A mum whose daughter died in a tragic accident is bravely sharing her story to publicise the work of Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith Children’s Hospices and to highlight their need for more donations to ensure that no one locally suffers the death of a child alone.
Chloe Farrell was just 22 years old when the tractor she was riding on overturned and crushed her at a holiday park in Abersoch in May last year.
Her mum Karen received a telephone call telling her at first that her daughter was being airlifted to hospital. During her frantic journey to the hospital she received a further call to tell her Chloe had died from her injuries.
Karen was distraught. Twelve years earlier she had to break the news to her children that their dad had died suddenly. Karen thought that was the worst time of her life. She never imagined her anguish at having to telling her son that his sister had died too.
“I couldn’t bear to think of my vibrant, healthy daughter in a hospital mortuary or a funeral home,” recalls Karen.
Thankfully she knew of Tŷ Gobaith and the Snowflake Room, a special temperature controlled room where children who have died can spend time before their funeral so that their families and friends can say goodbye in their own time and in their own way.
“Kate from Tŷ Gobaith called and said she would take care of everything,” says Karen. “She called me again to say that Chloe had arrived and we could go and see her whenever we wanted to. She said she looked beautiful.”
Karen found her favourite photo of Chloe. She was wearing her bobble hat and fluffy jacket and had her hair in pigtails. Karen searched for those clothes and gave them and the photo to the nurses at Tŷ Gobaith.
The nurses put Chloe to bed in the Snowflake Room. They dressed her and did her hair and make-up. Chloe looked stunning. She looked like herself.
More than 50 of Chloe’s friends and family came to Tŷ Gobaith. Some sat in the private garden outside the Snowflake Room with Karen, some sat and chatted to Chloe and said their goodbyes. They cried and they laughed together. The nurses looked after them too.
Her best friends came and put an angel wing bracelet on Chloe’s wrist so they could always be together. They brought her favourite scented candles and lit them and played her favourite Ed Sheeran CD over and over.
Those precious days at Tŷ Gobaith made Chloe’s family and friends feel that they had her back with them again. They all said it gave them the strength to carry on.
Karen is bravely sharing Chloe’s story because she wants everyone to know about the Snowflake Rooms at Tŷ Gobaith and Hope House and where to turn if tragedy ever touches their family.
She is also determined to help Tŷ Gobaith and Hope House raise the extra money they need to be there for every family that needs them – to ensure that no one faces the death of a child alone.
Adds Karen: “It is so easy to think that this sort of tragedy happens only to other people. I was one of those people who thought it would never happen to me, but it did and I am so grateful that Tŷ Gobaith was there to help us.
“I just want to make sure that everyone locally knows about Tŷ Gobaith and Hope House and that as well as being there to help children with life threatening illnesses, they are also there to help any family whose child dies suddenly through accident or illness.
“Currently three local families a week face the pain of losing their child and Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith can currently only afford to help one in every three of those families. We need to make sure we all support this vital service so that every family knows where to turn and can be looked after like we were.”
Tŷ Gobaith and Hope House have made a video called Chloe’s Story that you can see online at www.hopehousestories.org.uk, along with information about how you can donate and help to make sure that no one suffers the death of a child alone.