How a mum’s heartbreak opened my eyes to see more clearly

A threat is hanging over us all which makes it difficult to carry on with our normal lives.

Monday, 16th March 2020, 11:53 am
Updated Monday, 16th March 2020, 11:54 am
St Wilfrid's Centre Sheffield

Things are moving at such a fast pace that it is hard to keep perspective, in fact I think there are many ways in which we lose that sometimes even when we aren’t facing a pandemic.

As you know, I was part of a Star team due to join the Sleep Out at Bramall Lane on Friday to raise money for homeless charity St Wilfrid’s Centre.

It was postponed, like many other things, so you are spared my thoughts on braving the cold through the night … at least until later in the year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

One thing will stay with me forever though and that was a brief letter from a woman who challenged me, in just a few sentences, to think differently.

Her note came with a cheque for St Wilfrid’s. The donation was collected at her son’s funeral and shared with one of Sheffield’s other great homes charities, The Archer Project.

These words were written by a heartbroken mother who only found out about her son's death, almost a month too late.

That is one cost of homelessness that we, I, never really think about in any depth. Everybody has a family but when you see people sleeping in the streets you don’t think of the people who love them, who tried their very hardest to help but somehow witnessed them just slip away. Having a good think about that literally brings tears to my eyes.

We might want to help end homelessness but do we ever really see the full picture and remember that, no matter what their problems, we are all the same?

I would like to thank that heartbroken mother for her donation and say, while I’m sincerely sorry for her loss, I’m also grateful to her for opening my eyes.

I’m not sharing her name now because, while it is her lesson to teach, it is also her grief and story to handle in whatever way is best for her family.

I will complete the Sleep Out whenever I get the chance and I know Star readers will always back these amazing charities because they are working so hard to stop more mums suffering heartbreak, to save and change lives.

This is a time when human kindness is needed more than at any other in my lifetime. It is easier to be nice than to be mean if we stop, think of the human stories and remember that we could find ourselves at the centre of any of them.