For Hugo For Life

A family's longing for a child lost to Meningitis


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Feliz Navidad a nuestro querido Hugo

IMG_3123This year Christmas, we spent out of the country with just ourselves, contrasting with the gathering of friends and family last year when Hugo was still around celebrating the xmas spirit. We decorated our tree and with the baubles and lights. Hugo was very excited and kept on touching the lights and trying to pull them off the tree last year. He was smiling away on Christmas Day when I dressed the boys up in fancy dress. Jasper was a green little elf and Hugo was the little cute Santa. It was so happy and fun. We took family photos and opened presents on Boxing Day.

There were lots of friends and children visiting and sharing the lovely toys and food we hosted in our house over the holidays. Hugo and Jasper loved all the attention from playing with other children. It was busy, loud and manic with sleep overs and constant eating and playing. We could not go through the same without Hugo this year and it felt too false and hollow, just going through the motions. Spending Christmas away for us in a quiet relaxing place away from extended family and friends is what we decided to do.

IMG_3164_newWe are missing a dear loved one from our family and xmas is an intense reminder of the line that was stepped over when our lives were suddenly infused with sorrow. At this time the warmth and glitzy feeling of crimbo represents a world that we don’t live in, save for our our efforts to provide some joy for Jasper. It feels as if we are looking through the window. But when it comes to Jasper we remain genuine for him. There is nothing that we can do to bring Hugo back to life.

We were invited to a few Christmas services which we all accepted to go and attempted to attend. I thought I could cope, be strong and be ready. I soon realised I could not control my feelings again. Our first concert organised by the MeningitisNow charity was the hardest thing for us to go through so soon after Hugo died. The moment I entered the church I was feeling overwhelmed with sadness on reflection of the music in the church hall. My poor little Jasper felt exactly the same way. He was immediately uncomfortable but it only took him a couple of minutes to realise how much he missed his little brother as he burst into tears and had to leave because the music and atmosphere made him really unhappy, reminding him that he is still very sad about Hugo. Jasper’s grief came out out on this rare occasion and I gave him a big hug and told him he will feel better afterwards and he did.

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It hurts me to see that my little 5 year old boy has so much on his shoulders and I can’t take any of that away from him. I can only hope he gets better at dealing with his grief of Hugo better and in the future he can still remember his little brother and would be much stronger to carry his heavy load of grief. We are all on the same journey and only with time we can ease the grief that will never leave us but it’s so hard to see that far to that moment.

IMG_1201IMG_1197We didn’t make it as a family to the other carol services as it was immensely difficult to bear but Simon and I did go to the last one that was held by the crematorium the night before we flew off to Barcelona. I could only manage to light a candle but could not stay any longer to think about Hugo amongst all the other people in the congregation who have lost loved ones. The pain of missing Hugo really stabbed my broken heart again leaking all the feelings of our tragedy and filling up it up with sorrow. Those feelings of our tragic life just attacks me with no way of stopping it. I can only take it all in and let it leave me when it wants to.

This is a life experience not everyone can truly understand but many have empathised. Thank you for your festive thoughts, cards and gifts to us, Jasper and Hugo. Christmas Eve night for us was a beautiful evening at beach, on La Mar Bella in Barcelona where we lit Christmas candles and released a Christmas balloon with card messages for Hugo. We woke up to a bright orange sunrise on a clear horizon on Christmas Day. It really brought smiles on our faces and knowing Hugo was sharing the same sky with us.

Merry Christmas from us, Jasper, Hugo and little bump xxxxx

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Happy 2nd Birthday

babies and tiny todds 896Tomorrow is Hugo’s birthday I know I haven’t really spoken out loud to anyone about his birthday and convey what I would like to do on his special day. It would be an emotional day for me and my family so I have decided to keep it a small and simple celebration this year as it has only been four months since Hugo left us. I hope to muster more strength to organise something for next year.

If you would like to do something for Hugo you can light a candle on his Forever Fund and write a lovely message there – My family and I would draw comfort from reading your well wishes and to know that  you are helping us to continue Hugo’s good work and hopefully we can exceed his fundraising target! Thanks.

http://meningitisnowforeverfunds.tributefunds.com/HugoWong

My letter to Hugo.

