Arthur’s Patch

Arthur’s Patch

I don’t know where to start. I’ve been absent from this blog for so long, and it’s taken such a long time to feel able to write something again. I’ve wanted to for quite a while, but it’s been easier to put it off and do it tomorrow – tomorrow that never comes. This blog post is all about love, loss and the creation of something beautiful – Arthur’s Patch.

The last year has been a blur of different emotions and I scarcely remember some of it. Nothing could have prepared us for the tragedy that happened. Losing Arthur has changed us forever. We feel older and more weary. We had no comprehension that these emotions existed. There was always happiness and sadness, but it didn’t sink into the dark depths or dizzying heights of raw, unfiltered love and loss.

Errors and mistakes…

In the weeks leading to up to his death, and on the night itself, several huge mistakes all aligned to create a disaster. An independent investigation has revealed that behind the scenes, a catalogue of errors were made: understaffing, no manager, lack of experience, complacency, bad communication, conflicting advice and a disregard for protocols ended in a situation with a tragic ending. Immediately following his death, policies and protocols were changed and if this situation had happened today, Arthur would be here. We have a meeting scheduled with the hospital and ambulance trust to talk in depth about other changes to the maternity system going forward.

The people that stood by us…

Unless you have lost a full-term baby, you can’t understand the loss. I don’t have the words to express how we have felt, and still do feel today. We are beginning to feel more like ourselves again, but we know it will never go away. A part of us is missing and that piece cannot be found.

We have managed to get through this year with the amazing support of our family and close friends. Grief set up a road-block and we were diverted onto a different path when we lost Arthur, and some of our friends and family have walked it with us. Only Mr SN and I could set the pace. Sometimes we’d make progress and walk forwards, but other times we’d stumble and fall, unable to move any further. Our family and friends were there crying with us, helping in any way they could. We feel indebted to the people that rose above the rest and helped us without hesitation.

There have been a few core people that have gone above and beyond, they’ve continually been there, week in and week out. When everyone else moved on with their lives and forgot about us, they still sent flowers, letters, and cooked us dinners. They kept inviting us out, left homegrown veg from the allotment at our door (thank you Sophie) and arrived at Arthur’s Patch when it was cold and grey to help create our vision. I don’t think I can ever repay those people back, they knew exactly how to help us, and without them we wouldn’t be feeling better. It goes without saying that my family have been amazing…I already knew they were pretty great, but now I realise just how lucky I am to have them.

In comparison, some people said nothing. They found the situation too overwhelming and left us alone, too scared of saying the wrong thing or of making us upset. What those people don’t realise is that there is nothing they can say that makes the situation any worse. Their words can’t make us feel more upset than we already are – we are already crying inside. Other people couldn’t understand at all, nor could they put their own situations into perspective. They thought that the worst thing to happen in their own life is as bad as it can get. Our reaction was to surround ourselves with the people that seemed to feel a bit of our pain.

Putting our situation into perspective…

Sometimes we couldn’t see our way through the darkness, but quite often we could put our situation into perspective and see the bigger picture. We imagined the pain that parents must feel when they lose a child after years of knowing and loving them. We imagined the pain of parents whose children have been abducted or murdered. The scale of pain still has several more levels that we have no idea about. There is always someone in a worse situation than yourself.

Both Mr SN and I are very spiritual, and we believe that everything happens for a reason. We weren’t destined to have Arthur in this lifetime, but through losing him, we have been set on a new path with a completely different purpose. We may not physically have Arthur, but we feel him all the time, he’s walking next to us, holding our hands, proud of what we are doing in his memory.

I also feel a close link to women throughout history. Although this may be a rare occurrence nowadays, in the past, and in developing countries today, losing a baby was, and is, common. I know the pain of millions of women I’ve never met. I’m more human than before – Arthur has given us the greatest gift of all, it will last our entire lives; we can see the fragility and beauty of life.

