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I couldn’t tell you the number of times I have thought about writing this. It’s something important, and it’s difficult. Although it is never far from my mind putting it into words, let alone writing it down, is painful and I have been avoiding it. But I can’t keep avoiding it. Writing this preamble is a form of avoidance. The original title of this post was Honesty, and that was also avoidance. And it’s time to stop avoiding this and start being honest.

Jude Robert Victor Loscombe died on 1st June 2021. My son. He was seven years old. It was the most painful thing I have ever felt and two and a half years later, that pain is still there, barely beneath the surface, ready to come out again with the slightest provocation.

Jude was our first child. He was amazing. The most loving person I have ever met. Losing him was worse than losing a limb.

We don’t know why Jude died. He was at a holiday club when he went to sleep and never woke up again. Something happened in his brain. Tamzin got a phone call from the people running the club who told her he’d been sick and gone to sleep, but he seemed okay. She went to collect him and on the way home, he stopped breathing. She gave him CPR in a lay-by until the ambulance arrived.

I was working from home and my mum had collected Oscar. When I got the phonecall, she drove me to the lay-by and by the time I got there Jude was in the back of an ambulance and a paramedic was using a device to breathe for him. The police had closed down a lane of traffic and took Tamzin to the hospital. I took the car home to get stuff we would need and arranged for Oscar to go to my mum and dad’s house. Then I went to the hospital.

The whole way there, I was telling myself I was overreacting. Jude was going to be fine. I almost convinced myself because who can really accept the fact their child is dying?

At the hospital, there was a lot of waiting before a doctor came to see us and tell us that Jude had had a catastrophic brain incident and that it was unlikely he would live. We cried. We didn’t want to believe it.

They had put Jude in a private room and he was covered with tube and wires and it was awful. The next few days were terrible. We told Oscar that his big brother wasn’t coming home. Our families came and said their goodbyes. The nurses and doctors were amazing. It was the worst experience of my life.

I want to be honest, but I need to do justice to Jude. There is a lot more I could say about those final few days together, but Jude was much more than how he died. So much more.

Jude had additional needs and never learned to talk, but he had other ways of showing us what he wanted. Of showing us, he loved us and was happy.

He loved music and books and writing things with plastic letters. I miss finding the little messages he would leave for us around the house, things he’d seen written somewhere and copied out. He used to come and get us and lead us over to what he’d written so we could read it out for him over and over again.

There is no way to adequately sum up a life in the space of a blog post, but I can no longer avoid writing about it here. My son died, and that has really fucked me up inside. As it should. There’s no way you can go through something like that without being damaged.

It was the worst thing that ever happened to me, but there was more shit coming my way. Five months after Jude died suddenly, my dad got diagnosed with terminal cancer and a month later he was gone as well. Shortly after that we moved house and then our cat died and then I lost my job and then some other shit happened that I’m not going into here, but it was unpleasant.

It has been a really bad time and I still don’t know how to talk about it properly, but I feel like I have to. I can’t keep acting like nothing has changed while my world is falling apart.

This post isn’t the end of talking about this stuff. It’s the start. It isn’t enough, but it is a beginning.