Family photo of Jane, Chris and their children at a dinner table

Leaving a legacy in memory of Chris is the best way of saying thank you

When Jane’s husband suddenly and unexpectedly died she called Winston’s Wish for advice on how to support their two young children. Jane has kindly shared how the support from Winston’s Wish has helped the family ‘feel happy again’ and why leaving a gift in her will is the perfect way to say ‘thank you’.

Chris and his children blowing out candles on a birthday cake

I first heard about Winston’s Wish from a kind funeral director who was helping me organise my husband’s funeral. White faced and shaking still from the shock, I was being asked to choose flowers for the coffin of my beloved husband, Chris, who was 47 and just four days earlier had been the active, loving, happy heart of family life for myself and our two children.

It was that big heart that had stopped suddenly one night, with no warning – plunging me, 7-year-old Tom* and 8-year-old Ellie* into a nightmare from which there was no waking up. Family and friends rallied to help, but the drawn, petrified faces of my children told me that I needed, somehow, an extra dimension of support.

I rang the Winston’s Wish number I’d been given and spoke to Brendan, whose name and words I still remember after 20 years. Quietly, calmly and sympathetically he listened and he helped, right from the start. He told me it was alright that Tom spent hours on end silently in the corner of our lounge, facing the wall and playing the same tune on his toy over and over again. It was understandable that neither he nor his sister would sleep, out of terror that I too might be gone in the morning.

I don’t know how, but somehow Brendan’s voice helped to get me through the next few weeks, and then months. He had little strategies to offer to help my son to start eating again, my daughter to start slowly returning to school, all of us to navigate things such as Tom’s birthday four weeks later, Father’s Day and our first Christmas without Daddy.

Jane and her grown up children

Winston’s Wish had many other ways to help us too. I bought some of their special storybooks, that Ellie read repeatedly as they helped her to slowly process what had happened. We created some special photo albums and Winston’s Wish Memory Boxes, that the children (now in their twenties) still quietly look through on occasion.

Ellie and Tom are grown up now, happy again, and I am very proud of them both. Ellie has become a paramedic and has saved many lives. Tom has become an engineer like his father. He still suffers a degree of anxiety sometimes, but has a partner, house, puppy and lives a full life. What I do know for sure is that both of them would be in a very different place had it not been for Winston’s Wish and the amazing support they give to devastated families like ours. I will be forever grateful.

I have supported Winston’s Wish with a monthly donation ever since, and I have recently left a gift to them in my will. Winston’s Wish were there for my children in their darkest days and I want to help make sure that they continue to be there for other children who need them. Leaving a legacy in memory of Chris that will help Winston’s Wish to continue their vital work is the best way of saying ‘Thank You’ that I can think of.

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Request your free Gift in Will guide today and help us continue to be there for more families like Jane’s whose worlds are turned upside down by grief. A gift in your will can help to ensure families never have to face the devastation of grief alone, both now and in the future.