Thirteen years ago, I lost my daughter and her unborn son to SUDEP. This was the moment my life changed for ever.
Samantha was my first child, born when I was only sixteen. She was beautiful inside and out. It was a happy day when she told me she was having a baby. She had suffered from epilepsy from the age of sixteen, though we never considered her to be at risk.
Prior to losing Sam, I was an ordinary mum of three, a primary school teacher working towards my first headship.
Since then, for several years, I worked as a headteacher but now back at the chalk-face, teaching primary children in a job I adore. I have worked in education for over 20 years.
I decided to attempt to write my feelings down about the loss of my daughter. I have tried over many years to do so, and found it overwhelming at times and often gave up. As time moved on, I have now been able to put my thoughts and feelings into words.
I hadn’t considered publishing them before, but eventually took up the courage. Through Plate Glass is available for Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.
This is a very personal experience for me. However, after sharing them with family, friends and other bereaved mothers, I thought it may help for others to go through my journey with me and recognise that there is a way to overcome the devastation.
It is not my intention for the poetry to just create a feeling of sadness, more that they will instil some degree of hope while pouring out so many emotions.
Until she died, I never heard of SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). It kills approximately 1,000 every year but is still not spoken about to those with epilepsy, or to their parents/carers. Through this book, I would like to raise awareness in the hope that it may prevent someone from sharing our tragic experience. I also want to help anyone who is experiencing the awful grief of losing a child. Finally, I would like everyone to meet my beautiful daughter Samantha.
Another ordinary day,
Christmas shopping, fish and chip lunch,
Nothing to worry about.
A normal Saturday,
Shopping put away, nice cuppa and football on TV,
Waiting for a text from her but no reply.
Usual Christmas preparations,
Christmas lights to go up on the roof,
Still no reply. She must be busy.
Father and son busy hanging lights,
Recognised laughter and good humour,
I’ll nip up and see if she’s home.
The lights are nearly all on now,
A fringe of blue and white,
She’s home but no answer!
Epilepsy deaths are not common but do happen, and while not all deaths are avoidable, some are. SUDEP Action is dedicated to raising awareness of epilepsy risks and tackling epilepsy deaths. They are the only UK charity specialised in supporting and involving people bereaved by epilepsy.
If you have been affected by an epilepsy death please visit www.sudep.org or contact the SUDEP Action support team on 01235 772852.
Have you experienced something similar? Tell us your story below.