Grieving dad lists the things he’s learned since losing his son
Parenting is tough sometimes. When you’ve got a to-do list a mile long and the kids having a difficult day it’s very tempting to wish the clock would magically fast forward until bedtime just so you can have some quiet to actually hear yourself think. But the truth is that even on the less than perfect days, every moment we get with our children is a gift to be grateful for.
Richard Pringle, a father from East Sussex, England reminded us with a recent Facebook post. His son Hughie passed away last summer after a sudden brain hemorrhage at age three. Pringle wrote a list titled, “The 10 Most Important Things I’ve Learnt Since Losing My Son.” It’s gut-wrenching to read, and it will change the way you parent.
In his now viral post, Pringle shares ways we can all work to be more present and appreciative of the time we have with our kids. He stresses the importance of stepping away from distractions like the phone when the kids want your attention. After all, that text isn’t going anywhere. “You always have time,” he writes as number two on the list. “Stop what you’re doing and play, even if it’s just for a minute. Nothing’s that important that it can’t wait.”
He reflects that the money he spent on his son isn’t what he remembers, it’s the experiences he remembers most. “Don’t spend money, spend time,” he writes as lesson number four. “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.”
Pringle has two other children. The family was aware of Hughie’s condition, but up until last August the little boy had no serious issues. “He had a brain condition but was doing so well,” Pringle told Mirror Online. “There was only a 5% chance of a bleed but unfortunately that 5% chance happened last year and he didn’t survive.”
He encourages parents to document everything they can, so you’ll always have photos and written memories to look back on. “Take as many photos and record as many videos as humanly possible,” he advises in number three. One day that might be all you have.” He also suggests keeping notes of funny things your kids say and do, because they grow and change so quickly. “Keep a journal,” says number nine. “Write down everything your little ones do that lights up your world. The funny things they say, the cute things they do.” Pringle started doing this for his two living children following Hughie’s passing. “You’ll have these memories written down forever and when you’re older you can look back and cherish every moment,” he explains.
And as for those times when you’re struggling to get through your to-do list, when you want to wish it all away? Try finding the fun instead. ” Make boring things fun, ” he says in lesson number eight. “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.”
And above all, he implores us to cherish the time we have with our kids, especially those quiet, simple moments like bedtimes and reading together. “They are what I miss the most,” he says in number six. “Don’t let those special times pass you by unnoticed.”
Pringle’s list is a a beautiful tribute to his son, and rules every parents should try to live by.