Today I had the great fortune of catching up with Rev’d David Southall, the Chaplain at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital where Frankie was born, over coffee at the hospital with my Dad. For those of you who are new to this blog I first met Rev’d Southall when I was about five months pregnant with Frankie, having read an article about him in the Worcester News which focused on his “Good News” blog www.revdavidsouthall.com, which focused on showcasing good and positive news stories and good treatment from the Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust and the hospitals covered by the trust such as the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch. I wrote a letter to the Worcester News to say how much I enjoyed the article and coming across Rev’d Southall’s blog, and made a mental note to try and meet him when I was at the hospital for a consultant appointment last August.
I was brought up Catholic although I’ve never really been a practising one in that I don’t go to Church every Sunday, but through meeting Rev’d Southall I immediately felt much closer spiritually to God. I realised then that it doesn’t matter what your faith is or what you believe, if you come across something or meet someone that helps you feel spiritually closer to God, then you should grab that opportunity with everything you have. Part of what has put me off over the years is the Church’s seemingly inability to move with the times, although that’s changing a lot with the current Pope in the Catholic religion.
So it was such a refreshing change to meet Rev’d Southall and see him tweeting, using facebook and blogging extensively to promote what he does and his Good News blog. I found this so positive and I was over the moon when I was able to be a guest blogger on his site, and talk about my pregnancy and having Frankie. Things then obviously took a rapid turn for the worst when Frankie was diagnosed with his cleft lip and palate, and then talipes, and then nuchal odema on the back of his neck, then we had good news in that Downs, Edwards, Turners and Patau’s syndromes were ruled out, then Frankie was born sleeping, and had he lived he would have been severely physically and mentally disabled as he had Chromosome 15 Duplication Syndrome. And all the while through all of this, through each devastating piece of news we had, through every tragic event that occurred, through Frankie being born sleeping, his baptism and his funeral, Rev’d David Southall was there every step of the way.
I went through all the things that my husband and I are doing; the plans for Frankie’s Legacy as a charity, the launch of the Worcestershire Bereavement Support Group, the fun day event we are helping with in May to raise funds for SANDS, the fundraising we want to do to improve the delivery suite facilities at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and the new small project that my husband and I are hoping to launch in the next couple of weeks. More on that later, but I’m absolutely delighted to say that Rev’d Southall has agreed to come on board the project as an Ambassador, he’ll be an amazing asset to the project when it is launched and beyond.
And I came away from our catch up feeling really energised. And it got me thinking about how things are meant to be, even if you don’t see them at the time. I wasn’t looking at the Worcester News every day last summer (unlike now, I don’t miss a day of it) and yet I happened to look at it on the day that the article written by Tarik Al Rasheed about Rev’d Southall was published. I was lucky enough to meet him when I was at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital for my consultant appointment, and to keep in touch with him through the tragic turn of events that followed with Frankie. No matter how much I miss my Frankie, how much I long to hold him in my arms, hear him cry, see him open his eyes, events happened exactly as they were supposed to. Instead of hating God I almost think that God saved me, saved Frankie and everyone else around him from a horrible existence and a life that, well, just wasn’t a life. I wouldn’t have wanted to see my son suffer in such a horrific way, and he would have suffered greatly, not to mention his life expectancy would have been very low indeed. I still sometimes think why did it have to be MY Frankie, and why did it have to be me that all this has happened to. What did I do to deserve such a horrible turn of events and have the son I wanted so much taken away from me so cruelly?
I could have gone one of two ways. I could have VERY easily locked myself away, got depressed, not looked after myself, not talked to anyone, not gone out and not gone back to work. But what would have been the point in doing that? I wouldn’t have achieved anything. It wouldn’t have brought Frankie back and it wouldn’t have changed the outcome of everything that happened. I know that if Frankie was here and could speak he would have given me a massive kick up the backside if I had done that, told me to stop feeling sorry for myself and to get on with my life, to not forget him, and to give his existence some meaning and help others because of him. That’s what I am hoping to do now in some small way – with Frankie’s Legacy as a charity, with the Worcestershire Bereavement Support Group and with the new project that my husband and I are working on. Through Frankie I want to do some good in the world and help others, even if in only a very small way.
I just hope that I’m worthy and up to the tasks ahead.