Prince Harry has channeled his own experience of losing a parent into a moving foreword for a special book written for children who have experienced the loss of a parent or loved one during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hospital by the Hill tells the story of a young person coming to terms with the loss of their mother who was a frontline worker at a hospital. The book’s touching theme—that can speak to children of all walks of life who have recently lost a loved one—is one of the reasons why the Duke of Sussex chose to personally support the project.
In the opening chapter, Prince Harry pays tribute to his late mother, Princess Diana, who he tragically lost at the age of 12. “If you are reading this book, it’s because you’ve lost your parent or a loved one, and while I wish I was able to hug you right now, I hope this story is able to provide you comfort in knowing that you’re not alone,” the duke writes.
He continues, “When I was a young boy I lost my mum. At the time I didn’t want to believe it or accept it, and it left a huge hole inside of me. I know how you feel, and I want to assure you that over time that hole will be filled with so much love and support. We all cope with loss in a different way, but when a parent goes to heaven, I was told their spirit, their love and the memories of them do not. They are always with you and you can hold onto them forever. I find this to be true.”
The book is being released to coincide with Britain’s National Day of Reflection and will be free of charge to any child or young person in the country who has been affected by the loss of loved ones to COVID-19.
In a statement shared with BAZAAR.com, author Chris Connaughton says, “I wanted it to provide a connection, support and hope through the hard and horrible times of bereavement. It’s also a tremendous honour—and a service to young people—to have The Duke of Sussex support this project and share his open, heartfelt and honest words with kids across the country.”
The project was started by the child bereavement support charity, Simon Says . It’s cofounder Sally Stanley says that the idea to create a book came after the deaths of frontline workers began to increase at the start of the pandemic last spring. “Being bereaved of a loved one is very difficult at any time in the life of a child or young person,” says Stanley. “The restrictions that surrounded the close contact of family members during the pandemic make it much harder for them to say goodbye in the way that we are used to. I hope that this book will help children and young people to remember their special person whose work was to help others.”
Founding member Victoria Hussey, adds, “This book is a way of saying thank you and in supporting a small part of the children and young people’s grief process by helping to open conversations and nurturing their memories of their loved one.”
Hospital by the Hill, which is illustrated by Fay Troote, also promotes the services offered by two further charities — Child Bereavement U.K. and children’s emotional and practical bereavement support charity, Winston’s Wish.
You can read the forward courtesy of the Duke of Sussex in full, below.
If you are reading this book, it’s because you’ve lost your parent or a loved one, and while I wish I was able to hug you right now, I hope this story is able to provide you comfort in knowing that you’re not alone.
When I was a young boy I lost my mum. At the time I didn’t want to believe it or accept it, and it left a huge hole inside of me. I know how you feel, and I want to assure you that over time that hole will be filled with so much love and support. We all cope with loss in a different way, but when a parent goes to heaven, I was told their spirit, their love
Now, I never met them, but I know this person was special to you, and they were someone incredibly kind, caring and loving because of where they chose to work. Helping others is one of the most important jobs anyone can ever do.
You may feel alone, you may feel sad, you may feel angry, you may feel bad. This feeling will pass. And I will make a promise to you – you will feel better and stronger once you are ready to talk about how it makes you feel.
I hope this book helps remind you of just how special your parent or loved one was. And how special you are too.
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