We all hold something close to our heart. Whether it’s a person, an object or an organisation. In the darkest of days, that ‘something’ seems to clear the fog, and help us back on our feet again. For Phil and Lucy, that ‘something’ is The Laura Centre. This is their story; their story of Max.
In July 2018, Phil and Lucy Grisedale tragically lost their baby boy Max during childbirth. In that moment, their world would never be the same again.
“On the 5th July 2018, our beautiful little boy Max sadly passed away during delivery. Our hearts had been ripped out. We were left in this fog… how could we be without this beautiful, stunning boy, perfect in every way?”
How do you deal with the loss of a child? And how do you deal with the aftermath? How do you tell your loved ones? And who do you turn to? These were questions Phil had asked himself over and over again. He was struggling with his own pain, all the while struggling with the pain he could only watch Lucy and his two sons go through.
“It was the factors that came with losing Max that were difficult. After the birth, you ring friends and family to tell them what they think is good news. And before you’ve even had a chance to begin, they’re asking questions about the baby. I wanted to talk about it, but I always worried about making people feel uncomfortable.”
If you haven’t experienced grief, you might think of it as a sharp instance of pain. You might think that life stands still, waiting for the moment you can pick yourself up again. Or that time stops, and until you’re ready, you’ll remain an ‘outsider’ looking in. But in actual fact, grief can be all consuming. It can be a dark cloud that follows you to every corner of every room. It can be a constant reminder of what you once had, and what you will never have again. Life doesn’t stop for grief, and Phil had to continue on.
“We tried to reach out for help. We went to various support groups but we were lost, until our bereavement midwife put us in touch with The Laura Centre.”
The Laura Centre is a charitable bereavement organisation based in Leicester, focused on providing traditional and holistic support to families who have been bereaved. The Laura Centre supported the Grisedale family through Max’s death, pulling them to shore again.
“We didn’t know what to do; we didn’t know how to get things back to normal, but through time and support, through face to face counselling, The Laura Centre helped us make sense of our feelings and taught us how to cope. Without The Laura Centre, I’d hate to think where we’d be now.”
Phil had always been active. But through losing Max, he found that exercise kept overwhelming thoughts at bay. He increased training with his gym group when they decided to take on the Three Peaks Challenge.
“I joined a gym group, and they asked if I’d like to get involved in the Three Peaks Challenge. Keeping fit and active keeps a lot of those dark thoughts away, so I was keen to get involved. The Challenge wasn’t for charity at first, but we all decided that we may as well make a fundraiser out of it. My group asked if anybody had a charity in mind, and I told them about Max and The Laura Centre. I didn’t even know some of the people in the group, but they were all so supportive and willing to help. Training has been a really good focus for my mental health.”
Phil’s gym group will take on the Three Peaks on July 17th 2021, 12 days after Max’s 3rd anniversary. They’re aiming to fundraise between £3000 – £5000 for The Laura Centre, and as of March, have raised over £1000. You can support Phil by donating through his Just Giving page.
Phil holds The Laura Centre close to his heart. For him and Lucy, the support they received was a lifeline. And now Phil is aiming to raise awareness for future families that The Laura Centre may help.
“For me, The Laura Centre is a place where you’re understood. I know I can pick up the phone if the going gets tough and there’ll be someone on the other end willing to help. It was our light house; we were in this awful storm, it was thundering and raining, and The Laura Centre was the beacon of light that pointed us back in the right direction. We’re forever in their debt.”
Loss can be a taboo subject. Some would rather avoid it, and others will face it uncomfortably. But whether you’re silencing your own grief, or someone else’s, the effects can be detrimental. At The Laura Centre, we’re working to destroy the stigma. And we’re working to provide support for every family who needs our help.
It’s only because of people like Phil that our mission is made possible. In facing his own loss, Phil will help countless families receive the help they need. To donate, click here.
This blog is dedicated to Max Grisedale, brother of Samuel, Jacob and Lily.