Documentary presenting powerful testimonies from children who have experienced the death of a parent, as well as some who are preparing for this possibility.
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Yeah, when I was younger I didn't really know what death was.
..it was like when you go deaf in the ear, so when I...
..got told she had died,
I thought like her ear had fallen off or something.
And then, when I got there,
like, I just saw her like lying there,
and then that's when I understood what death was.
Every day in the UK,
over 100 children lose their mum or dad.
A young person has to deal with a death in the family
every 22 minutes.
My dad was always...
..fun, funny, he was very fun.
..his purpose was to make people happier.
Erm, when I wake up, and imagine my dad,
like, standing there...
I always just picture him smiling
and joking around or dancing.
Something like that - always, like, mucking around.
He was very nice,
he liked a bit of banter.
He used to be a DJ, erm...
Sometimes he would put on a lot of weight,
and sometimes he'd get a bit of whiskers.
To help us all understand the life-changing impact
of losing a parent,
a handful of brave young people have agreed to share
what they went through.
All the children in this film have had counselling,
many at projects funded by Children in Need.
Now, they want to tell their stories in their own words,
to help others who are facing the death of a family member.
You get upset when they're starting to feel really ill.
when they actually die, you get a bit...
..a lot bigger shock,
because they're not there any more,
but when they're ill,
you're still really sad,
but then when they die, you get a big shock.
A few children who are preparing for the loss of a parent
also agreed to take part in this film,
to explain how they're coping with fears about their future.
Eight months ago, Imogen and Madeline's mother told them
she had incurable breast cancer.
One day, you are going to fall off that
and I am going to laugh so hard.
One of their first concerns was who to tell.
One of my friends' mums has passed away with cancer...
..so she understands exactly, erm, but...
..well, she's the only one that understands,
but the other lot...
they tend to keep it...low key.
If I say something, they'll ask,
but they don't say anything unless I say anything.
It feels a bit scary because I never know
when it's going to happen,
or why it's going to...
Why it has happened to my mum,
and my mum's started saying
why does all these people who kill
and murder stay until they're like 100,
and my mum, who's tried to do everything right,
had to happen like this?
And she might have like...
..two months to live, or a year to live.
..you never know.
For nearly three years,
Amy Rose has known that her mother is fighting breast cancer.
Although it is not immediately life-threatening,
Amy Rose still has to face the possibility of losing her mum.
When I first heard that she was diagnosed,
I didn't actually tell anyone,
I told like... like, one person, I think,
and then a few people knew
because my mum had told her.
But, at the same time,
we were both very clear that we didn't want too much sympathy.
Like I have one of my friends, who...
..was obviously trying to be considerate and asking like,
"How's your mum?" "How's everything going?"
and sometimes I just didn't want that to happen.
Like, I just wanted it to... like, be left alone.
Yeah, it wasn't easy at all
and I wouldn't wish it upon anyone.
I was literally thinking,
"What is happening?
"Is he going to be OK?"
"Could this happen to anyone else that I like," that, erm...
"that I, like, love in my family?
"Could it happen to my little brother?
"Could it happen to my mum?"
And I had all these rushes, I didn't understand it that well,
cos, like, I'm only 11,
I'm not going to... I haven't done any history or, like,
sciencey stuff about it, or...
I barely... I didn't even know about what cancer was before that,
before my dad, I had no idea.
We didn't really know what the ambulance,
and what they were all for,
cos we were only six and seven,
and we thought, like, it was a good thing.
And we was like, "Oh, there's an ambulance coming to our house!"
And, then, when we got older,
and her, like, and her cancer got more severe, erm...
..then my dad actually started to tell us, like,
"It's not a good thing, guys,"
like, "It's not going to go well," sort of thing.
The actual time was
when my mum and dad sat me and my sister down on the sofa,
and explained to us that,
like, my dad wasn't ever going to get better,
and he was going to live with it forever.
And he didn't have a lot of time left,
so we had make the most of every single moment -
always smile, and always try and remember
the happy memories we had with each other.
I think she had gone to hospital for some reason,
and it was around Christmas time, I think,
and she sat on the sofa in my nan's house and she told us all.
How was that?
Well, Maddie had no idea what it was
so she wasn't as bad,
but cos they had taught us, like,
stuff like that in primary, I knew exactly what it was,
so I was terrified.
