My nephew, Dylan, passed away from SIDS on April 19th 2008.
It's approaching 8-years ago. He was 16-months old. My son at the time was 14-months.
My sister in law, step sister and I were all pregnant at the same time, which was really exciting and all 3 boys were born over the two months December to February. Dylan was first.
Now having 2 children, it's easy for me to say the time has flown by. I look at my 9-year old son, Jack, and it seems like only yesterday he was on the floor at my brothers playing with Dylan on a trip to Wangaratta.
It's easy for me to say this as I haven't lived with the loss of my own child each day. I have lived with a feeling of guilt though.
I remember the phone ringing late that night. I heard it in my sleep and ignored it a few times. When I finally answered it, it was my brother. I felt guilty I hadn't answered earlier.
I was numb. My husband, Luke, woke Jack and bought him to me for a cuddle. I didn't want to cuddle him. I felt numb and guilty. How could I cuddle my son, when my brother had just lost his? I felt guilty.
Obviously we cried a lot as a family over the coming weeks and months. I cried for my nephew, my brother, my sister in law, my parents. Each time I cried I felt guilty.
I watched my children reach milestones - turning 5, first football matches, first day of school. I was happy (obviously) for them, but I felt and still feel a pang of guilt with each milestone.
The loss of a child affects parents in ways that are unimaginable. It also affects grandparents, aunties, uncles, siblings and family friends.
What surprises me is the guilt I feel and how it stays with me. I feel guilty just writing this, like I am making it about me, when clearly it shouldn't be.
I do write it though (a little tearfully) to help raise awareness and funds for Red Nose Day and the work these amazing people do - educating, researching and supporting.
This year is the second time we are together running the Little Rockers RED NOSE Disco through Child Care Centres Australia wide. Young children can disco dance, wear red, and bring in gold coin donations, all while having a blast dancing to a special Little Rockers broadcast on Red Nose Day, Friday 24th June.
It seems nice to think thousands of little children can dance and play and have fun across Australia, and for me personally, it's in memory of Dylan.
We encourage Child Care Centres nationally to take part and help raise funds for this amazing cause. Or you can also take part at your own house with friends, Mums from Mother's Groups or at playgroup.
My feelings of guilt will never go, I will sit with it knowing I am now doing what I can to support the cause - for me, for my brother, for my family and for Dylan. xo
Please visit Red Nose Day to register and to find out more.
UPDATE: I am very please to announce ARN have come on board to support Red Nose Day and the Disco. You can find out all about it here.