Those who’ve read my ramblings to date will know that in 2009 my son Luke died after being involved in an accident in Thailand. A son was lost, but at the same time a brother was gone, in the grief that losing a child bring it can be easy to forget the other people involved.
Luke’s death affected my step children Peter and Kerry who have also had to cope with the death of their Dad since, but I’m going to write about my daughter Alexandra and son Jake now. Alex was 17, Jake 14 when they lost their big brother, but I want to write about where they are now.
Alex left home when she was 18, largely to get away from being the girl who’d lost her brother, she made her way in Winchester gaining qualifications in childcare working in a nursery. She worked long hours during that time, with added studying on top. Her situation in Winchester changed and she came home, well the home I was living in then, for a few months.
Having been on a couple of school trips to Paris she decided she wanted to work and live there, her childcare and the fact that she was 20 meant that an au pair job was forthcoming quite quickly. 4 years ago this month Alex packed one of the biggest cases you’ve seen and got on a Eurostar train to Paris. A 20 year old young woman who had a smattering of schoolgirl French was off in a foreign land.
In the last 4 years I’ve watched Alexandra grow into a bi-lingual, confident young woman, her French is so strong that at times she forgets the right English word! She could easily get away with being French in her style and the way she carries herself and has made so many friends from many different countries. I’ve made over a dozen trips to Paris, often when a rugby match is being played by some strange coincidence, and would be lying if I said it was easy to leave her each time I do. But I couldn’t be more proud of the woman she has grown to be, she has a kindness and friendliness about her that draws others to her.
My son Jake was 14 when his brother died and we had some challenging times in the years after we lost Luke, but Jake got himself an apprenticeship with a local company and through his own hard work and endeavour he passed with flying colours and was put forward as Apprentice of the Year. Not bad for a lad who in effect opted out of school at 14!
Having been through an apprenticeship he’s become a worker that people want to have in their company, i literally used to have to drag Luke out of bed to get him to work but Jake has a work ethic which is second to none. He worked at night for a while and was unhappy when the work didn’t come off, he wasn’t happy to simply receive his money he wants to work for it. That attitude has made him someone worth employing, at 21 he has a well paid job with good prospects.
He also has something far more valuable, his own son Ronnie. Being the youngest of 5 he hasn’t particularly been used to being around young babies but he’s taken to being a Dad as a natural. Both he and his partner are wonderful with Ronnie and the love shines out of their eyes. They live with me for now, but over the next year will make plans to stand on their own feet.
The point of this rambling? To put into words how proud I am of my children but also to remind others that may be in the same sad situation that we were in as a family, that life has to go on and your other children must be given the chance to shine and grow into adults who can achieve all they’re capable of. One life lost doesn’t mean others have to stop, give your children the love and support they need to fly.