Time moved on and three children were born in the years that followed but there was always one child missing from all occasions: christenings; first communions; confirmations; birthdays etc. There is always an empty space that will never be replaced.
My main aim in sharing this personal story is to raise awareness of meningitis and septicaemia. I would say to all families especially those of you who have babies to be extremely vigilant at this time of year because it can and it does kill within hours. In our case it was 16 hours from noticing John unwell until he passed away. Babies can’t tell you where they have a pain or how they feel. However, nobody is exempt from getting meningitis and it can and does leave scars for life to those who survive the devastating disease that it is.
I hope by writing and sharing my story with you all that it spares you and others the pain, the suffering, the loneliness, and the questions that my family and I experienced in its aftermath. If it can help one person or prevent one death then, for me, John’s death would be that little bit less painful. Always be on the side of caution! It could mean the difference between life and death.
I would like to apologise to anyone who has found this upsetting to read. That is not the intention, but rather to warn families of the dangers of meningitis, and also to let you know that there is help available on the Meningitis Research Foundation freefone helpline, and your concerns will be dealt with in the strictest of confidence.
Meningitis Research Foundation’s vision is a world free from meningitis and septicaemia. For those, like John, who left this world long, long before their time, they were denied that chance. My greatest wish for others is that one day that vision will come through.