They're stuck on my hands.
I'll do a bit more.
Then she told us that she has cancer and I didn't know what that...was.
And then she told me and I said, do you...?
And then she kept on saying she'll survive it
and will never have it again.
She survived it, and then, like,
two years later, or three,
she got it again, and I felt...
..a bit scared about when my mum has gone.
-How was school?
Imogen and Madeline's mother, Dawn,
used to work as the head of a local sixth form college.
I've got a thousand pieces of homework!
Six months ago, she retired due to ill health.
In March this year, breast cancer returned,
and it had spread,
which means that it's now classed as an incurable cancer.
So, they've told me from day one
to be very open and honest with the children about my diagnosis
and my treatment plans.
so I had to sit them down and explain to them that,
although they'd gone through two years of me going through treatment
and we thought that the worst was over,
or hoped that the worst was over,
that now the prognosis is very different.
So what's the plan?
Are you going to try and find tadpoles or...?
-We're going to find tadpoles and fish.
Chemotherapy this time is about giving me a longer prognosis
than it is about a cure.
Dawn has a triple negative form of breast cancer,
which can be inherited.
She's been told she may have less than a year to live.
She's not the only family member with a life-limiting illness.
My real dad,
he lives in a bungalow with a massive dog.
He's called Paddy and my nan has to go over every time we go over,
and my dad has got Huntington's.
He has Huntington's so he struggles to talk,
and...just gets iller and iller and iller.
Imogen and Madeline know they could inherit
both their mother's cancer and their father's Huntington's disease.
Well, I could...be like my dad, I could be like my mum.
Like, if I did, if I...
I could choose when I'm 18 if I can have a scan
to see if I have breast cancer or something like that,
so if I do, they will take away...
They'll basically swap my breasts with something else.
They'll just put, like, fake ones in,
and then they'll have to take away....
I can't remember what it's called
but they have to take away something
which means you couldn't have kids.
..I just don't like thinking about it because I love babies.
I like kids, so...
So what do you look forward to?
In our pyjamas, with the duvet over us, watching films all day.
THEY SING AND CHATTER WITH THE DOG
When he started getting really ill...
..as sad as it is, I don't think he actually...
..he had got to the point where he was so sick
I don't think he actually recognised many people.
Like, some of the people that he's known for years,
they've came over to say hi and stuff
and he can't remember them because it got so bad.
And, like, I don't think...
I think at the last point, like,
he couldn't even remember me and Ben,
he could only remember the... my mum.
Yeah, that was...
I think that was the hardest bit,
was the hospital visits,
and finally coming to terms with,
"OK, then, Dad's really not well."
And he'd have mood swings,
but we knew that it wasn't because he was angry or upset with us,
it was cos of the medication
and, like, how he was getting ill,
and where the actual tumour was, like, on the brain.
Anyway, like, I went to see her and my whole family was there,
and I said to my family,
"Can I have, like, just a conversation with her by myself?"
cos I got told she was going to die,
and then I spoke to her and then...
..I said, "I'm scared you're going to die," and, erm...
It's the fact that someone in your life could just go, like that,
like, you don't...
..you can't really control it.
But it's the way that...
You've got to spend as much time
and as much kind of...
..time, yeah, basically time, as you can together,
..that's basically all you can do.
Right. What is next?
Amy Rose's parents are divorced.
An only child, she spends most of the week with her mother, Claire,
who's had a long battle with breast cancer.
I'm pretty sure. You can reread the recipe again, but...
No, I believe you.
Couple of years ago, just before Christmas,
I found a lump,
and, actually, erm...
And unfortunately the type of cancer that I was diagnosed with
was pretty aggressive and it had already spread to my lymph nodes.
Telling Amy Rose about the situation,
telling Amy Rose about my cancer,
is probably one of the hardest conversations I've had in my life,
in that you're going to lose your mum.
Yeah, we've had, like, general...
We've had more conversations about it,
obviously with me growing up, as well, like,
we weren't thinking about how we were in a tricky position,
we were thinking about what we're going to do to make it better.
For parents like Claire, facing a life-threatening illness,
one of the hardest parts is explaining to a child what it means.
You lie awake at night
wrestling with it,
thinking about it.
And you're not strong, but as much as possible you've got to try and...
..keep them feeling that their world is safe.
I did not expect any of this to happen.
