Today is the Great North Swim and one of our friends, Mike, is taking part in memory of Erin to raise money for a cause very close to our hearts - Aching Arms. I have written about the work that Aching Arms do to bring comfort to bereaved parents in previous posts. They give teddy bears to bereaved mothers to let them know that they are not alone or forgotten.
I received my bear on the 20th February - over 4 months ago. She is called Maisie and was donated by Maisie's parents in memory of their precious daughter in order to give comfort to another grieving parent. Well, in this case, that grieving parent was me and Maisie bear truly does bring me comfort. Every night since receiving her I have gone to bed holding her tightly in my arms and it always amazes me each morning when I wake up and she is still tighly grasped there. I think this shows how much I need her and how much she means to me. I never let go - even in my sleep. Maisie bear has been to the Lake District twice with my husband and I and a few weeks ago even came on a hen weekend with me. This was the first time I had been away from my husband since Erin's death and I was very anxious about it - but Maisie bear helped ease some of those nerves. She was a reminder of the support I have and the fact that even when it may feel like it, I am never alone.
I have received so much lovely support from friends, family and people that I have never met before since Erin's death, yet I never cease to be overwhelmed and truly grateful for it. Mike's swim this afternoon is going to be tough, wet and cold and yet he is doing it for little Erin. On twitter hundreds of people have retweeted the fundraising page and so far enough money has been raised to send 28 bears to grieving parents in memory of Erin. This is amazing and means so much to us. The thought that our gorgeous little girl can help bring comfort to others who are experiencing the horrendous grief and pain of losing their most precious baby is amazing. In fact, it is what Erin's Gift is all about - our gift to Erin is our fundraising in her name and Erin's gift to those who need it is the money and awareness that we raise. Through Mike's swim, the generous donations of others and the wonderful work of Aching Arms little Erin will be helping other people at a time when they really need it and that means more to me than I can express in words.
Here is Mike's fundraising page - please take a look and donate if you can http://www.justgiving.com/MikeESwim and you can find out more about the work of Aching Arms here http://www.achingarms.co.uk/.