They say you never know what you have until it's gone, and this fact does not hold truer than when you face the loss of a child. As you try and make sense of the devastating experience, you cannot help but wonder what you could have done differently. A father who has spent many days and nights reflecting on this has decided to share a few words that can serve as a lesson to other parents.
Richard Pringle, in a Facebook post that has gone viral, has decided to turn his pain into something that can help other parents. He shared some things he has learned since the loss of his child, Hughie. Attached to a picture of himself and his son, he included ten lessons he has learned since the boy's passing.
His post included such words as "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," and "cherish the simplest of things. Night times, bedtimes, reading stories. Dinners together. Lazy Sundays. Cherish the simplest of times."
The post reads:
The 10 Most Important Things I've Learnt Since Losing My Son
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 your 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 wants parents to know the importance of valuing the times we spend with our children, to ensure these are quality times that will become everlasting memories.
His final lesson, and what we think has got to be the most powerful message he has for parents, is that you should hold your babies close now while you can. Consider yourself blessed if you have kids to "walk to school, to take to university, to watch get married. You are blessed."
The Facebook post, which has been tugging at the heartstrings of parents all over the world, has been viewed over 27,000 likes and has 16,000 shares. Over the 250 comments, and very likely more now, a lot of people express their gratitude for Pringle's message and for the reminder of how much these moments with our children should be cherished.
At the end of the day, you are unlikely to remember all the things you bought for your child or the fancy places you took them to. You will, however, remember the times you laughed together, hugged, kissed, were there for them when they needed you to, and the little things they did to make you feel proud and lucky.
Source: Richard Pringle / Facebook