Finding Arthur’s Patch…

That brings me onto the subject of Arthur’s Patch. You may remember in the post that my mum wrote, that we were searching for Arthur’s Patch. Our dream of having land has metamorphisised into a quest to do as much good as we can in our lifetime. Arthur’s life won’t be in vain, and we will continually remember and pay tribute to his memory.

Mr SN found Arthur’s Patch shortly after we lost him last year. On a particularly bad morning, he escaped out on his motorbike to try and gather his thoughts. As he set off, a voice in his head told him to search for a ‘sale’ sign. Instead of driving fast, he slowed down and traipsed up and down the surrounding country lanes. After fifty miles, he stumbled across a sign at the side of the road. It said ‘land for sale’ with a phone number to ring. He rang the phone number and after several attempts managed to get through. The estate agent listened to our story and although she already had a buyer willing to pay the full asking price, she felt that we were supposed to buy it. At the first available opportunity we viewed the four acre field and within a couple of hours we’d payed a holding fee and it was off the market. Arthur’s Patch had found us.

Celebrating on bonfire night -Arthur’s Patch is ours.
Four acres with endless potential…

Creating Arthur’s Patch…

I can’t explain how Arthur’s Patch has helped to heal us over the last year. Every emotion has been ploughed into our land. We’ve dug out our frustration, planted trees with hope, nurtured seedlings with love and cried with frustration. It’s given me in particular a huge focus, something to put all of my effort into. I can’t speak for Mr SN, but as a mother I’ve had empty arms. I have overwhelming amounts of love and no baby to give it to. Arthur’s Patch has been my saviour. I may not be able to cuddle and kiss Arthur, or to watch him grow, but for me, Arthur’s Patch is the closest thing to him that I have. I can nurture Arthur’s Patch and watch it evolve into something spectacular.

Our vision for Arthur’s Patch has gone round and round in circles. With a four acre field there are endless opportunities. What we do know is that Arthur’s Patch has helped us to heal, and it has the ability to help others too. Our vision is to create a place where wildlife can thrive alongside people. It will be a sanctuary for nature to run wild and free. Right now Arthur’s Patch is for us, our friends and family, but in the near future we want to invite people in that need it. We will be setting up a community garden and contacting local schools to find families that need help. We still don’t know exactly what Arthur’s Patch will become, it’s bigger than us, we’re just helping it on it’s way.

So far we’ve created a large vegetable garden, orchard, and the beginnings of a children’s play area and pond are emerging. We have a little cabin to shelter from the rain and an off-grid eco toilet is on it’s way. We’ve planted two hundred and fifty native woodland trees, and more will be planted this winter. Every penny of our money and all our energy has gone into this project. However we can’t take all the credit for what’s been created. A little army of volunteers has toiled away helping us to achieve our vision.

We want to say a huge thank you to all of the helpers so far, none of it would have been possible without you. I guess that’s it for this post. In the next one I’ll explain all about our vision for Arthur’s Patch and more depth and detail about what we’ve created so far. This is just the beginning of the story…who knows where it will end.

32 thoughts on “Arthur’s Patch

  1. I’m so glad to read this post, and to hear the wonderful news about Arthur’s Patch. You and your family have often been in my thoughts, sending much love to you all xx

  2. So pleased that you are feeling comfortable enough to write this blog again. Not at all surprised to read that you are all pulling together and actually making your plans for Arthur’s Patch come to fruition. You are all good people, the world should have more of you, if Arthur had survived he would have been a good person and Arthur’s Patch is the most perfect way to remember him forever, not only for you, your family and friends, but everyone who will get benefit from it being there. Thank you for the update and be proud of what you have all done, for and with Arthur.

  3. I’m so happy you’re writing again. I don’t know you personally but found myself wondering how you were doing just a few days ago. I am very admirative of your project with Arthur’s patch and I hope to hear from you again soon.

  4. Very grateful for this update. Have been praying for you and I am sure there is more to be revealed about Arthur’s patch.