Like, I didn't know what would happen,
but I didn't expect it to pan out like this.
I was angry with just...
And I was angry at...
I felt angry at Mum for some reason, I don't know why.
But I felt angry that she had got it
because I thought she'd done something to get it,
but then, like, now I understand
and I feel angry at myself, for, like...
..not being like...
not feeling sad for her, and stuff like that.
You go through stages.
Sometimes you're fine about it, sometimes,
well, you're not fine,
but you're a bit overwhelmed,
so you don't know what to feel
and sometimes you're angry,
and sometimes you can be sad,
like really, really sad.
You're allowed to be sad, you're allowed to cry.
Nothing wrong with it. If you don't cry, then...
..you're just not a real person, I don't think. You have to...
Yeah, you have to have emotion.
So I've started to collect little things that I think will help,
So, we had this book done, didn't we?
So, when Madeline did
A Day In The Life Of Madeline with me,
and we thought of all the big events
that I'm probably not going to be able to be here for.
So, we started with her Sweet 16 prom dress,
so we looked at lots and lots of different dresses.
What is that?!
Yes, she didn't like that one, funnily enough.
But when she did try on the right dress, look how beautiful...
That's the one, the first one was...
Yeah, look how beautiful she looks.
-I look good!
And then we went looking for a car.
So, Madeline was absolutely convinced she wanted one
without a roof, but, then...
Then we found this little beauty.
So, a little Fiat 500.
Look, with all the red inside - interior, seats,
and cream steering wheel, and the men even...
..put the sold sign in the car, look!
So we had to rush round, then, didn't we?
But we found your first home, which was beautiful -
-not far from where your dad lives.
-Oh, look, I love it!
-And then we had the fun in the bridal shop, didn't we?
-Looking at all the beautiful dresses.
-I liked that one.
And which was your favourite one? The first one, wasn't it?
Why do you think your mum wanted to show you those things, Maddie?
Because my mum won't be there to do them things with me,
so she wanted to do that,
and my mum said, "That might not be the dress that you'll have,
"but at least I will remember you picking a dress out."
And picking a car, and all that.
And I said, "The only thing that you're going to miss
"is my driving licence." I said,
"What if you teach me how to drive now?!"
She went, "No, you're too young."
So that's... That's our Day In The Life with Madeline.
And we did exactly the same for Imogen.
-So Imogen's Day In The...
-I've not seen yours, Imogen.
We looked at some dresses.
Oh, that's lush... Is that the one that I got?
Both girls want to spend as much time with their mother as possible.
Imogen gets especially anxious when they're apart.
If she's not there, I call her, like, every night,
and she says, "You need to kind of stop doing that,
"so you're ready for the future.
"Cos you know, you can't just call me up," once she's passed,
Sometimes I just want to smack her in the face
and tell her to shut up but...
And then this was what was meant to happen with Madeline,
where we went for afternoon tea.
-She's drinking wine!
-And Imogen's pretending to drink champagne.
I didn't pretend.
-Yes, you did!
Do you think you're ready for that day?
Every day, I dread that day, and...
..I never want it to come.
So, I think that's about it, guys.
And then anything else we do now, we'll do the same,
-we'll make as many books...
-Is that it?
Yeah. We'll make as many books as possible.
One for Dad, one for you.
We'll put all those things in there as well,
and you'll be able to go there any time you want to...
..reflect back on life with me.
You're closing my nose!
Mind your nose!
I actually like writing my memories down...
..cos sometimes, as you get older,
you forget the memories,
and you forget them,
and you can never remember them,
but if you keep stuff like my memory jar here,
then we would put my memory jar for Daddy.
Then lots of different, the colour what you...
So you think of some memories,
and for every memory you choose a colour.
So, say I put 'Going to Greggs',
that's blue and orange,
cause the sign is blue and orange.
..that one, blue and orange at the bottom.
And, then, also, I put beeping in the van...
..so that's black.
Black's up there.
And calling each other silly names is yellow,
that's that one,
and then also silly dancing,
he used to do a LOT of silly dancing,
and it's green at the top.
At the top. They're my ones.
I have loads of teddies, bears that she gave me.
I speak to the teddy bears. Sounds a bit stupid, but...
..I look at them and think of them as Mummy,
cos she gave them to me, and I speak to them,
and that makes... I just tell them, like, all the...
