What Martha did

Martha was just 22 months old when her daddy died. Too little to understand what had happened and where he had gone. We all focused more on her big sister Isla, who at 5 years old, did understand the tragic reality of what it all meant. We were surrounded by close family and friends whilst we came to terms with the news. They were by our side throughout and when they weren’t, they were only ever a phone call away. Martha was happy, happy to have all of these people she loved dearly around her. There were no reasons to be upset for Martha, just excuses to play, to laugh and to love. And she did all of those things, with big smiles.

I was given a booklet from a charity called Winston’s Wish - a child bereavement charity. That booklet contained much needed information  that helped me support my two children. It was after reading this booklet that I realised the importance of explaining Martin’s death, even to my baby girl. I risked huge implications later on if I didn’t talk to her now, even if her understanding would be limited and basic. She would grow up knowing that ‘something had happened’ something life altering that she didn’t understand, a massive sense of loss that would be completely misunderstood, if I didn’t speak now. 

Four years on and my beautiful Martha is a wonderful, happy, kind and caring five year old. She is incredibly popular and very loved. She is lovely, she sees the best in everybody and wants to be friends with everybody she meets. She’s confident and clever with a heart of gold. She has often told me that her favourite thing to do is to help others, her favourite thing to be is to be kind. And I know that she means every word. 

Martha was born with a wild mop of thick dark hair and by the age of five that hair reached well below her waist. My very own Rapunzel. We decided that enough was enough, her hair needed to be cut. The girl could no longer sit down to have her hair brushed, which she hated. The length of time it took to wash, dry and just brush her hair was ridiculous. Every morning we would style it in one large plait to try and keep it from going wild. I wouldn’t let her wear her hair down because of it all becoming so knotty. Enough was enough. But Martha being Martha decided to do something with the hair that was cut off. She decided that she would donate her hair to The Little Princess Trust, a charity who provide wigs free of charge to children who have lost their own hair due to illness/medication. In her own words she wanted ‘to help poorly children’. We decided that when she had her haircut we would also collect sponsorship money for the event and that the money raised would be given to Winston’s Wish.

The response was incredible, overwhelming and humbling. My little girl raised a massive £2,233.95  for Winston’s Wish and had 18” of lovely thick hair chopped off to donate to charity. And to top it off she now has a lovely bobbed hairstyle that makes her look even more beautiful than she did before. She loves it and so does everybody else. She was incredibly brave, she even featured on our local BBC radio station, who had heard about her story and invited her to the studio for an interview. She featured in local newspapers and enjoyed every single minute of the attention.

What the middle one did, was to show me that I’d not done a bad job at all with raising my little girl. She showed us all that despite a traumatic time in her early years, she was incredibly brave and strong. She showed everybody just how kind she can be and how thoughtful she is. She made me proud beyond words and I know that Martin would be very proud of her too. The overwhelming amount of sponsorship that she received reminded us all that there are some truly good souls in this world... my little Martha mouse is, without doubt, one of them.


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