    1. I was happy to read your post. You very eloquently shared your heart breaking story of loss and recovery. I am glad to know you are starting to heal, but know this will always be part of your story. You have provided new insight into supporting hurting people. I often struggle to give words of comfort to my family or friends in time of loss, but you have showed me the importance of just being there (and the words being irrelevant). Time does heal the heart, just not completely.

  5. Hello again – you don’t know me but I feel as if I know you both quite well having watched the original episodes and then re-watched them. I was drawn into your life and then decided to see whereabouts you were and then stumbled across your mums update last year I was so very sad for you all, I am so sorry and I cannot imagine the grief and loss you have endured.
    I can imagine you wanted the world to stop and acknowledge Arthur and so I wanted you to know that you all have been in my thoughts since reading about it.

  6. Your strength and resilience is amazing. Both of you have gone through the most unimaginable pain and are using that grief to create a wonderful gift to Arthur, your friends and family and hopefully beyond. I admire you both for your resolve and to never give up the fight, whether it be in Greece or here. You are an inspiration to many.

  7. That is a powerful piece of writing and is very moving. You would need to have a heart of stone not to feel your raw emotions on losing your baby.
    It’s great to have you back, I often wondered how things were with you and its delightful that you have found Arthur’s Patch.
    Blessings to you both.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story. I cannot imagine the grief you have experienced and don’t think any words I can offer help. It’s rather the other way round that by having the strength to share your story I’m certain you are helping many others. I hope there will very happy times ahead for you both.

  9. Mrs,
    So glad to read your post ! Thank you for giving us the latest news.
    First that you have found the land that you were looking for and already what you have done with it. Such a meaningful project. I am eager to read your next steps.
    Take good care of you,

  10. So pleased to see Arthur’s patch coming to life , we are so proud of you both, we feel so guilty living so far away from you we would love to have helped in this creation, every day I stroke Arthur’s cheek in his picture that stands along side your wedding one in our bedroom. Uncle Fred and I are so grateful in the way you look after Barbara and Des for us. We hope to be able to come up in August and Arthur’s Patch will be first in the list of visits, sending all our love to you both, I am now going to show Uncle Fred your blog and I know it will reduce him in to tears, he is so proud of you both x x x

    stands next to your wedding photo

  11. God Bless you both and baby Arthur. You have been in my thoughts and it is so lovely to hear how you are getting on. There is no greater pain than the loss of a child. Good luck with Arthur’s Patch – what a wonderful legacy. So pleased you have your wonderful family and friends.

  12. Thankyou for this very sad, but beautiful and ultimately hopeful post. I am so sorry for your loss, but I look forward to reading more about how Arthur’s Patch develops. Sending love, hugs and all best wishes x

  13. Thanks for posting an update and sharing more of your story, I can only imagine how difficult the past year has been. I’m glad that you’re starting to write new blogs posts again, I look forward to reading about the development of Arthur’s patch 🙂

  14. Dear Steph + Mr SN, I was only thinking about what had happened to you the other day as I sat having a cuppa and looking out across Souda Bay wherever bought our villa last year, and your mum’s heart breaking blog was The last time I had heard about your tragic loss, which I am so,so sorry about!! I used to correspond with you when you we starting out in Crete after the Channel 4 series, so to lose your dream then your child is a double tragedy to bare for anyone!! I won’t harp on much longer but I would just like to say I am so very pleased you have found your second chance and opportunity of Paradise and I hope all goes well for you both and all who have helped you through this last year!! Good Luck, Stay Strong, Stay in Love and Stay Safe, and I look forward to hearing about your projects soon!! Kind Regards, Toni Adamski

  15. I have just shed tears reading your blog Steph, both you, Mr S and your family have been through so such a traumatic devastating time. I stayed away last year, did not know how to approach you, living so far away I felt I would have been intruding.
    I am filled with relief to see that you are able to slowly start rebuilding your lives. You are an amazing couple with so much love to give, that is what you are doing with Arthur’s patch, sowing your love into the earth. Take care, love and hugs to you both.