..my emotions, what I'm going through at the moment,
how I feel.
I am wearing a necklace with my dad's ashes put into the locket,
so, like, it's obviously close my heart,
and obviously on the back it says, "Daddy's big girl",
because I was... I'm the oldest one
and my dad always used to say that to me,
so it's really special to me,
and I wear it on special occasions
or just whenever, really.
Erm, well, usually when I go to bed,
I have this bear that reminds me of him.
This teddy bear was made from all of my dad's shirts.
And I have got photos in my room,
and I've kind of got quite a bit of stuff that reminds me.
Erm, I loved when he pushed me on the swing outside the house.
Sometimes he would push me a little bit too high.
We did kind of have a few conversations
about what would happen, and stuff like that.
We went through a lot of times when it was very low.
In Wokingham, Amy Rose is learning to live with the uncertainties
that come with her mother's cancer.
I mean, it's not been easy.
It's definitely been like a roller-coaster,
because we've had the ups where, like,
we've just had surgery and it's all gone well,
and we've had the downs, where we're not quite healing right,
and all sorts like that.
-Hello! How was your day?
Recently, Claire's been told
that her cancer is responding well to treatment, and is not spreading.
-In you come.
But her prognosis is far from certain.
There's some flapjack to start with.
The reality is the type of cancer that I was diagnosed with
is a nasty little thing.
And, it may well just reappear one day.
Basically, she's still taking various hormone drugs
and all of that lot and still has to go in and get... I think it's...
I can't remember what it's called, but she has to go in
and get an injection every month or whatever.
But, as I understand it,
we're in a better place than we were.
Amy Rose is packing to go away with her mum
while Claire's health is stable.
So, we're going down to Lyme Regis,
which is a special place for us
and it's just somewhere that
we've always looked to have a good time and put things behind us.
See, you're not going to beat me.
Right, OK. Hangman. OK, I've got one.
-I know that the cancer,
it could come back.
It's made me treasure, like, moments more.
So, like, every moment I spend, I'm treasuring it.
With my mum, with, like, anyone I treasure it more
because I just think that could be just change straight away.
-I guessed T.
-It's my go. Wait. I'll just save paper.
When someone dies...
Yeah, one of the most true things that
I can possibly say is nothing will...
..ever, ever, ever be the same. It's like little things.
Your cupboards won't be the same.
Things are different, you know, you have to stop ordering that
type of food, and, all the time, you'll get hot chilli sauce
and no-one eats it.
No-one ate it except for my dad.
For me, before she died, it was a bit like,
we were a great family, we were,
like, all happy, go out, erm, in family...days out,
like, to the zoo and stuff.
And, now, it's a bit more like,
we go out but it's like there is a person missing and there is
because there is a seat empty.
So, were you with your new teacher today or with Mr Davidson?
With Miss Dickson.
-You look very hot.
In Wales, Dawn's health is getting worse.
She has to rely on Imogen and Madeleine more and more.
-They certainly help more round the house, they, erm...
They, er, get pocket money depending on chores now
because I'm just not well enough
to do everything that I used to do before.
Right, I think that's you ready for school, then. Kiss-kiss.
Oh, you just coughed in my face.
But they can tell when I'm having a bad day and they tend to come
and crawl into bed with me and give me cuddles and tell me everything
is going to be fine and that always makes me feel a lot better.
When Dawn goes for treatment, 12-year-old Imogen
drops her younger sister off at school.
Dawn has up to four hours chemotherapy a week.
Oh, this one today.
She divorced Madeleine and Imogen's father several years ago.
Two weeks before her cancer diagnosis, she met Steve
and they married just over a year ago.
Here we go.
Yeah, they got married last May.
And they have been together for three years.
I think. I don't know. Three years, maybe, four.
I wanted to be maid of honour but I wasn't married so, I couldn't.
-The magic black bag.
-I would so love to know what's in it.
I'd be so annoyed if I sit here for ages,
and just have sugar water pumped through my veins.
The worst thing you can do for a child is try
and sugar-coat what is happening
or to lie completely because as much as I know that, you know,
that this has won and that I will die of breast cancer,
I'm also very aware that, erm,
that I need to stay motivated and positive and just try and be
one of those cases that you hear about through the grapevine
all the time that has beaten the odds.
They depend on me so much.
