My life shock & journey to the third sector

‘Life Shock – an unexpected moment offering an opportunity for self-awareness. These moments are collision points between life as we see it and life as it actually is. They shock us into paying attention. (Sophie Sabbage, Author of Life Shocks: And How to Love Them.)’

My life shock started when my beautiful little boy Harrison made a very early appearance into this world, 8 weeks prior to his expected arrival date. At that point my husband and I were blissfully unaware that our lives were never going to be the same again, they would involve numerous tests, procedures and operations on our helpless little boy, endless hours of waiting and hoping for some sort of miracle and worst of all the reality that we may have very limited time left with our son.

We were lucky to get Harrison home to start making memories as a family together, seeing in a special Christmas and Harrison’s 2nd birthday, before our little man decided he was too good for this world and passed away in our arms in August 2016.

I went from caring for my son 24 hours a day to nothing, just silence and a silence that I needed to fill.

Prior to Harrisons arrival, I worked in the offshore industry as a recruiter in a fast-paced office where my main focus was how much commission I would earn that month. I hadn’t worked now for 2 and a half years and the thought of going back into that environment filled me with dread. I knew then that I needed to go back to work but I needed to do something that was more fulfilling and that was when I was approached by the chair of a very special charity called Charlie House.

Charlie House is a local charity that supports babies, children and young people with complex disabilities and life limiting conditions. They not only support the affected child but also the whole family. They offer activity clubs, siblings clubs, emotional and practical support for both parents and siblings and a yearly trip to the Calvert Trust – Kielder. Their main goal is to build a specialist support centre in Aberdeen that will provide planned and emergency respite, palliative and end-of-life care for children.

Charlie House is very close to my heart as it provided me with a network of friends I would never have met, an amazing support system where everyone is in the same boat and understands exactly what you are going through. Had Harrison still been here today they would have been invaluable to us as a family.

I am so proud to now work for a charity so close to my heart – something I would never have considered before Harrison. I love how I can give my input on what the families we support may or may not like based on my experiences, and I do believe that if anything positive had to come from losing our little boy it is that his legacy can help me help others.