  16. I’m one of the silent ones, out here somewhere in the ozone, who keeps you and yours in the back of my mind. you have more unspoken support than you may realize. I am so glad to hear from you.

  17. I was so pleased to read this today, I had looked here only a few days ago to see if there was any news. You are doing wonderful things and are wonderful people.

  18. So often, since your Mum’s post, we have thought about you and wondered how life was panning out for you. Thank you for bringing us all up to date with Arthur’s Patch. Looking forward to hearing and seeing your progress on this, your new life’s venture.

  19. Such a positive post after such a tragedy, wishing you and yours all the very best in the future.

  20. So pleased that you have found the courage and strength to once again feel able to share your life and emptions with your many online friends. I have been privileged – through my friendship with your lovely grandmother and her sister-,to have been kept abreast of your progress. You remark on improvements you have helped to make in NHS maternity care – so different from when we lost our week old child some 50 years ago. People generally are now more open in being able to express their grief . for us it took around 40 years to make any formal declaration 0f Mark’s brief but traumatic life (7 days involving separation from his mother & family plus 3 major operations). Your strength and openness have helped me to write this and come to terms with what happened and how we reacted. We have different ways of grieving and different social pressures based on when it occurred. I now feel more at ease with myself – thank you.
    Love, Pat.

    1. Pat,

      Knew you would write a loving remark.
      Thank you for all your kind words.
      I am so glad you let me know about this blog from your frined.
      Will keep reading future ones.

      Thank you for your friendship and calls

  21. My wife and I are amazed at your resolve. It takes an a large amount of courage to Cary on. May Arthur’s Patch continue to grow. We have lived here on Crete for 7 years now, and followed your blog and hope wmay return one day.

  22. I was pleasantly surprised the other day when I saw an email notification show up. I followed your journey in Crete, was disheartened when you had to move back to England and truly sad for you when you lost Arthur. As the father of two grown children you’re absolutely right – I can’t imagine the pain of losing the child. Just the day-to-day fear that something bad could happen to your children is terrifying, the actual loss is incomprehensible. I am, well happy isn’t the right word, but I suppose inspired that you have used your grief to make a positive change in the world. While I know you will never suffer the loss any less, I hope you can find other joys in the world. I hope you continue to blog nd to write; you have a gift that you should share with the world. Not just your writing but your perspective as well.

    Best wishes as you continue your journey and I hope you continue to share.

  23. What a wonderful article, we wish you well with this amazing project and I look forward to some ride outs with Mr SN.

  24. After such a heartbreaking experience for all of you, I hope that Arthur’s little patch brings comfort, joy and love to all who wander in it’s beauty. The spirit and essence of his innocence will surely be found in this lovely little haven. Thinking and cheering you on.

  25. Thank you for writing article and sharing your emotions and how you faced people’s reactions, you have expressed what you felt in an open and honest way. Sending love and good wishes to you both.

  26. Hello. You don’t know me at all, but I found your story about living in Greece and have followed you ever since. I don’t have enough words to express the sadness I felt at you losing Arthur, but to read your latest post is just so inspiring, uplifting and amazing. Your zest for continuing to celebrate Arthur is just fabulous. I look forward to reading all about how Arthur’s Patch will develop and grow. Thank you for sharing your story x

  27. I was so glad to see you writing again. Grief is a journey that has no map and all we can do is wait patiently until something stirs enough to start putting words down again. Having lost my mum and dear niece within three weeks of each other last year, I too have been on that journey and have come to believe that grief is like a person we live alongside; taking time to slowly understand, learning to live together in some kind of harmony. I’m so sorry for your loss. Like you, I started to process my grief in a way where I acknowledged all.the.grief in the world and, eventually, that spurred me on to begin creating from a place of sadness. It is so comforting to see you doing the same. I wish you well in your nurturing of Arthur’s patch.💛

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