Yeah, it's absolutely heartbreaking
but it does them no good to see me crying all the time so
I put on my brave face and I keep my crying for bedtimes and...
Steve gets the privilege of it all, don't you, really?
Difficult 2:00am conversations and, yeah, all sorts.
Hi! You OK?
I'm in the VIP section today.
You can take yourself to here, can't you?
If you fix this as your memory,
then any time you're going through anything rough,
you can pull on that memory,
-it's almost like taking a photo out of a box.
In Dorset, Claire wants to make every day memorable for Amy Rose.
Feel like everything is right with the world, don't you,
-when you are at the Cobb?
Recently, she's made a worrying discovery.
Last week, I...erm,
went for my normal check-up, my hormonal injection,
and I'd found another lump in my breast, erm, and so I asked
the nurse to check, erm, if she could feel it as well and she could.
Er, so...I'm really hopeful that's it's something minor.
But obviously right now, I'm facing the dilemma that
it may well be that the cancer has come back again.
Erm, and if that's happened, then it's happened quite quickly.
So, that raises an awful lot of questions for me, erm, but
particularly for Amy Rose's future and how we go forward with things.
Six months ago, Claire bought a flat in Lyme Regis
with life insurance money she was able to claim
when she was first diagnosed with cancer.
It's something that will be hers, always.
Go on, in you go.
And I hope she'll be taking her family there
and making more memories.
-So, you're pretty well equipped if something did happen to Mummy.
Claire is passing on as many practical lessons as possible
while she still can.
Let me show you this.
So, this is for here, this is council tax
-but basically every month that's how much I have to pay.
-And that covers keeping the street lights working...
-..emptying the bins...
And this is setting up a direct debit.
What's a direct debit?
So, this means...
Best way to deal with it is to think about how are we going to
work on building things for her future.
And I think it makes it all the more important the time that we
have here in Lyme
because I'm very aware that time just slips through your fingers.
-Fish and chips for tea.
Or do you want to do fish and chips on the beach?
Fish and chips on the beach, that's even better. Yeah.
No, don't look. Don't look.
It's going to feel a bit like a hat, don't look, don't look.
THEY ALL LAUGH
-Let's cut it.
-You look so much older.
She looks like Winona Ryder.
Yeah. She does.
The summer holidays have started,
and Dawn is having a new wig fitted before the family go away.
Looks like one of those squirrels we feed at the park.
Open your eyes, Mummy.
-Mummy, open your eyes.
I have hair. It's so weird.
-Doesn't she look beautiful?
I love that.
Hang on, do you want to see, Steve?
Recently, she's made legal arrangements for Imogen
and Madeleine's future care.
She's agreed with their father that they will continue to
live with their stepfather Steve
while also being supported by other relatives.
-Which wig is Steve having?
-Let's have a look.
Well, my stepdad works nights so he will work days and then nights
so my nan will come over the days that he works nights
so she'll stay with us or stuff like that.
My nan will be over all the time.
They're in my room.
As Dawn's treatment intensifies,
the family relies more and more on her mother Sue
to look after Imogen and Madeleine.
-They think they've got free attention.
In the coming months, her support will be crucial.
-Who was that?
-That's my nanny.
How important is your nan to you now?
Really, because she has gone through a lot
because my grandad died of cancer as well.
-I'm so sorry.
-I took them downstairs and they bolted again.
Well, my grandad died March the 22nd, I think it was.
And then six months later my dad died in August.
And if you if you had said to somebody,
"I have lost somebody," they'd think, "Oh, yeah, she'll get over it
"in a couple of months, it will be fine,"
but you kind of never, ever get over it,
even when you're, like, an adult.
You... It's... It's still a big part of your life that's gone,
kind of thing, and it's like a part missing.
And it's always going to be missing, so...
I was like, it's actually making me laugh
because I am just thinking about him laughing.
-It's just making me laugh cos I'm thinking about him laughing
because that's the only thing that I truly remember, properly remember, about Dad.
Just him laughing.
And, sorry, the only reason I am looking over here is cos that's where he used to sit.
That is where he sat.
Oh, my God, yeah, that's weird.
I've never done that before, actually.
And I am probably imagining sitting there. That's...
Today, Dawn is having an MRI scan to discover
whether her breast cancer has spread.
So, basically, we're looking at whether the tumour has started
to grow again or whether it's stable
or hopefully whether it's shrunk.
