In this pilot episode, Odette shares her story, and how losing her son led to her founding Harry's Rainbow in his honor.
Odette lost her son Harry when he was just five years old. It started as a cough and some chest pain, which was discovered to be asthma. They started treating his asthma, and once they got on top of it with his salbutamol pump in September 2008, he didn't suffer any bad episodes. The following March, however, brought the return of Harry's cough. It was worse this time, and the pump didn't seem to be doing much. One night, after his condition kept deteriorating, they took him to A&E, where he was put on a nebulizer and admitted overnight. The doctors assured Odette that he'd be fine once they got control of his breathing. He was expected to recover the next day and be taken home.
But it didn't happen like that. Everything occurred so abruptly that Odette was left reeling when Harry died, and she felt her future was mapped out in pain and grief. She didn't want that for Jessica, Harry's twin sister, who suddenly lost her other half. Determined to not let pain and grief be Jessica's life story, she scoured high and low for someone or something that could help her daughter through this difficult experience.
After the first year of grieving Harry, Odette founded a charity to help bereaved children through their grief journey. She turned her pain into purpose and channelled her experience into something that benefited other people. "Some of that was selfish," she tells Sophia, "it was me supporting me, it was creating something to help me feel... I don't know, but just to do something." Harry's Rainbow is celebrating its 10th year anniversary this year.
Grief won't go away, so we must find a way to accommodate it as part of our lives.
Counselling is not a cure-all pill for grief.
Creating something good from something tragic helps us move forward in some way.
Click here to listen to For the Love of Grief on your podcast app.