I've not posted for a few days as I've been trying to write about Lauren's last 24 hours. But I've realised I don't want to do that.
What I'd actually rather write about is our last hours at Alderhey, to highlight why we are continuing in our fundraising for the hospital.
When it became clear that Lauren wasn't going to make it, the activity took on another direction.
A settee was acquired from somewhere for Lauren's room. This gave all the extended family who came in to see Lauren somewhere to sit. The two to a room rule was abolished. Her room was then adorned with fairy lights. Her favourite t-shirt put on, and her body-spray sprayed.
After a while we, probably quite unceremoniously, shooed away grandparents, aunts & uncles so we could be a 5 together one final time,
Her nurses arrived with canvas and paints so that we could make hand print pictures with Lauren, meanwhile thumbprints were taken in clay so that we could get jewellery cast at a later date.
Somehow an extra bed was shoehorned into her room so that we could all cuddle up with Lauren. We were given as much time and space as we needed to listen to music, sing songs and say our final goodbyes.
I don't know how much difference these little touches made as I have nothing to compare it to. I do know that the memories we made can now hang on the wall & around our neck. Little things that help keep her near, and I'm happy that we have them. I'm also sure that the time we were given helped the younger two to understand what was happening and to help them deal with it in the weeks that followed.
These are all the things that hold no value to the politicians and statisticians, they don't show up on league tables. They would be the first thing to disappear if money was short and nurses had no time spare to help families in this way. Of course life saving nursing needs to be prioritised over finger-painting. But ideally we should be able to have both. It didn't change the outcome for Lauren, but it did change the grief process for us.
Alderhey truly is an amazing place, staffed with amazing human beings. That is why it needs all the money it can get. Families who find themselves there have enough to contend with. It's important that the money is available to make the awful situations the best they can be, even when it's not the final outcome that is hoped for.
That is why in July I will be swimming a mile in a freezing cold lake, why the Husband in August is running a marathon over England's highest peak, and another marathon in November across the Northumberland moors, and why we are grateful that the children's schools are continuing to raise money for Alderhey.
It's also why I'll be pestering people for sponsorship in the following months.....