On November 20 last year, UK television presenter Simon Thomas, his wife Gemma, and their son, Ethan, were looking forward to Christmas.
They’d taken a beach holiday in the months before, and Gemma’s Instagram account shows how they were readying their home for the festivities when, without warning, the 40-year-old mum fell sick with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.
Within three days, she was dead.
“If you are a prayer – pray for my boy Ethan who is eight years old, precious, and in bits,” Simon, 44, posted to Twitter the day after her death, adding he was “crushed with indescribable pain”.
Christmas was not Christmas at all, and Simon and Ethan welcomed the New Year through a fog thick with grief and shock.
But Simon’s message throughout, “light in the darkness”, is proving to be true. And people – strangers, friends, family – are showing kindness in amazing ways.