But quite anxious today because I feel like the lump has grown quite a bit
so I'm expecting the worst, so today is a pretty tough day.
Did you, erm... Are the girls aware how tough it is for you?
No, that's why I tend to come to these on my own.
Erm, I just find that I'm pretty brave with most things
but this is my Achilles heel so especially with it being
secondary because I know at some point one of these scans is going
to show that it has spread further so... Whereas before with scans,
you were always hopeful it would show that it wasn't present.
These feel very different to when I had primary cancer.
I will carry your bag for you cos you've got to look after that.
To be honest, it's getting harder not easier because
the estimated time was about 11 months
so we're significantly into that time scale now.
The truth is, I am just waiting to die.
So the recorded voice will ask you to breathe in and hold
your breath, it's about six seconds you hold your breath for.
And then the voice will tell you to breathe normally which is just that.
Right, I'll see you in a minute.
AUTOMATED VOICE: Breathe in and hold your breath.
I was six when my grandad died of cancer.
I don't know what cancer he had but he had like an unknown cancer.
AUTOMATED VOICE: Breathe normally.
They couldn't help him because he was so bad now it wouldn't...
So they had to give up and it was really sad for my nan because
she was going through my mum being ill and my grandad passed away.
Only dropped one so far. In 22 years, that's not bad.
Because my mum's...
That's my mum's dad, so, like, she was really upset.
Don't forget your bag.
What goes through your head
when you're having a scan like that, Dawn?
Erm, I lost my dad to cancer last year.
And, erm, the second I am in there I just...
feel in my head I'm calling him to be with me.
And I get a lot of comfort from thinking he is keeping
an eye on me, but, yeah, it's always my dad I think of.
Now I know that I'm losing my battle,
it's even harder now to think that my family will have lost
two of us probably in the space of 24 months.
It just feels never-ending at the moment.
Boys, where is your one?
Oh, there he is.
I didn't see him there.
I didn't know you were in there, hello!
I always talk to my rats.
Especially my one. That's my one over in the corner.
Like, why is everything happening to my family?
Why can't it happen to someone else's?
And I wonder where your family are.
Yeah, I think friends and family communicating with you
is a massive thing, and, like, if you don't communicate to anyone,
you're going to just crumble, like.
You need to speak to people, otherwise it will really start
to get to you and you'll overthink things.
Well, if I see Mummy upset or something, I will go over
and give her a cuddle,
and that's the same with Ellie and Sophia as well -
if I see them upset, I will go and give them a cuddle
and ask them if they're all right and...
And with Ellie, we talk to each other, me and Ellie do.
Me and Ellie always talk to each other and that helps us.
counselling was the thing that helped me the most.
When my mum suggested the idea, I wasn't very comfortable with it.
I didn't really want to...
I thought it was just somebody coming to talk to me about
my personal problems
and I didn't really feel that comfortable with it.
But when I actually started, it kind of... It helped me a lot.
Oh, Tommy, your hair's stuck in the brush.
In Wales, Dawn has approached a local counselling service
for Imogen and Madeleine.
She wants both girls to have the right support before
and after her death.
The children are dealing with things in very different ways.
Madeleine likes to talk, you know, through things with me
at length and is very open to going to charities that we have been
introduced to, to try and support children through bereavement.
But Imogen has just turned 12, is very grown-up for her years,
and genuinely feels that she has the coping mechanisms to deal
with what's happening by herself.
Oh, now you're pleased.
Imogen has already had a course of therapy
when her dad was diagnosed with Huntington's disease.
I didn't really want to do it then,
but I did it because my mum wanted me to do it.
So I did it and they came to the school and stuff like that.
I just didn't find it did anything for me, so...
I talk to my nan a lot and then she talks to my mum
cos I don't want to talk to my mum
because I think it will make her upset
so I talk to my nan,
and I just found counselling... find it a waste of time.
The one thing I don't need to worry about, in that sense,
is they have a huge support network around them,
they will always have somewhere where they will feel loved
and cared for, I don't want to bully them or push them into counselling
but I do understand the value of what that can offer and hope that,
you know, at some point,
that barrier for Imogen will have broken down.
There are organisations all over the country that
specialise in helping young people when they lose somebody close,
many of them supported by Children In Need.
