A Light in the Darkness

It was a parent’s worst nightmare.

As I sat across the living room from her, Danielle described to me what she called a perfect life. She and her partner, Cameron, had been living in a cosy house near her extended family and Danielle had just given birth to their third child, Rosie, whom they doted on. Then one night there was a terrible tragedy. When Danielle woke up and went to Rosie’s crib she saw that Rosie was lifeless. Immediately dialling 999 Danielle tried to give Rosie CPR until the ambulance arrived. Tragically Rosie didn’t make it.

“I felt so hopeless having to walk away from the hospital and leave her there. It was horrible!” said Danielle, “The pain in my chest was that bad it was almost physical.”

Danielle was so overwhelmed she couldn’t bear to live in the same house and constantly relive the memory of finding her baby and trying unsuccessfully to save her. Danielle and Cameron temporarily were separated as due to the associations with the house, Mum moved back with her own family and Dad moved back in with his parents until they could relocate to a new house.

A Safe Families volunteer named Claire offered to help as a Family Friend for the family as Danielle was suffering from severe anxiety as a result of the tragedy and needed some support. It was a particularly apt match as Claire was skilled in counselling and as well as having some knowledge of housing and was able to help Danielle decide some next steps towards getting her family back together under one roof.

Claire went with Danielle to all the council meetings and the housing bureau. As the council has now done all they can for them, the couple has decided to save up for private rented housing and are planning to go clear out the old house (which until now they hadn’t been able to bear either to live in or to part with) making a decision to move forward and put the tragic accident behind them.

When the support was due to come to an end the Safe Families Family Support Manager visited the mum to do a review. She told him she’d been in a really dark place in her life when Safe Families first got involved. Safe Families was the only organisation providing support to her at the time that she felt could actually help her and make a difference in her situation. Danielle describes the volunteer as ‘an absolute gem’ and doesn’t know what she’d have done without her. Danielle feels that step by step she’s on the road to healing and is refusing to succumb to depression and anxiety by taking brave new steps such as becoming more mobile by taking driving lessons. Danielle has passed her test now and is officially road ready…and life ready.

Danielle wrote us a thank you note saying:

‘You offered me a light at a time I could only see darkness…I will never forget what you’ve done for us.’