You may have seen Brian take on the 4 x 4 x 48 challenge over the weekend. This was the motivation behind raising money for Heidi's Hope written by Heidi's parents.
March 09, 2021Loosing our daughter was the most soul destroying thing we have ever been through. In fact her loss is something we will continue to go through for the rest of our lives. There will continually be milestones she doesn't get to experience and she will always be the missing piece to our family puzzle. New Year stands out as the most difficult milestone we have faced so far. Stepping into 2021 felt as though we were walking further away from her, further away from the day we held her in our arms for the last time and made that awful walk out of the hospital with a memory box instead of our baby.
The next big milestone was Andy's Birthday on 6th March and as the month approached I had an increasingly overwhelming sense of anxiety. I had no idea how we were meant to enjoy the day and celebrate my husband when our daughter wasn't here. Was I supposed to buy him a card and present from Heidi? Would he want that? Would it make him more upset? What present can I buy him that will ease the pain that his baby girl isn't here? And then, as always when the questions come, the anger kicks in; why am I even having to make these decisions? Why did our baby die? Why us? Why?
4 x 4 x 48
The evening before Andy's birthday we received a call from Andy's friend, Brian Wood. Brian told us he was going to be taking on the David Goggins Challenge to run 4 miles, every 4 hours for 48 hours (a mammoth of a challenge) and he wanted to do it in memory of Heidi and raise some money for our cause; Heidi's Hope. Brian set off with an Instagram live and his wife Lucy set up a JustGiving Page outlining our story, 8pm came around and the challenge began with an influx of support across social media. From what started as a weekend full of worry, dread and an aching hole where our daughter should be we had an instant change of mindset, almost a sense of relief, a distraction if you like. This led us to feel excitement, encouragement and most importantly, closeness to Heidi. The weekend was turning into being all about her and as parents that is all we ever want, for our world to centre around our precious girl and although that may sound simple, when the physical presence of your child is missing and you are having to live in the real world it is not easy.
The morning of Andy's birthday he decided to run with Brian. It gave him a chance to speak about Heidi and about how he was doing. As I have touched on before it is so important that society understands that Dads grieve too. Andy being heard is something that consistently worries me, after all he almost lost me as well. What we've been through was a trauma and I felt safe leaving my husband to speak to Brian on what I knew was such a hard day for him. Brian has been through so much adversity in his life and his mantra Keep Attacking was born from overcoming those times and finding the mental capacity to push on forward. Brian uses his experiences to inspire people and support them in their time of need and I am happy to admit that Andy and I have never needed support more. I suppose it is fair to say that Keep Attacking is becoming a way of life for us, loosing Heidi is something we will never get over but is something we are slowly learning to live with, walking carefree through life is a thing of the past and what we have to do now is hold on to hope.
Over the 48 hours that the challenge lasted it was amazing to see such an outpouring of love and support. Donations (£3,760!!), kind and heartfelt words, people coming out to run with Brian and most importantly acknowledgement, acknowledgement of our Heidi. We can't thank Brian and Lucy enough for their contribution to her memory, for allowing her name to inspire a community to come together. They gave us the opportunity to feel like proud parents, to push the fear that our daughters memory will be forgotten to the side and to know that our grief is not overlooked. Brian's inspiration and determination paired with our openness and honesty allowed people to trust us with their own heart-breaking experiences of baby loss and I am so glad we were able to reach these people. We shared our memories of Heidi with Brian and Lucy and showed off pictures of her, things that all new parents cannot wait to do.
In Brian's words they were helping us
"to keep Heidi's light shining"
and I am certain this weekend she was the brightest star in the sky.
You can still donate to Heidi's Hope via JustGiving here.