Sometimes you can't explain, like, what's inside of you,
like, sometimes you have this feeling about it, and like
nobody else can feel it, unless they have had it done to them.
I think there's always times, isn't there, when you specifically
might miss somebody and when you wish they were around?
At the Princess Alice Hospice in Surrey, bereaved teenagers
meet once a month to share their memories and feelings.
So what do you wish that you could say to your dad?
Counsellors help them to talk about the impact of their loss
and cope with the immediate shock of a loved one's death.
What about you, Amaya?
Erm, I thought he would get better and the moment that I found...
I found out that he had passed away, I was like, I didn't really
believe it and I thought, "Oh, he's probably going to come back."
I had never actually seen a dead thing, like anything dead.
I can always remember I was sitting in the front room,
and, erm, Ben was in the toy room
and I saw mum rushing down the stairs shouting,
"He's gone! He's gone!"
And, erm, I stood up and I was like,
"No," and I was shouting, "No."
When we were having that chat and we just went upstairs
to see him and he was dead, erm...
It wasn't the nicest thing to see.
So I grabbed one of erm...
..one of my teddies that I really liked and like, erm...
I remember Dad, erm,
like, I think he wrestled it off the dog, at one point
when he got it and I thought he could have that as his trophy.
So he was lying in his bed thingy and I just left that there.
And I was really sad.
I couldn't stay in the room much longer,
knowing that he wasn't waking up.
I hate today.
Dawn has returned to the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff
to get her scan results.
-You know you're my good luck charm, don't you?
You're my good luck charm.
Having to wait two weeks for scan results is really tough
because, obviously, you just want to know if it's working
and whether it's spreading and... Obviously, if it's spreading,
it's affecting the time I've got left with my family.
Madeleine, she, erm...
She is very in tune with my anxiety so
she has picked up that I am worried about today
so she has asked me lots of times, erm, when I get my results.
We wish you the best of luck.
Oh, as good as I could have hoped for, really.
So the tumour has shrunk slightly.
It's great news, and, of course, that implies to the children
that I'm getting better
which I'm not so I've got to be very careful and I just basically
will say to them, that, erm, that,
you know, it's the best we could have hoped for
but just remind them that, you know, this is still the path
that we are on, so at the moment yeah, today is a good day.
I always want more, though.
I would absolutely love one day to walk in and they go,
"Do you know what? We can't find anything now."
Since returning from Lyme Regis, Claire has also been
waiting for tests to discover whether her cancer has spread.
She's just received the results.
I'm in a really lucky position because, erm, first of all,
the checks were so quick,
everything happened so swiftly but, also, that
when they scanned the lump, they believe that it's just scar tissue,
which is good news.
Claire's news means both she and Amy Rose can make
plans for their future.
I know that we will go through tribulations in life,
life is full of tribulations.
But...we're a strong team.
So we'll do it together.
I mean, it obviously wasn't ideal for any of this to happen
but it's definitely changed my perspective on, like, life,
on memories, on future, on everything.
Like, you've just got to look to the future.
And, no matter what comes at you, you've got to get
to, like, the end of the race. Like, you've got to do it.
Oh, dear, there's a cloud coming over.
No, it's not.
Dawn is taking Imogen and Madeleine to a place that is special to
all her family -
Barry Island on the south coast of Wales.
Might be worth, Imogen, have you got your phone to hand?
Just check what the weather forecast is like at Barry.
Going that way or that way?
You decide. Just remember I can't walk very far, mind.
Well, this is where I was brought as a child.
My parents bought me here every time there was any nice weather.
And I guess I kept it up ever since.
When the children were little,
me and their father used to bring them here.
Yeah, it's definitely somewhere that holds a lot of sentiment for us.
And what have we said about what happens after Mummy's gone?
Going to put your, erm, flowers like in...
Ashes in the...sea.
Over on the head point.
I don't really want to have a gravestone
because I just feel the children are quite young
to have to feel that they've got to keep it, erm,
look after it and visit it frequently
so what we've agreed is that that's where my ashes will be scattered.
So, any time they want just a quiet moment and reflect,
they know they can come out to the head point.
I remember a car pulled out, like, outside our house.
It was like a black limo.
And, like, our whole family got it in,
and everyone was, like, wearing suits.
And, erm, she was a Christian so we went to,
erm, er, church, erm, where she would go, like, every week.
