I'm not sure there's a more powerful way to illustrate why I'm fundraising for Tommy's. It still makes me well up reading it now, remembering how dark those early days felt. And then remembering the incredible lightness the reply from Tommy's gave me.
It was like I was being given permission to forgive myself and move my focus to navigating life with Luke in our hearts rather than our arms, to look to the future rather than being fixated on the past.
Helping other families facing loss
In the years since Luke's death I have tried to give back in different ways as and when I've felt able to. I have shared my 'stillbirth birth story' widely as part of Baby Loss Awareness Week because when I found out Luke had died I was utterly terrified about the physical process of giving birth and desperate to hear real life stories of how people had managed to use the birth itself as part of bonding with their baby, trying to ensure memories were as full of connection and meaning as possible even in the midst of an unfathomable loss.
I started an Instagram account which talked about Luke and how I tried to find meaning and gratitude through the dark initial days. In all honesty, it was as much an outlet for myself as to help others but I hope it did a little of both. I offer to speak to newly bereaved parents and support them as best I can because I know I found those personal relationships invaluable when I was in the early days – and I've forged some truly incredible bonds and friendships through the process.
Finally, I have also committed to raising money for causes and charities that either helped us, or help other bereaved parents, as a legacy for Luke and a way for his memory to endure as widely as possible.
Taking on the Skyscraper Challenge for Tommy’s
In the past I have raised money for the hospital where Luke was born and for smaller charities doing amazing things to support parents. But until now I haven't raised money directly for Tommy's.
2023 is the year Luke would have turned 5. To mark such an important milestone I had in my mind the goal to raise £5,000 and so when I heard about the Skyscraper Challenge I knew this was exactly the right challenge for me.
I've run half marathons and done other physical challenges in the past to fundraise but the climb and zipwire combination is very far outside my comfort zone – enough to hopefully inspire donations that will top all my previous efforts!
Our life as a family
Luke now has both an older and a younger sister – Lara and Rosie. Both girls are an inspiration in how they talk about their brother and his place in our family. We're flying over together (from Gibraltar where we all live) so they can watch Mummy sail through the sky, and I know they'll be my biggest cheerleaders.
When Luke died my biggest fear was that every day would be dark. But now I see light everywhere, especially when I look at my daughters, and the life our family has built around our loss. Luke will always be with us, we'll always be a family of five – just one that looks different from the outside.
Taking part in this challenge and raising money for a charity who helped me so much feels like the very best way to say "Happy 5th birthday, Luke. We all love you so much."