trying to understand that they are just doing that – trying to understand and trying to support.  It can be really difficult.

The loss of a child, whether its your own child or a child within your family, is no experience anyone wishes to go through.  It’s an experience that sticks with you forever.  For me and for many members of my family, grief comes in waves.  It can be small soft currents, manageable and underlying.  Or it can be a tsunami.

Grief quote from Vicky Harrison

My blog is about family.  And family he surely still is.  And i suppose this is the reason as to why I’ve chose to write about such an important person in my life and the experience of losing a child.

As a family, we manage to get though life by sticking together.  Remaining a close family that’s full of support and one that always keeps J’s memory alive.  We talk.  We talk about him.  About the good times.  About the times he made us laugh.  We recreate the memories and the laughter and we keep spirits high.  We raise money.  We gather family, extended family and friends and smile.  He is forever in our hearts and made such a difference to our lives for them 4 years and 6 months.  We treasure that time we got given with him.

My nephew was the perfect little boy.  Honestly, he was so unbelievably happy, carefree, funny, social – he was a shining star.  Being the first grandchild, everyone was besotted with him.  He was a treasure.

I love and miss him so much.

xxxxxxx J xxxxxxxxx


42 comments so far.

42 responses to “A void I’ll never fill – missing my nephew J”

  1. Lara says:

    Such a powerful piece which really shows you and your beautiful families strength and determination to keep J’s spirit alive, he will be shining down with a smile. Lots of love xx

  2. Brooke Ritchie says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss and I’m sure J will be held dearly in your hearts forever. Nobody should ever experience the loss of a child and I cannot even imagine how much heartache a family can go through 💜

  3. What a beautifully honest post and good on for you for writing it- sometimes it helps to write it all down. Such a tragedy and waste of a young life. lots of love xx

  4. Shan says:

    Yes to all of the above. There is nothing , absolutely nothing that can compare to the sudden loss of a child. There’s loads of cliche sayings – time makes things easier but it doesn’t heal you. You have your coping mechanisms and some days are easier than others but life has to continue. I’m so sorry reading this, bought back a lot of memories for me too. You’re dead brave for commiting it to black and white babe ❤️

  5. Jenni says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, I think it’s wonderful that you decided to share your nephew with us all. And that quote really sums up grief perfectly.

  6. Oh goodness this made me sob, I can’t even imagine going through this, my eldest is four and the thought completely terrifies me. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  7. Jon says:

    You’ve been so brave to write all this. I can’t image what you must have been going through. Stay Strong!

  8. Kirsty McManus says:

    I could not even imagine your pain, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. This post is so beautifully written and I’m sure it will help so many who have also experienced loss. Sending all of my love xxx

  9. Matt O'Connor says:

    Really lovely post there very brave to be so open xx

  10. Lisa (mummascribbles) says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I don’t think anyone can ever imagine the pain of losing a child. It doesn’t bear thinking about. Sending love to you and all of your family. Such an awful thing to go through.

  11. So hard … a wound time can only slightly ease, but never remove … but as someone said once, your pain at least keeps him alive in a way … #TriumphantTales

  12. Siobhan says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Such a brave post and my heart goes out to you and your family xx #TriumphantTales

  13. What a terrible shock it must have been to lose a child so young from the family! I’ll give my son an extra hug tonight.

  14. Oh I’m so sorry to hear this – what an awful shock for you all 🙁 Sending love xx

  15. Claire says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I could feel the emotion when reading your post. I can’t imagine what you must have been going through 🙁

  16. I’m so sorry to read about the loss of your nephew. I can’t imagine what your family have been through since then. This is a lovely post to write in his memory. Sending lots of hugs to you, your sister and family x

  17. This post made me so sad. I am sorry for your loss. Please accept my condolences. Sending you virtual hugs.

  18. Laura Dove says:

    I am so sorry to hear this, what a devastating loss to you and your family. I lost my son in 2006 and I have heard similar comments from others, claiming to understand how I feel because their 90 year old grandmother died. Losing my son has changed me as a person, for always, and my life will never be the same going forward. Much love to you. xxx

  19. Stephanie says:

    Oh what a terrible thing to happen to anyone, he sounded like a wonderful boy and had a very loving family.

  20. Lauren Davis says:

    Wow you are so so brave to write this post, I lost my Dad when I was 9 and it still hurts but over time it does get easier. You just need to try and think that they wouldn’t want you to be sad. Well done for writing this post, I hope it helped you in some way xx

  21. So very sorry for your loss. It always feels harder to me when a child has died. The life they won’t live, the days, months and years and you have lost spending time with them.

  22. Jenni says:

    I can’t begin to imagine how you and your family feel, I hope it helped to write this and I hope it helps someone going though he same emotions to read it x

  23. Kara says:

    The loss of a child is devastating for any family and I don’t think it is something that anyone gets over, they just learn to live with it and keeping his memory alive is very important, especially for your sister

  24. Jaki says:

    I am so sorry. It must be so awful to experience this. This is so powerful, it even brought a little tear to the eye. Life can be so cruel at times. I’m sure he will live on through your memories and you celebrating how special and was and still is to you all. Thanks for sharing with #TriumphantTales, we’d love to see you back again on Tuesday!

  25. Kate says:

    What a shocking way to lose someone and so very young too. I think it is always the blog posts that we start not quite knowing what we want ourselves or others to take from them that are the most vital ones to write. Love and loss, part of the same coin sadly. He was young and it is clear from your post that he was very much loved. Popping over via Bloggers on thin ice

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Hi and welcome to The Willow Tree. I’m Michelle, also known as Shel and I am a mama to three beautiful crazy kids – I have two handsome boys and a wild and wonderful girl.

I really wanted a concrete place to share my love for travel, in particular Disney and offer my readers a chance to gain some knowledge around what we love to do as a family of 5.

I share our family adventures which include days out, travel advice and tips, holiday reviews, restaurant visits and of course, our love for Disney, including Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World.

Life is about creating memories, and here we are sharing them with you




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