Since Adam's illness, I have gradually joined a number of Facebook groups for families who have been affected by meningitis. Some children have survived, tragically, others have died as a result. Quite understandably, this grief remains incredibly raw for those families and I feel the greatest compassion for them - when I came close to the precipice as doctors quietly said that my son was likely to die, I simply could not comprehend the pain that overwhelmed me. Recently, I came across this poem; it had been posted in one of these groups by the family of a child who died after a devastating battle with Meningitis, and while the poem was written in different circumstances, the grief expressed is universal:
I lost my child today.
People came to weep and cry
As I just sat and stared, dry eyed.
They struggled to find words to say
To try and make the pain go away.
I walked the floor in disbelief. I lost my child today.
I lost my child last month.
Most of the people went away.
Some still call and some still stay.
I wait to wake up from this dream
This can't be real--I want to scream.
Yet everything is locked inside,
God, help me, I want to die. I lost my child last month.
I lost my child last year.
Now people, who had come, have gone.
I sit and struggle all day long,
to bear the pain so deep inside.
And now my friends just question, Why?
Why does this mother not move on?
Just sits and sings the same old song.
Good heavens, it has been so long. I lost my child last year.
Time has not moved on for me.
The numbness it has disappeared.
My eyes have now cried many tears.
I see the look upon your face,
"She must move on and leave this place."
Yet I am trapped right here in time.
The songs the same, as is the rhyme,
I lost my child......today.
No parent should ever have to bury a child, in any circumstances, and yet so many do. There are many tragedies in this world that we find almost impossible to prevent, but increasingly, through advances in medical science, it is possible to battle a number of different strains of Meningitis - instances of Group b Strep Meningitis can be significantly reduced through testing pregnant mothers for the bacteria and then offering antibiotics at birth; infections with Meningitis B can now be significantly reduced through vaccination. This shouldn't be an issue for political battles and long-term debates, for many it's a matter of life and death.
If you haven't yet signed the petition calling on the UK government to inform women of the risks of Group b Strep and to test them for it, then please do so here and then share widely: UK Parliament Petition There is also a petition on Change.org.
If you haven't yet signed the petition calling on the government to extend the Meningitis B vaccination programme to all children, then please do so here: UK Parliament Petition
If you know any pregnant women, or are pregnant yourself, then please visit the Group b Strep Support website for information on this potentially devastating, but preventable infection: Group B Strep Support
Poem written by Netta Wilson whose daughter, Caprice Cara Wilson, died in a car accident in 1994. Netta died in 2011 and this poem was published in "The Newsletter of the Compassionate Friends" in 2001.