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Luen’s blog: Grief is the price we pay for love

Following the sad news about the death of The Queen we have all seen what a ‘good death’ and quality of life up until the end looks like. And Operation London Bridge has shown us the importance of planning with family members and significant others. 

Right now might be a good time to think about how we normalise thinking and talking about death and dying. It’s inevitable, it will happen to us all, but it almost always comes too soon, even when the person dying is in their 90’s. But it feels even more tragic when the one who dies is a baby or child.

Very sadly, 1 in 4 people in the UK experience pregnancy or baby loss. However, despite this, stigma and silence can often mean families feel isolated in their grief.

We should be able to talk about this, say our baby’s name and celebrate everything about them. Not only that, but support services shouldn’t be a postcode lottery. We should all have access to a choice of services that will help us and our families and that access should be equal, irrespective of age, sex, colour, religion, sexuality and capacity. 

Next week is Baby Loss Awareness Week and to honour and remember every life lost, we will stand together with hundreds of thousands of people around the world to light a candle at 7pm on Saturday 15th October. If you’ve been affected by baby loss you can join us at The Piece Hall in Halifax to write your baby’s name on a lantern and watch it being lit as part of the wave of light. Or you can show your support by lighting your own candle at home. 

Part of our work with families facing, or who have experienced, baby loss, is to help them develop their own Operation London Bridge, helping them to understand what the future may hold for them, what choices they have and how to spend as much quality time as possible with their baby.

Those of us that watched the funeral service for the Queen will be left with abiding memories of the procession, the service, what we were doing that day, when we met or saw The Queen or any other Royal Family member, and so many other things. It is our job to help the families we support to create as many lovely memories as possible of time with their child. Memories they will treasure for ever.

Here’s what one mum told us: “Families need people who understand and are there during the darkest times and to remember and celebrate their child, even though they are no longer there.”

As the Queen so profoundly said, “grief is the price we pay for love”. Let’s use Baby Loss Awareness Week to celebrate the lives of all those we have loved.