Grief and the loss of a child

Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds celebrate the launch of their film with family and friends in Glasgow

How on earth does anyone survive the loss of a child?

The feature film A Love That Never Dies, on release at selected independent cinemas this month, shares how some parents have coped.

I watched it last night in Glasgow in the company of my friends, film-makers Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds. They made the film as part of their own process of recovery from the trauma of the loss of a child – the death of their son Josh. 

Jane and Jimmy were forced to learn how to cope when Josh was killed in a motorbike accident in Vietnam, just as he was transitioning into the man they would never get to know. They had the hideous experience of the door-knock news and have spent the last few years finding different ways of engaging with each other, life and other bereaved parents in their new reality.

The film explores other parents’ experiences of the loss of a child and attitudes to coping, not coping, wanting to die, living on.

It’s a perfectly balanced presentation – not seeking to shock, not maudlin, not over optimistic. Just honest, bare, truthful experiences of vulnerable and brave people. It’s a thoughtful exploration of love and loss and what it is to live on, differently, always changed, richer, fuller, always missing them, always connected, not looking for closure. It shares sensitively from the brave souls the amazing resilience of the human spirit in this darkest of places.  

There’s still a chance to see it the film in Edinburgh’s Cameo on Wednesday.

Watch the trailer.

Jane and Jimmy have founded the charity, the Good Grief Project to continue their pioneering work to open up discussions about loss and grief.

They found huge support from the community The Compassionate Friends – many of whom attended the film. There’s a network across the UK. They provide peer-to-peer support for loss, grief and bereavement.

There was a delight for me to see the film partly because two years ago, I sat with Jane and Jimmy over a glass after a death convention we’d all attended and they talked about their dream to make a film that might help others cope with the loss of a child. Two years on, with a little bit of funding and a huge amount of passion, hard work and determination, they’ve made it. What a tribute to Josh.

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