Francesco “Frankie” Enrico Ventura, born sleeping on 29th November 2013, 4.43am weighing 4lbs 10oz.
Two months ago today I held my sleeping angel in his arms, marvelling at how perfect he looked even though he had a cleft lip and palate, willing him to wake up, to breathe or to cry. Two months ago today I hoped that God had made a cruel mistake, and that I was merely asleep having the most awful nightmare that anyone could ever have. But it was not to be. I was not asleep, and nor was I having a nightmare. But I was definitely in a living one.
I remember every tiny little detail about Friday 29th November 2013. I remember when Frankie was born and placed on my chest, the newborn smell of him, dressing him in his little outfit and wrapping him in his blue blanket. I remember when Rev’d David Southall came to see me, Frankie and my husband in the delivery suite and held him. I remember midwife Nick Vakis-Lowe coming to take Frankie’s hand and footprints. I remember almost word for word Rev’d David Southall baptising Frankie and making him an angel of God. I remember my family coming to see me in the Fay Turner Suite and my close friend Jennie coming too, they all held Frankie and marvelled at how perfect he looked.
I had just over 24 precious hours with my son before I had to leave him behind at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and walk out with a memory box in my arms instead of my son. Within just over an hour of getting home the funeral director from AV Band came to talk to us about what we wanted for his funeral. When she was asking me what type of casket, coffin and flowers I wanted I desperately wanted to scream at her, “I want none of this, I just want my son back”. How I didn’t I will never know. My heart was breaking and I ached to hold my son, yet I had to choose all these items and plan his funeral.
At that moment I knew I had to keep going for Frankie. I knew I had to be strong and do whatever I could to keep his memory and his legacy alive. And at that moment the idea for Frankie’s Legacy as a charity was born. I could have gone one of two ways; I could have hated the world and everyone in it, blamed myself, shut myself off and never go out, or I could turn losing Frankie into something good through his memory and legacy and carry on. I chose the latter rather than the former.
But it hasn’t been easy. There are days when I have to force myself to get up in the mornings and get on my laptop. There have been days when all I want to do is stay in Frankie’s room and cry. But that wouldn’t do anyone any good, least of all me. So I’ve channelled every bit of energy I have into launching Frankie’s Legacy, so far with amazing results. I’ve been to a few business networking events and received so much enthusiasm and support for what I’m doing that I know I’m on the track. Everything I’ve ever done before including the Worcestershire Literary Festival pales into total insignificance compared to this. This is my life now.
I know that even though I don’t have Frankie in my arms my life is so much better and richer because of him. He taught me so much about what is and isn’t important in life, and to focus on the things that matter instead of the ones that don’t or aren’t working. I miss him every second of every day, and my heart is completely broken, but I know I can channel everything I feel into something good because of him.
So although he came into the world sleeping two months ago today, his memory and his legacy will live on.
I will make sure of that.