Hattie's story - Winston's Wish

Hattie’s story: Losing my mum during coronavirus lockdown

Hattie’s mum died suddenly during the height of the coronavirus lockdown in May 2020, when Hattie was just 17 years old. Following her mum’s death, Hattie reached out to Winston’s Wish for support.

She wanted to share her story and her experience of grief to help Winston’s Wish be there for others who have lost their mum or dad.

What was your mum like as a person?

It sounds very cliché but my mum was my best friend. We could talk about anything, nothing was out of bounds for us. We could joke about stuff, but also talk about serious things. We also loved shopping together and cooking – she taught me how to cook. We used to make rock buns from an old family recipe.

As an only child, and a ‘miracle baby’, when I came along my Mum worked hard on having a positive relationship with me.

Hattie and her mum

How did your mum die?

Mum had come home from work, the day before she died with a bad headache. The next day she still didn’t seem 100% but we thought she had just not drunk enough water. Dad went out in the garden and she went into the shower. My room is right next to the bathroom and I just heard a huge bang.

I tried to ram the door open but I couldn’t get in. I rushed downstairs so fast I actually fell down the stairs. Dad and I were trying to get in; we had to get a crowbar to get the door off the hinges. Our neighbour ran to get a defibrillator kit from the local shop. Then the ambulance arrived, they had to put on their Covid-secure suits. I just remember crying outside with my neighbours whilst the paramedics were inside the house. I knew it was serious as they called another ambulance and an air ambulance with heart specialists that could help mum. They landed in the field behind our house. An hour later, they called my mum’s death.

How did you feel the days following your mum’s death?

I felt numb. I still feel like she will walk back through the door at any moment. I know, in my head she is gone, but it’s still hard to accept sometimes.

Everybody was lovely and wanted to support dad and me but we had to be careful because of the coronavirus. We had lots of neighbours and family and friends who wanted to come and help but couldn’t, it felt like we had to grieve alone.

When did Winston’s Wish enter your life?

I was feeling quite depressed – even suicidal after it had happened. My aunty suggested it would be a good idea to speak to someone, and my GP said so too, and he gave me a list and Winston’s Wish was on that list. I picked them as they were specifically for children and young people.

I’ve always been a very good judge of my own character, and so I knew for a fact if I kept going I wouldn’t be able to get out of my own thoughts. I needed to speak to Winston’s Wish before it got worse. I’d mentioned to my dad that I might need support, and he totally agreed it would be a good idea.

On the Winston’s Wish website, it said you could contact them by email and fill out a form saying why you were contacting them. The next day Winston’s Wish contacted me and I started receiving support over the telephone and video call.

How has Winston’s Wish helped?

Instantly, Clare, my support practitioner put me at ease. She made me comfortable and I felt it was easy speaking to her about how I felt.

Each call with Clare was different. Sometimes we focused on mindfulness, another focused on the person you’d lost, some were on memories or on your family and your support network and coping techniques.

It was hard for me at first to talk about the day my mum died; I was struggling with loud bangs – any loud sound made me have a panic attack. So Clare made sure we spent time reliving that day and how I felt.

Winston’s Wish helped me accept and recognise when I was sad and how to communicate that with my family. I never met Clare in person, but she helped me trust again. When my mum died I lost complete trust and hope about the future. They gave me hope that things can get better. I know for a fact I’ll be able to deal with hard situations now. Before my time with Winston’s Wish, I’d struggled with panic attacks, now I can think about things rationally, they have given me the steps to help deal with the littlest hiccups.

Winston’s Wish actually save lives – they can put children and young people, like me, on a path where even though they’ve experienced the hardest thing in their lives, they can still push on and be hopeful.


If you have experienced the death of a parent or sibling and need support, or know a bereaved child or young person, please reach out to our team. You can call us on 08088 020 021, email ask@winstonswish.org or use our online chat.