parents

Three years ago, Arlene sent her healthy, excited 5-year-old son to school. He didn't return.

As many of you would have this morning, on this day three years ago, Arlene Kennedy sent her excited, healthy son Jack to school.

He was particularly excited, dressed as an elf, because it was the day of the school Christmas concert.

Unfortunately, the 5-year-old never made it back to his mother, as he was struck down by an ordinary cold and flu virus, which claimed his life in less than 24-hours.

“I was doing all the things that you will be doing with your children just now, decorating the house, writing letters to Santa, visiting Santa, watching Christmas movies, Christmas shopping, planning Christmas day and trying to do everything to give my son the best Christmas,” Arlene wrote in a post on a memorial Facebook page for her son.

“I would never see him run down the stairs desperate to see if Santa had been, I would never get to see him open his presents, play with his toys and do all the Christmas things that most families do.

“Nobody knows what tomorrow might bring and sadly tomorrow is never guaranteed for any of us.”

The full post is accompanied by an image of Jack cuddling his mother Arlene and urges other busy mums to stop and remember what’s really important this Christmas.

Jack and Arlene. Image: Brightest Star Facebook page

So far it has been liked more than 31,000 times and shared over 7,300.

“I, like everyone else, could easily get caught up in the Christmas stress, worrying about money, worrying about presents, stressing out in the shops, rushing here, there and everywhere, and worrying about pleasing everyone else,” Arlene writes.

“With hindsight, none of the Christmas stress was really worth it. All that was important was the time that I spent with Jack and the memories that we made together along the way.

“In the midst of the Christmas rush, the busy shops, the festive nights out, take some time to make small but special memories with your children, watch a Christmas movie together, play a game, make cards or read a Christmas book.”

Jack’s parents set up the Brightest Star charity and Facebook page in memory of their son, to try to raise awareness and funds to save children’s lives, but also support families suffering similar loss.

You can read the post in full below:

This time 3 years ago, my life was like many of yours. I was a mum to a handsome 5 year old little boy who was excited for Xmas. I was doing all the things that you will be doing with your children just now, decorating the house, writing letters to Santa, visiting Santa, watching xmas movies, xmas shopping, planning xmas day and trying to do everything to give my son the best Christmas. Little did I know that my life was about to change forever, my son was never going to see that Christmas or any Christmas after that. I would never see him run down the stairs desperate to see if Santa had been, I would never get to see him open his presents, play with his toys and do all the Christmas things that most families do.

Nobody knows what tomorrow might bring and sadly tomorrow is never guaranteed for any of us. I like everyone else could easily get caught up in the Christmas stress, worrying about money, worrying about presents, stressing out in the shops, rushing here, there and everywhere, and worrying about pleasing everyone else. Was it really a big deal that I wouldn’t what I needed from the shops? Was it really a bug deal that the shops were busy and I had to wait in cues? Was it really a big deal that I couldn’t get a parking space? Or that I didn’t send Xmas cards? Or that I didn’t know what to get people? Or that I couldn’t get to see everyone on Xmas Day? Or that people didn’t agree with my decisions?

With hindsight, none of the Christmas stress was really worth it. All that was important was the time that I spent with Jack and the memories that we made together along the way. I am so thankful for all the things that I got to do with Jack on the lead up to that Xmas as I know so many people never get the chance to experience the gift of being a parent. Christmas really is about the kids and the memories that you make with them, not the money that you spend on them.

In the midst of the Christmas rush, the busy shops, the festive nights out, take some time to make small but special memories with your children, watch a Xmas movie together, play a game, make cards or read a Xmas book. One of the things that Jack loved to do that last Xmas was have me sing the 12 days of Christmas book to him in funny voices. During his last phone call to me, he said “mum we sang that song in school today” when I asked what song, he replied with “the one you sing in the funny voice, 5 golden rings”. It was something small but now it’s a special memory.

Don’t forget to take some pictures of the memories along the way. I didn’t know that true value of a photograph until they were all I had left of my son.

Arlene, Jack’s Mummy xx

Tags:
00:00 / ???