Saturday 2nd July was the Memory Day for Newcastle’s Children’s and Teenage Cancer Wards. It was held in the lovely grounds of Houghall College in Durham.
Gary and I have gone for the past 5 years. It’s a moving ceremony and we never cease to be amazed at the number of people attending, reminding us of how many are affected by the loss of the young people who left us far too soon.
This year, as Henry’s friends are slightly older, we invited them to come along with their families. I was thrilled when they agreed. We sat outdoors in the fields with others who’d experienced the same as ourselves – a, “club no-one wanted to join” as was suggested in the introduction.
After readings and music, we laid flowers for the children and young people (thanks, Tanya for the Rainbow colour theme). There was then a mass balloon release (mine attacked Joe beforehand!) followed by free ice creams for all. We also shared Tangfastics, a firm favourite with Henry.
I’m sure the whole event was rather overwhelming for George, Harry and Joe. It meant so much to me that they came to remember their mate. I hope it helped them to understand that they’re not alone and that, sadly, there are others in the same boat.
I saw a few familiar faces from the Great North Children’s Hospital but was particularly struck by a couple to whom I was introduced. It was their first time at Memory Day, 6 months into their loss. The raw blankness of pain in their eyes spoke volumes and took me back to our first time, 7 months after Henry died. It made me see that my own pain is now different: agonising and debilitating though it still is, it’s not as loud as it once was and my inner screams are now more of a gut wrenching, sorrowful acceptance that this is the way it will always be. My heart went out to them.
Thank you George, Harry and Joe for being there on another step of our journey. You are a credit to your families who will always deserve more than ice cream for their unending support.