Last week a groundbreaking new law was announced to be coming into force this April thanks to the tireless efforts of Lucy Herd, a mother who lost tragically lost her child in a drowning incident. Her then-husband had to go into work following the loss of their son Jack after only three days. Over the last 10 years, she has been campaigning for the right of bereaved parents to have a minimum of 2 week’s leave following the loss of a child. Thanks to Lucy, bereaved parents will be better protected in the future thanks to what has been called “Jack’s Law” – an entitlement to parental leave following the loss of a child. Whilst this news is welcome, Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said the measures were “a minimum and something to build on”.
I am sharing my timeline in the hope that employers and personnel can see how a parent will be spending their first fortnight without their child, and therefore how necessary additional support within the workplace will be vital if they are to survive this loss in the best way possible.
Day 1 We lost our little boy.
Day 2 We cry, stay in bed, speak with our parents. Get our other child to nursery and told him the awful news when he comes home. We have to call friends and family too.
Day 3 Visits from friends and family as well as care workers and police. We go to see our boy one last time.
Day 4 The post mortem
Day 5 Meet the funeral director and make arrangements.
Day 6 Cancel clubs, parties, subscriptions and his nursery place.
Day 7 Nothing…cannot function.
Day 8 I am taken into hospital for shock.
Day 9 Recovering and have doctor’s appointment for medication.
Day 10 1-1 time at Hatton Farm with Joshua, our 4-year-old who is also grieving.
Day 11 The Funeral.
Day 12 Food shopping and catching up with chores that have been left until now but need doing.
Day 13 Exhausted and sleep all day.
Day 14 Appointment with the pathologist.
As you can see, going to work on day 3 for Jack’s parents would have been awful. 90% of marriages suffer following the loss of a child and, sadly Jack’s parents did not make it. It is not surprising given the lack of time they were afforded to heal.
We were lucky, we had an incredible boss and worked at the same company so had some amazing support around us too. My husband went back after a week, it took me a little longer but regardless of our senior positions, we were encouraged to take all the time we needed.
Jack’s Law will be the most generous in the world regarding bereaved parents when it is in force this April and it is wonderful news. However, there is much more we can do. Please remember my timeline when you have the horrific job of supporting a parent following the loss of a child and remember they need more support than a 2-week break. If you would like to know more about how you can do this, please get in touch so we can help more people, in the same way, Jack’s incredible Mum has done.