Saturday the 11th October 2014 saw a rare sight of me dressed in other than sandals and three quarter length shorts, I actually managed to get myself into a shirt and tie!
Earlier on this year I received an email saying that Daddys with Angels had been nominated for an award. I thought little of it, as awards and praise are not the reason I do what I do. I was asked if I wanted to accept the nomination. At first I thought not. Why would I want to be recognised for doing something that was born out of the greatest loss and pain I had eve experienced in my life. Then, after some consideration I decided that I would accept the nomination. Not for the praise, but as an opportunity to let other know about Daddys with Angels, and what we do. As time went on I received notification that Daddys with Angels had been shortlisted and was asked to put together a profile for others to see; and decide if we were worthy of their vote. So that submitted I carried on with the daily work of running Daddys with Angels.
The week before the award my daughter asked me what I was going to wear………..I hadn’t even given it a thought. After having a liver transplant in 2012 and then developing fibromyalgia I had put on quite a bit of weight and was in constant pain, so could only manage to wear things that were easy to put on…sandals and three quarter length trousers. So a shopping trip was in order, not my favourite pastime, I must add!
So new suit bought I headed of to Kenilworth, having taken basic details off of google and managing to go the wrong way! But I got there. On arriving there were groups of people in groups chatting away and after getting myself a drink (non alcoholic, being the recipient of a donor liver I have to take care of it) I looked around and saw a friendly face, so made my way to her and was greeted with, ‘alright me duck’ so I knew I was in safe hands with someone local to my area.
As the evening progressed the conversation around the table became more chatty and friendly, sharing stories of the work we do, and where and how we do it. It was good to meet others that were doing similar things and meeting others who you had met in the virtual world of social media.
The awards began to be announced, there was a silence followed by the room being filled with rounds of applause and ‘whoops’, just showing the people there were just ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It got to the stage in the proceeding where the category Daddys with Angels was nominated for. As the list was being read out, 10 in total, I thought we didn’t stand a chance so began talking to David, who was at beside me. All of a sudden he looked at me, tapped me on the arm and said. It’s you! You’ve won! I was shocked and looked around. What shall I say? I didn’t expect to win!
I walked to the stage, and stopped at Mel who said she hated keeping secrets, still thinking what to say. I know my voice was trembling, part with shock and part being ill prepared of what to say. So, as I say to people who joining any Daddys with Angels groups; just say it as it is.
I talked about how no one, apart from the undertaker, had asked me how I was when my son Travers-James (T.J) grew his wings. That it wasn’t right and that men should be asked how they were when they lost a child. Men hurt too. I explained how Daddy with Angels goes past, but includes, what is normally considered as child loss and accept people with older children, (we don’t have an age limit. The oldest Angel we have is 32) . that it doesn’t matter how old your child was or how they grew their wings, they could have been murdered, taken their own lives, or died of an illness. They are all welcome, except FAKES!!
I was taken to have my photo taken with the award sponsor and felt a bit awkward as I am not used to being in the limelight, especially dressed in a shirt and tie!
The award part of the ceremony was over and Mel announced that an Angel mum was going to be doing a fire dance outside, but it was time for me to head home. I had left my phone in my car and when I looked at it there were several messages and notifications from Facebook, congratulating me on winning the award. But as someone had said during the evening, no one is a winner in child loss, but in a sense we are all winners for what we do.
Arriving home I quickly changed into something more comfortable and turned on my computer. Not to see the notifications or messages of congratulations, but to do what I would normally do and see if there was anything needing to be done for the group members. I turned my computer off at 4am.
On the award it say, celebrating champions and survivors of baby loss’. I don’t consider myself a champion and I guess no one else who received an ward considers themselves as champions either. We do what we do because we know and understand the pain of child loss, some personally and some through others. We are more guides, helping other on their journey, helping them understand the new feelings they have and adjust their lives to a new normal.