It was just over a year since father of three, Richard Pringle, lost his first-born son.
Richard said he was lying in bed with his daughter when he felt inspired to write some powerful words. He then shared these words in a Facebook post, which have since stirred emotional responses from parents all around the globe.
In a heartfelt post, Richard shared his personal reflections on the 10 most important things he has learnt to cherish even more as a parent since losing his “beautiful little boy,” Hughie.
Here are his words.
The 10 Most Important Things I’ve Learnt Since Losing My Son
1. You can never ever kiss and love too much.
2. You always have time. Stop what you’re doing and play, even if it’s just for a minute. Nothing’s that important that it can’t wait.
3. Take as many photos and record as many videos as humanly possible. One day that might be all you have.
4. Don’t spend money, spend time. You think what you spend matters? It doesn’t. What you do matters. Jump in puddles, go for walks. Swim in the sea, build a camp and have fun. That’s all they want. I can’t remember what we bought Hughie I can only remember what we did.
5. Sing. Sing songs together. My happiest memories are of Hughie sitting on my shoulders or sitting next to me in the car singing our favourite songs. Memories are created in music.
6. Cherish the simplest of things. Night times, bedtimes, reading stories. Dinners together. Lazy Sundays. Cherish the simplest of times. They are what I miss the most. Don’t let those special times pass you by unnoticed.
7. Always kiss those you love goodbye and if you forget. Go back and kiss them. You never know if it’s the last time you’ll get the chance.
8. Make boring things fun. Shopping trips, car journeys, walking to the shops. Be silly, tell jokes, laugh, smile and enjoy yourselves. They’re only chores if you treat them like that. Life is too short not to have fun.
9. Keep a journal. Write down everything your little ones do that lights up your world. The funny things they say, the cute things they do. We only started doing this after we lost Hughie. We wanted to remember everything. Now we do it for Hettie and we will for Hennie too. You’ll have these memories written down forever and when your older you can look back and cherish every moment.
10. If you have your children with you. To kiss goodnight. To have breakfast with. To walk to school. To take to university. To watch get married. You are blessed. Never ever forget that.
Richard’s post has obviously found a place of resonance in many people’s hearts, with the post receiving 19,000 likes and 11,444 shares at the time of writing.
Parents from Brazil to New Zealand, Norway to Japan have expressed their gratitude to Richard for sharing his inspiring words; a testament to the parent-child bond and the gifts of joy experienced from parental love.
Comments like, “I need to do these a bit more. Brought a tear to my eye” and “I read this out to my 10 year old twins and they both cried!!!” have flooded Richard’s Facebook page.
Other comments say, “Thank you for this. so true. Words of wisdom ♡” and “Your family’s courage, strength and love will help so many people.”
Richard shared a message of thanks that particularly resounded with him. It was from someone in Japan who had read his message and reached out to express their gratitude.
Hughie died suddenly from a brain haemorrhage on Aug. 18, 2016, leaving his family devastated. He was just three years old.
“He had a brain condition but was doing so well,” Richard told the Mirror.
“There was only a 5% chance of a bleed but unfortunately that 5% chance happened last year and he didn’t survive.”
Richard truly appreciates the preciousness of every moment he shared with Hughie, “In three short years he left us with a lifetime of the most incredible memories,” Richard told the Mirror.
“He was soft, gentle, caring and so lovable. He made the boring things fun. He made everything fun.”
In honor of their son, Richard and his wife, Jen, established a Go-Fund-Me page to raise funds for a project that, in Jen‘s words, would be “a tribute to Hughie that the children of Hastings can enjoy and benefit from.”
The family and their community has also helped raised funds towards a new MRI scanner at Conquest Hospital—the same hospital where Hughie had his first MRI scan that allowed doctors to detect a malformation in his brain and get him the specialist attention that he needed.
If you or your loved ones are also confronting grief, support is available from these grief support organizations based in the United States.