This morning, I was privileged to be invited to visit Richard House Children’s Hospice in Newham. What an amazing place! What amazing people! Richard House provides care for children with life-limiting conditions and complex healthcare needs, as well as support for the whole family. The emphasis is on positive experiences and creating memories.
The purpose-built centre is light, bright and airy with beautiful gardens and outdoor planting and play areas. Apart from a few clues it looks like any other children’s playcentre, with children’s artwork on the walls, children’s sensory toys and a well-stocked playroom and sensory suite. There’s also a teenage den to give the older ones some separate space. The residential-care rooms look just like a bedroom at home (ok, a lot tidier than the bedrooms in my house but you get the idea!)
It feels wrong that parents have to experience the death of a child. It feels wrong that the innocence of siblings is shattered at such an early age in such a cruel manner. But death doesn’t discriminate against age, religion, ethnicity or gender. In the meantime, there is the best care a child can get and the precious memories that the people at Richard House work so hard to help them create. Guys, you’re incredible!
Bear has gone to Grandma and Grandad’s (Mr. Invisible’s parents), so we have some time to ourselves. Just like old times! We could do exactly what we like! We could go to a gallery and actually look at the artwork. We could take a stroll along the South Bank, stop at every watering hole on the way and then go for dinner or the cinema. Or we could just have a clear out. A lovely, soul-cleansing, cathartic, thorough clear out.
A couple of months ago, our nephew Ashford moved from his room on the first floor to the attic because Grandad (my Dad) was struggling with the extra flight of stairs. We wanted Ashford to have a lovely student den up there so we moved a load of stuff from the attic into our bedroom. Somehow, we haven’t done anything about it. Disgraceful!
Mr. Invisible decided to make a start in the cellar, while I tackled ‘the pile.’ This is a way of working together to promote the utmost harmony. A few boot sale boxes, recycling crates and bin bags later, I’ve made a huge sliding tackle of a start and we’ve had just the one disagreement. (Mr. Invisible thinks I won’t use my bike again as I haven’t used it in the last 10 years. I think it is my bike, so I will decide whether I will use it again or not when I have time to make such a weighty decision!)
Before Bear was born, we had stuff but not this amount and the stuff we had, we had time to keep tidy. So I see this as a bit of a new beginning, an opportunity to get back the tiniest bit of control.
So just like old times? Never again. Our lives have changed so completely, that it’s impossible to go back even for a weekend. We will enjoy a quiet dinner and glass of something this evening and a bit of a lie-in in the morning, thankful for the time together and that Bear is making memories with Grandma and Grandad.