Saki was always the life and soul, dazzling all he met with his beaming smile and wicked sense of humour. Mum Sharon explains how much being a part of the Bluebell Wood family meant to them both; and how the hospice’s support helped “put her back together” after she’d said goodbye to the young man who was her whole world.

During her pregnancy, Sharon suffered from a life-threatening pregnancy complication called HELLP Syndrome, and her baby boy arrived seven weeks early. He was a month old before she was able to meet him properly.

He had chronic lung disease and multiple complex heart diseases, and developed a number of other serious health issues over the course of his 18 years.

“He always had a smile on his face, and he always gave a thumbs up,” said mum Sharon. 

“Even when he was poorly, he tried to see the lighter side of things. He was so caring too. Despite having so many of his own problems, he always wanted to help other people.”

Defying the odds was a habit for courageous Saki, who didn’t let anyone stand in his way.

With mum by his side, he learned to walk, ride a bike and do many of the things doctors said he’d never be able to do – and had to re-learn some of it again after suffering a series of strokes.

Throughout the ups and downs of Saki’s last few years, the family were regular visitors to Bluebell Wood for respite care and support. You’d often find him jamming in the music therapy room or having a laugh and a joke with staff and volunteers.

“It was our safe place – our happy place. It was somewhere to go where Saki wouldn’t be looked at any differently.

“It’s such a warm friendly atmosphere, and the staff will do anything for you. We met so many incredible people, and we’ve come away with some amazing friends.”

Saki’s condition deteriorated further in his last few years, and saying goodbye to his best friend Courtney in 2018– who also visited Bluebell Wood – proved too much to bear.

“The fight he’d always had in his eyes began to dwindle.

"We’d lost so many good friends over the years and it always takes its toll, but this time the light just disappeared.”

A couple of months later, despite his worsening condition, Saki managed to spend one last Christmas with his family. During a visit to Bluebell Wood in January 2019, the family knew the end was near. Saki was determined to see out his days at home.

“Myself and some staff took him home in a convoy – as he wouldn’t come home in an ambulance.

“After not really eating much in weeks, he asked me to make him some Sunday dinner. Then that evening he asked for a drink of his favourite tipple.

“We talked on the Sunday night and he asked me what I was going to do without him and whether I’d be okay. He’d given instructions to various people to make sure they’d watch out for me.

“He always faced the wall when he went to sleep, but that night he faced the sofa where I was sleeping. I woke early the next morning and found he’d gone, quietly in his sleep.”

A heartbreaking yet joyful celebration of his life followed, with the crematorium packed full of people whose lives he’d touched. Always prepared, music-loving Saki had even handpicked the soundtrack.

In the dark days that followed, Bluebell Wood was a “lifeline” for Sharon.

“I didn’t grieve properly to start with. I struggled on for months but then I literally broke. Angie, Bluebell Wood’s counsellor, picked me up and put me back together again.

“Without Angie there’s a massive possibility I wouldn’t have been here today.”

Sharon remains in close contact with Bluebell Wood, taking part in bereavement groups through the lonely days of lockdown.

“Since Saki left people can look at you differently, so to have a place where people understand is very important.

“They’re amazing people, and I’m so grateful and lucky to have Bluebell Wood in my corner.”

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