My own father died of cancer in 1989 when I was a teenager. Even though he had been ill for some time, I had no idea what to expect after he died and I don't think anyone else did either. Looking back, I think it was a big influence on my decision to work in the third sector. It definitely led me to the child bereavement sector and to supporting other children and young people who are going through what I did. I wouldn't be doing what I am doing now if it hadn't been for my own experience of bereavement.
Every story I hear about the courage and resilience of a child facing a devastating loss sets the light bulbs flashing. Of course, I recognise some of my own experiences in these stories. It makes me think "what more could we do?"
I meet adults who were bereaved as children all the time. They are some of our most passionate supporters – when they see what we do, the light bulbs go on for them too. For some it might have been the first time that they've begun to understand their own grief.
People sometimes say you don't need to know about services like ours until you need us. I don't think that's true. Almost everyone has a connection with a painful bereavement close to them. Everyone can understand the devastation that a child will feel when they face up to such a loss. Not thinking about this doesn't make it go away. The light bulbs go on. Sometimes the light is blinding.