It’s the worst pain a parent can ever experience: having to say goodbye to a child.
But that’s the loss that Richard Pringle, a man from Hastings, England, suffered last August, when his beloved three-year-old son Hughie died of a brain hemorrhage.
And while nothing can prepare you for something like that, what made it worse was how sudden and unexpected the loss was.
“He had a brain condition, but was doing so well,” Richard told the Mirror.
“There was only a 5% chance of a bleed but unfortunately that 5% chance happened last year and he didn’t survive.”
Richard was devastated. But in the year since, Richard has found that the only way to move forward is to focus on the precious memories he did have with his son, and not the tragic ending.
“He was soft, gentle, caring and so lovable,” Richard told The Mirror. “He made the boring things fun. He made everything fun.”
“In three short years he left us with a lifetime of the most incredible memories.”
And then, nearly a year after Hughie’s death, Richard decided to honor his memory the best way he could.
In a Facebook post that went viral with over 11,000 shares, Richard composed a list of the “10 Most Important Things I’ve Learnt Since Losing My Son.”
It’s been striking a chord with parents across the world, because the list isn’t about grieving. It’s about living in the moment and making time for your loved ones while you still can.
As Richard has unfortunately learned firsthand, those moments are fleeting—and never guaranteed.
1. You can never ever kiss and love too much.
2. You always have time. Stop what you’re doing and play, even if it’s just for a minute. Nothing’s that important that it can’t wait.
3. Take as many photos and record as many videos as humanly possible.
One day that might be all you have.
4. Don’t spend money, spend time. 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.
5. Sing. Sing songs together. My happiest memories are of Hughie sitting on my shoulders or sitting next to me in the car singing our favourite songs. Memories are created in music.
6. Cherish the simplest of things. Nighttimes, bedtimes, reading stories. Dinners together. Lazy Sundays. Cherish the simplest of times. They are what I miss the most.
Don’t let those special times pass you by unnoticed.
7. Always kiss those you love goodbye and if you forget. Go back and kiss them. You never know if it’s the last time you’ll get the chance.
8. Make boring things fun. 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.
9. Keep a journal. Write down everything your little ones do that lights up your world. The funny things they say, the cute things they do. We only started doing this after we lost Hughie. We wanted to remember everything. Now we do it for Hettie and we will for Hennie too. You’ll have these memories written down forever and when your older you can look back and cherish every moment.
10. If you have your children with you. To kiss goodnight. To have breakfast with. To walk to school. To take to university. To watch get married.
You are blessed. Never ever forget that.