To my baby boy Hugo,

It is going to be your birthday this Sunday 10th August 2014. You would have been exactly two years old and I can imagine you running about and saying full sentences and learning to sing the birthday song at your own party if only you were still here……..I have tears of sadness of missing you so much but I can only imagine you at your party what you should be doing and enjoying the fun you deserve.

If only you were here, you would be celebrating with all your friends from nursery at your birthday party.

If only you were here, you would be chasing your party balloons and dancing and playing birthday party games.

If only you were here, and if you got hurt or fell over at your party, you would be running up to mummy for kisses and cuddles of comfort.

If only you were here, you would be bursting all the bubbles with Jasper and friends from the electric bubble machine and be laughing like crazy bears, if only you can be here.

If only you were here, Daddy would be snapping lots of photographs and videos of you so we can compare how much you have grown since your first birthday.

If only you were here, Jasper would be singing happy birthday to you and give you a warm brother kiss and hug – he misses you so much.

If only you were here, you would have blown out two candles on your birthday cake and everyone would have been clapping and cheering for you whilst you cut your birthday cake with mummy.

If only you were here, Daddy would be massaging your fat little feet when you are tired after your party and be reading you bedtime stories with Jasper.

If only you were here, mummy would have let you sleep in bed as a special birthday treat so you can snuggle up warm and close and wake up the next to mummy in the morning.

If only you were here, the next morning you would be opening all your birthday presents with Jasper ripping the wrapping paper and throwing it all about creating lovely fun mess for mummy to clear up.

If only you were here, you would be playing with all the toys you got from your friends and be sharing it with Jasper too.

If only! If only! If only! We wish this could come true one day when we can all be together.

Happy birthday to you my sweet baby Hugo. I love you always, mummy x


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Walking for Hugo at Nonsuch Park, Surrey

mainSunday 29th June turned out to be a truly amazing day to do a charity 1 mile walk in Hugo’s memory at the Nonsuch Park. Simon and I are truly blessed to have such a wonderful school community who we have only known for a year and a half through Jasper attending preschool, reception class and after school club. Hugo was always around me when I went to drop off and pick up Jasper.

Just from the collection buckets alone, £440 and still more is to be added to the amazing total on JustGiving pages set up by Jo McAneny and other parents too. A special thanks to Jo, Tor and Gerry for the work that they put in to conceptualise and organise this event. We thank everyone deeply for their work to raise money and for devoting a morning to walk the mile with us. Hearing Hugo’s name mentioned in everyone’s conversations today made him feel alive again. This walk has also brought me closer to the school mums who we have become friends and I am a little more comfortable in expressing my feelings.

Before the walk commenced, Jo McAneny,myself, Steve Dayman (founder of Meningitis Now) and Simon said a few words. We thanked everyone for being there and gave an update about what has been raised so far. It was so heartfelt to witness the turn out of so many generous people who sympathised with my family and wanted to raise awareness. Steve mentioned rightly that there is always more charity work to be done particularly with the push for the MenB vaccine to be made available to all infants on the NHS (currently only available on private health insurance)  as there is currently no vaccine for this strain of Meningitis.

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The kids had great fun. Just before the countdown for the walk Simon mentioned to all the children that this is not a race! But of course as soon as the word “go!” had been shouted and the orange ribbon barrier was down, we had over 50 kids charging across the start line! The mass of walkers thinned out naturally and it was amazing to see a sea of orange spreading along the grassy path of the 1 mile route.
For those based in the Epsom area, look out for a potential article in the Epsom Guardian about Hugo’s walk. Thanks to Emma for putting them in touch with the event. Also, thank you to Andy and Glenn who were running around snapping away with their big boy cameras.
I’d say Sunday has been an emotional day for me, my grief for Hugo tried to emerge from my speech but soon took over me as I started to walk. The sunshine reminded me that Hugo was ok , he brought those warm sun rays on us to walk away happy and loved. As I walked, I recognised Hugo has been here before too. I remember I used to visit this park with Jasper learning how to right his first bike with his daddy, uncles and I was pushing Hugo in his buggy crossing the same paths and grassy areas. It felt like he was walking with me again………..I could imagine him running after the rest of the kids, falling and rolling around on the grass. I’m so proud and comforted by all the efforts and support from everyone. Thank you from us four. XXxx
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A day before the house move