And, erm, I saw like this massive wooden thing being carried.
And I didn't know what it was but I got told it was a coffin.
And I was like, "What's that?"
And they was like, "Oh, your mum..." Their body is in it,
it's what Christians do, they bury their bodies in the ground.
We've actually... At my house, we've got the graveyard next door.
Erm, he's in there, he's literally, er,
I'd say maybe 12 graves along.
And I go up there, like, out of two weeks, I'll say I go up there round
about maybe three, two times,
just, like, if I want to sit with him.
My dad's grave is next door, erm...
I try to visit it every day.
I do water the plants there every day.
Unless I can't make it or I've got back really late from a party.
I miss him most, erm, most when I see other dads, usually.
It's Dawn's birthday and the girls have a surprise for their mum.
What...are you doing?
Dawn remains hopeful that Imogen will agree to see a counsellor
but she's still resisting it.
Mum, come to the kitchen!
-# Happy birthday to you... #
In the meantime,
both girls are learning to deal with their mother's battle with cancer,
preparing for a life after her death, to say goodbye.
-One, two, three!
-Did you have a go?
Oh, my gosh, don't leave me hanging.
On my birthday as well, don't leave me hanging!
I feel a lot different cos it's happened to me
and I know how it feels and people helped me when it
happened to me so I am going to help others if it happens to them.
Yeah, I do think I am a different person now.
I think I'm a lot more stronger than what I used to be,
like mentally than what I used to be before.
It does make me a bit more...
sort of tougher and face the world in a different way.
You can still achieve amazing things although this has
happened to you. Just keep going and just persevere.
Don't think about the bad times.
What's happened has happened, really.
There is nothing you could have done
but what you should do is just remember the good fun times
you had with them, your special person.
Honestly, I just live.
I live to remember Dad, you know.
As long as I'm alive, I feel like he is alive too.
Details of organisations offering information and support
with bereavement are available at bbc.co.uk/actionline.
Or you can call for free at any time to hear recorded information.
BBC Children In Need supports children affected by bereavement
all over the UK.
If you would like to make a donation
to help support this year's appeal...
Texts will cost your donation plus your standard network
charge, and all of your donation will go to BBC Children In Need.
You must be 16 or over, and please ask the bill payer's permission.
For full terms, more information,
or to donate online, visit bbc.co.uk/pudsey.
Every day in the UK over a hundred children face the death of their mum or dad. Behind this statistic are many untold and heart-rending stories. Saying Goodbye, a special film for BBC Children in Need, features a group of seven- to seventeen-year-olds who have been bereaved and a few who are facing the death of a parent. In their own words, these brave children share their heart-wrenching experiences and memories, with the aim of helping other young people who are facing a similar situation.
Many of the contributors in the film have received counselling, some of the children and young people have been helped by projects around the UK supported by BBC Children in Need. Those who have already experienced bereavement form a chorus of voices - sisters Lilia, seven, and Ellie, ten, brothers Ben, nine, and Sam, 11, 13-year-old twins Sam and Ellie, Bethany, 14, and Shayna, 17. In turn they explain their grief, from the moment they first learned that a parent was ill, to when they understood they were not going to get better, the moment of death and the difficult aftermath of funerals and grieving.
Interwoven throughout their revealing testimonies are two unfolding stories of children preparing to lose someone special. Sisters Imogen, aged twelve, and Madeleine, aged nine, from south Wales explain how they are coming to terms with their mother's terminal cancer. In unfiltered and eloquent words, they reveal their fears about the future and how their mother, Dawn, is preparing them for a life after she is gone. Together they have selected wedding dresses, first cars and even homes, creating memories to equip them for a future life without their mother.
Amy Rose, aged 13 and from Berkshire, is facing the uncertainty of knowing that her mother's cancer could be life threatening - but neither of them know for sure. She articulates what it is like being on an emotional rollercoaster and the importance of being positive for her mum Claire's sake.
For Imogen, Madeleine and Amy Rose, and the other young people sharing their stories, there is support available through the hundreds of organisations and unsung heroes around the country who support grieving children. One organisation featured in the film is the Princess Alice Hospice in Surrey, which receives BBC Children in Need funding to provide therapeutic sessions and crisis response sessions to young people who are experiencing bereavement.
In this powerful, moving and life-affirming film, the children show great honesty, strength and resilience while sharing their stories.