We often assume that we’ll be so fortunate as to outlive our children. This, we tell ourselves, is the natural order of things. However, life doesn’t always work the way we assume it should.
It’s this message that’s at the heart of a series of lessons one father shared a year after the loss of his son, Hughie.
Richard Pringle of Hastings, East Sussex, England lost his 3-year-old son to a brain hemorrhage caused by a rare condition. “He…was doing so well,” Richard told the , “There was only a 5% chance of a bleed but unfortunately that 5% chance happened last year and he didn’t survive.”
Just over a year after Hughie’s death, Richard found the courage to share ten important lessons with other parents via his Facebook page.
His advice is as follows:
1. You can never ever kiss and love too much.
2. You always have time. Stop what you’re doing and play, even if it’s just for (a) minute. Nothing’s that important that it can’t wait.
3. Take as many photos and record as many videos as humanly possible. One day that might be all you have.
4. Don’t spend money, spend time. You think what you spend matters? It doesn’t. What you do matters. Jump in puddles, go for walks. Swim in the sea, build a camp and have fun. That’s all they want. I can’t remember what we bought Hughie I can only remember what we did.
5. Sing. Sing songs together. My happiest memories are of Hughie sitting on my shoulders or sitting next to me in the car singing our favourite songs. Memories are created in music.
6. Cherish the simplest of things. Night times, bedtimes, reading stories. Dinners together. Lazy Sundays. Cherish the simplest of times. They are what I miss the most. Don’t let those special times pass you by unnoticed.
7. Always kiss those you love goodbye and if you forget. Go back and kiss them. You never know if it’s the last time you’ll get the chance.
8. Make boring things fun. Shopping trips, car journeys, walking to the shops. Be silly, tell jokes, laugh, smile and enjoy yourselves. They’re only chores if you treat them like that. Life is too short not to have fun.
9. Keep a journal. Write down everything your little ones do that lights up your world. The funny things they say, the cute things they do. We only started doing this after we lost Hughie. We wanted to remember everything. Now we do it for Hettie and we will for Hennie too. You’ll have these memories written down forever and when you’re older you can look back and cherish every moment.
10. If you have your children with you. To kiss goodnight. To have breakfast with. To walk to school. To take to university. To watch get married. You are blessed. Never ever forget that.
Richard’s Facebook message has since earned over 29,000 likes and more than 17,000 shares, but far more people need to hear these words of love and wisdom. If you agree, please share this story with your loved ones today!