Father of Loss Support Series: Michael’s story
Fathers of Loss Support Series:
Meet Michael, dad of Hope who sadly passed away from SIDS in June 2020.
My wife, Lauren, and had been trying to have kids for four years, with several rounds of fertility treatment along the way.
Finally after a last successful round, our beautiful daughter Hope was born on 21 May 2020 – at the height of the first Covid wave.
It felt incredible to finally hold my daughter in my arms. But that was all shattered on the morning of 10 June 2020 when Lauren and I woke up, but Hope didn’t.
That day was chaotic, to say the least. When I found little Hope, she was already blue.
I grabbed her and started CPR – and I thought I was winning there for a while. The ambos came, and they worked on her for another 40 minutes – but eventually they said “she not coming back to us”.
Sadly, Hope has passed away from SIDS at just 21 days old. It was like my whole world had ended. All of the happiness was sucked out of my life – it left me asking ‘why are the birds still singing and the trees still swaying?
Later at the hospital, a nurse asked me, ‘do you feel safe with yourself?’, and I answered, ‘Am I going to top myself? No. But would I be happy if I didn’t wake up tomorrow? Yes!
I kept expecting to wake me up from the nightmare, but of course I never did.
Over time, we realised that we couldn’t just sit and drink every night listening to sad songs, we had to work out a way to move forward again.
The support from our family and friends was a large part of the beginning of our healing. Our village really came around us – and you really have to let them in.
Advice for other families
Find something to be grateful for each day – even if it’s just that the sun is shining. And make sure you get out of bed. The pain never really goes away, but over time you learn to live with it, and now I feel like the future is a little brighter.
We say her name all the time – which is really important to us because she was here with us.
There’s nothing you can do to prepare for the death of your child. What I realise is that there is no playbook for grief – the only way is through and you have to let yourself go through it.
My advice for other dads is: don’t suppress your grief, and don’t try to be the strength for your whole family – you have to allow yourself to fall part. Also consider getting professional help, and talk to your partner, your family and your friends.
Lauren and I are now expecting our second child, due in October 2021. We’re excited to be giving Hope a sibling.
Red Nose 24/7 Bereavement Support Line 1300 308 307.
Last reviewed: 18/9/21