Royale was such a big, happy, healthy boy who was perfect in every way possible.
“From the minute he entered this world, he was amazing. It was like he had read the baby book before he was born! I knew he was special the moment I set eyes on him; his two big brothers were besotted with him and loved him from the moment I brought him home from the hospital.
Nothing ever fazed Royale, he was so content. He would get up, have a feed and go back down. He loved his sleep, so he did. He had the biggest, most beautiful eyes that I had ever seen and a smile that would light up a room. He was always so happy and full of smiles wherever he went. Everyone in the family absolutely adored him; we were blessed to be given another healthy baby boy. He touched many hearts in my small hometown of Stonehouse, South Lanarkshire.
Sadly, he only stayed with us for 7.5 months, as he suddenly lost his life on the 23rd February 2019.
I never thought that putting Royale down for his after dinner nap would have turned my life upside down. The moment I realised that I had lost my precious little boy was the worst moment in my life.
So many thoughts and questions were going through my head and shock then struck me at the same time. One of the main things that kept going round and round was how could I explain to my two other sons that a great day out had turned into every parents’ worst nightmare. How could I tell them that their baby brother had died?
The boys were aware something was wrong as they seen me screaming and crying, seen the police there and their brother getting rushed away in an ambulance. My eldest also witnessed my neighbour doing CPR.
The impact of Royale’s death affected each family member differently. My eldest son had to be given support in school when he was finding it especially hard. He’d gone back to school a couple days after losing his brother as I felt that routine and normality was the best thing for him. The school were aware of our loss and were a great support to him. He asks about his Royale all the time, so we always talk about him, share stories and look through pictures.
My middle son, who was only 2 at the time, was still a little too young to understand what exactly was going on, but he knew something was wrong. I told him that his little brother was an angel in the sky and he’ll always be in our hearts. Any time he sees an ambulance he relates it to Royale, the last time he seen him was when he was rushed into the ambulance that night.
We have a memory shelf in the house which has some of Royales things on it, and that is our spot if we’re feeling down. We can pull out his photo album or look at his things; that seems to bring some comfort to all of us.
Despite my pain and heartache, I had to make a decision for my future. I knew that I would have to carry on a new found life and start a journey of grief that will last a lifetime. A love for a child will never disappear no matter the length of time that goes by.
I could have buried my head in the sand and given up on life, which did cross my mind. But I also had to remember I have two little boys that need me just as much as I need them. I had to find the strength in me to keep moving forward with them, knowing that we are going to carry Royales’ memory with us.
The support I have received has been amazing; from school staff, friends, family, our toddler group that Royale attended and loved, my local community and the amazing charity The Scottish Cot Death Trust.
The Scottish Cot Death Trust spoke to me about grief and also helped to confirm that what I was telling my two sons was the best thing for us. They also set up grieving counselling for me and paid for it. As a single mum I wouldn’t have been able to afford it otherwise.
Counselling helped me so much. I was able to see things much more clearly. Most times I would hold it together and try to be strong for the boys, but doing that didn’t help my eldest. He questioned why he was the only one crying. Counselling helped me to be more open and once my son seen me crying, he knew it was ok for him to cry too. I have told them both that it’s good to cry as it helps to release the pain.
I have chosen to take part in the Kiltwalk to raise funds for the Trust as they paid for my counselling; I would like to give them something back to say thank you to them. I want to help raise awareness of cot death and maybe my story will help other parents that have had to experience such a tragedy like we have.
I am doing the Kiltwalk with my friends who have supported me through this hard time and are always there for me whenever I have a bad day. We are walking in memory of Royale, to help keep his memory alive”.
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