For Hugo For Life

A family's longing for a child lost to Meningitis


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One year ago & arrival of an angel

IMG_0156The first anniversary since Hugo’s passing was a difficult and emotional day. Just a over a year ago he was alive, at the prime of his life, enjoying every moment with his family and playing with his brother Jasper. I remember my cries for Hugo to try one last time to wake up, I was constantly praying for a miracle to happen that he would be cured and end our nightmare. I begged him not to leave us and I knew inside that he had tried his best to stay with us as long as he could.

That day came when the life support machines were turned off to end his suffering, I lost my baby Hugo. I am a mother who lost her child. A big part of me went with Hugo as my grief consumed me instantly from that moment onwards. I was at my lowest point of wanting so badly to take his place so I can bring him back. If I could lay down my life to choose for him to live, I would do so without any hesitation as would any other parent. I wished I could go back in time and change what had happened to him.

IMG_8861We sang his favourite nursery rhymes during his last moments of life as his heart beat stopped beating in my arms surrounded by Jasper and Simon all holding his hands and feet. All my family and Simon’s mum were at his bedside. Enough was enough, his little body had worked so hard to fight this awful disease.  He had to leave us and we feel very sad that this was the only path that we could take. I know he misses us and we miss him just as much and more. He is in a place that does not have any concept of time, he is safe and he is surrounded by love. I know these are my thoughts of comfort because he has given me signs to say he is OK.

“I know Hugo, mummy knows and is very proud that you have told me soon after you passed. You put up such a strong fight on your tiny tired little body. My little Hugo, I have missed you everyday and will never stop missing you until I see you again.”

IMG_0303We have got through this year with great difficulty and for me it was even more so as the pain of my grief was heightened even more with the hormone exchanges in my body whilst I was pregnant with our third baby who arrived in March this year. Mixed feelings of happiness and sadness toyed with me and was ongoing throughout the pregnancy and afterwards.

On the 26th March 2015, Hugo and Jasper discovered that they are big brothers of their baby sister Bernice. I felt Hugo knew all along as I’m sure he was watching over the birth his sister. This is why.

Early that morning, I left the house with Simon after making the call to Epsom hospital to confirm my appointment time. I was the first patient to have the elective C section of the day. Hugo was constantly in my head on the way in the car and when I arrived I was told to wait in the recovery room to get prepared by the midwife. To my surprise, I didn’t expect another couple already in the same room and we were separated by a curtain. I assumed that the woman gave birth via emergency C section and we heard her new baby starting to cry and when they uttered a few soothing words to the baby and it rang clear to us ” oh Hugo, Hugo……”.
We were so shocked and surprised and immediately we felt we were blessed with this as a reminder of Hugo’s presence. It was like this that we learnt that they called their son Hugo. An hour later, Bernice arrived calmly and safely, Simon and I were very happy and I was overwhelmed with emotional feelings of joy. Our little Hugo was also there to share our joy as well. We took Bernice to visit Hugo’s baby garden on his anniversary day, 10th April 2015. It was a lovely sunny day and they were properly introduced finally. She will grow up getting to know both her brothers.
Loving our Hugo forever, we are now a family of five.
Eva, Simon, Jasper, Hugo & Bernice
xxxxx
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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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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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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.