Thursday, 3 November 2011

Charlie Bears Gift

Tiny little piece of perfect right?

I am and always have been a huge lover of quotes and poetry.  When I was younger (because now I’m ancient of course) I had an entire wall in my cottage covered with them scribbled on pieces of paper and stuck up in a randomness that represented my life at the time.  Scattered in between them all were photos of people that I love and memories - moments in time that I still hold dear. 

 What does this have to do with anything?  Have I simply gone completely off track and forgotten what this whole blog and book project is about?  Due to the old age (it’s true! I’m ancient - ask the five year old!) it would be understandable that you may think this, but no… this is slightly relevant to this post.  Just be patient.

The young lady I wish to tell you all about is, in my mind nothing less than amazing.  I’m going to be honest, I had known this Mums name for a little while.  I’m not sure how we stumbled into each other – I’ve met so many people – I think perhaps it was in a closed group I was invited in to called Aussie Women Making a Difference.  I know, I know.. I’m not sure what they were thinking when they let me in either!  This lass most definitely deserves her place on the couch there though. 

I received an email on Saturday the 27th of August this year giving me the story of her little battler. 
His name was Charlie.
He was beautiful.

Charlie’s Mum is the beautiful woman I want to tell you about… but to tell you about Stephanie, I need to tell you all about little Charlie.  It’s important you get to know him.  He IS important (please note: present tense) 

Steph and Josh fell pregnant.  Until the 19 week mark they were blissfully unaware of any problems.  Babies are born all the time without complications and as two young, healthy people in love something going wrong just doesn’t even come onto your radar.  So when they went for their scan and discovered they were having a boy life seemed good.  Everything was right with the world…

When you have a baby, your life is changed the instant you discover they are growing inside you.  Already, before the test showed two little lines, Steph was a Mum and Josh a Dad.  Both with the fierce love and protective instinct that goes with those roles. 
Many of you will understand how they felt when they got a call from their doctor asking them to come in to discuss their scan results at the 19 week mark. 
Some of you know exactly how they felt when they heard the dreaded and life altering sentence….”Something is wrong with your baby”

There is much that went on after that discussion at the surgery.  But I’m choosing to skip forward some.  What happened during Stephanie’s pregnancy is important yes, but that can wait for the book.

At 34 weeks Charlie was born via c-section.  Half the medical staff in the world was there.  He weighted in at a tiny 3 pounds 1 ounce and the cry he let out was like music to his parents’ ears. 

However, doctors couldn’t give Steph and Josh any of the hope that many parents get a rush of at the moment of their child’s birth.  They themselves didn’t know how things were to pan out from this moment on. 

Charlie gave the world 10 weeks before he passed away in his parents loving arms.

Did you read that last sentence and wonder why I didn’t just say he gave his parents 10 weeks?  Well, this is where you get to know a bit about the amazing person that Charlie chose to be his mother. 

Charlie gave the world 10 weeks, he was here for only that long in the physical sense.  But in Steph (and Josh) he lives on every single moment.  His name is spoken many times each day, his memory is so well preserved.  Charlie is a baby that will never be forgotten – not just because his parents won’t allow it to happen but because of what Charlie’s short life inspired his parents to do.

There are numerous video’s celebrating this little guys life, as you saw above.  Did you watch it to the end?  Did it strike you how young the woman I’ve been telling you about is?  It shocked me.  After several emails back and forth, receiving Charlie’s story and reading Stephs interactions on AWMAD to have it finally dawn on me that she has only just made her 21st birthday (31st of October) 
To me, this makes her all the more amazing - so young, already doing such good in the world... and there are so many years left in her... my mind boggles at the awesome possibilities that lay ahead for Steph.
This young woman shows more maturity and more heart than most fifty year olds I know.  From what I know of Steph I would describe her first as extraordinarily selfless.  Want an example of this?  Okay, it’s not hard to find one without even truly looking --- For her birthday what was she wishing for? A car? A new leather jacket? A day spa voucher?
She has been relentlessly sharing the Charlie Bear’s Gift page and wishing for 2000 likers for the page – this I didn’t realize until after I’d already contacted Josh letting him know that I was planning to do this post.

I implore you to drop by and "like" her page Charlie Bear's Gift for RBWH
Help Steph to keep Charlie's memory alive. 
No parent should outlive their child, and the heartache of losing your baby is intoxicating.  Instead of crumbling and losing all direction this young mum has squared her shoulders and decided to - in Charlie's honor - raise money on a continual basis for the hospital that helped to give her 10 weeks worth of being able to hold her baby. 
Many of us would be irrationally angry at the world but instead of letting it take over she has used her passionate love for Charlie and her appreciation for the nurses and hospital to do unbelievable good.  How many families have been helped and possibly spared the pain that Steph has dealt with due to the work she is putting in here?

Countless is the answer...

Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely no doubt there has been - and will be - sessions of angry with the entire world for Steph, but through it she shines with hope and love.  Talking with her, watching the videos and flicking through her pages the things that stands out above all else is the love that these two people have for this tiny person.  In 10 short weeks, Charlie received more love, adoration and pride for his achievements than many children have in their entire life.

On the 23rd of November it would have been Charlie's 1st birthday.  It's been less than a year since Josh and Steph said goodbye to their angel.  What would you be doing on this day if it were you?  Yes tears are inevitably going to flow - this is certain.  But to celebrate Charlie's birthday on his page on facebook an auction will begin.  I have no idea how Steph and Josh are feeling about it, but when I read that there are THREE auction albums and that they will have to close the donations at FOUR HUNDRED ITEMS..... I had a little teary.  What an incredible response to the call out.... this is just a small indication of how many people's lives Charlie has touched. 

Without Steph, they'd never have known about him.
She is an incredible mother... one any child would be proud to have spent even a short amount of time with. 
Charlie showed everyone that when they said you couldn't or would never do something that even if you can't win all the battles in life, you can achieve amazing things. 
Things that you have been told you will never do, if you just have enough heart and the will behind it.  You, had plenty of that and your team continues in your spirit.  

Your Mum, is a gift you gave the world xx

You thought I forgot the quote business from the top didn't you?  Nup, no way... This quote, made me think of Steph and I wanted to share it.
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget the way you made them feel"
- Maya Angelou

(The "Team" I mention include Josh and Aunty Katie who both deserve equal amounts of recognition and admiration xx)


  1. Beautifully written Trine and you are an asset to AWMAD and I and countless others are thankful that you are there.

    I would like to thank you for sharing Steph, Josh and Charlie's story with us all and letting us each get to know them a little better. They are an amazing and loving family.

  2. Steph and Josh truly are amazing people!! I am lucky enough to say that I met Steph on an online forum for babies due in jan 2011 which quickly snowballed into a Facebook mothers group where we chat every single day!! Last month I was lucky enough to meet this amazing couple in person when they travelled to WA to support a fundraiser also raising money for rbwh