Packing before the move

Hugo amongst the boxes in the lounge

This is my last post in the house before we move property. I’ve been a bit control freakish recently, ensuring that I prepped our belongings for the professional packers before they commenced work, to make it easier for them. Lift and shift was the idea, but I hated the idea of not knowing where everything was after the removals team had put everything in boxes, so I tidied up and organised stuff into their rightful drawers first. My investment would surely make pay off when unpacking. But I also wanted Hugo’s things separately and clearly marked so that it wouldn’t be lost amongst the melange of family items.

As a means of settling Hugo when he arrives at his new house, I put his favourite things in our suitcase for easy access. A Row Row Row your boat musical book will be one of the first things played in the house. Jasper seems indifferent to the move, not overly interested about the complete change to his home environment over the course of the following day, despite repeated but gentle reminders by his worried parents. Perhaps he has got it right; after all, we are still the same people with same behaviours and prejudices socialised and embedded over many years. I do acknowledge that the environment can play an important part of our wellbeing. So time will tell how this house will change my family but I know that we have a massive opportunity to make our mark.

We will find a little spot for Hugo. It won’t be anything like a shrine, more like a quiet space where we feel him alive again, contemplate his life in peace, maybe a photo or two. Hopefully a sunny spot will make itself known to us for this reason. Hugo has seen the place in passing seated in our car but has never set foot inside during viewings. I am drawn to imagining him running through the house if he were alive or having bath time or bedtime with mummy and daddy. He would still be sleeping in our bed. If only he was still alive.

Eva’s brothers came over today to see us and consequently were roped into doing hard labour in the garden. We have two baby trees that were planted when we first moved into Stoneleigh. One is a Grand Fir (Christmas Tree) and the other is a Korean Fir. The Korean Fir blossomed like crazy over the year and a half that we have lived here as a family. It has these beautiful purple cones that project vertically and needles for leaves that are not at all prickly but are in fact quite soft and densely packed on each branch. Its appearance is stocky and tends to grow as wide as it grows tall so it actually looks like a cuddly toy tree. This was not lost on Hugo either who used to stomp, waddle and fall over to the Korean Fir at the back of the garden to pat and cuddle the plant, which was initially the same height as Hugo. We know it as the Hugo Tree now. It is uprooted and ready to be taken today, along with the Grand Fir to be replanted in the new garden. It is a small thing, but I take a little comfort in believing that something of Hugo’s life will continue to grow near his daddy, in the tree that has had the physical touch and attention of my precious boy.

It was Father’s day just gone. I know Hugo, so do I, daddy.

 

 


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Forever Day with MeningitisNow

We almost didn’t go to the Forever Day but decided pretty late in the week that we should be brave and make the effort.

I’m really glad we did. It made us realise that we had not had our own time as a couple to grieve away from home, away from distractions. The first workshop hit it home – “Looking After Yourself”. It was plainly obvious but hidden in plain sight all this time. We thought that we did everything that we needed to do to haul ourselves through the first 2 months. Actually we had looked after everyone else but us. Parents, brothers, Jasper and our community all served and embraced and loved at the Celebration Day, but we forgot to look for ourselves in amongst our sharing.

Jasper made friends with everyone. We found strength from our peers today, such expressions of hope from the lovely trustees and parents with similar sentiments as us. We sensed the oneness from all who were there. As Lisa said it was borne out of tragedy that we are met but it has made us so much kinder to one another.

I’m reading William Wordsworth’s We Are Seven. (Ta Vanessa).

We shall visit the memorial garden in the future. Hugo will be honoured with a plaque to join the others who lost their lives to Meningitis. It took us 2 hours 45 mins to drive back to Stoneleigh, the M25 was harbouring delays due to happy campers getting back at the end of the half term break. Something has been fixed though, Eva smiled for me and Jasper. Bubbles Hugo.