Newmarket family calls for more grief support for parents and siblings after losing son Josh Sahota and daughter Charlotte within a year of each other
A Newmarket mother, whose daughter died from a rare heart condition three weeks after becoming a mum for the first time, and whose son took his own life less than a year later, has called for more support for grieving parents and siblings.
Lynette Fordham, who lives in Mill Reef Close, is still trying to come to terms with the death of her daughter Charlotte in 2018 and her son, Josh Sahota in 2019, and with her eldest daughter, Chloe, spoke this week about their hope to try to set up a support network bringing together others who are trying to cope with the unexpected deaths of loved ones.
Lynette said her daughter, Charlotte, a teacher in Stowmarket, died in October 2018 of peripartum cardiomyopathy, a rare type of heart failure occurring during pregnancy or immediately after the baby’s birth.
“She was a very special person to so many people and to lose her like that was devastating,” said Lynette.
Mother-of-two Chloe said: “When we lost Charlotte I struggled to find any bereavement support for siblings and I realised how important that was and maybe how it could have helped my brother at the time.”
Josh Sahota took his own life while a patient in a mental health unit in Bury St Edmunds on September 9, 2019.
He had been admitted after he had suffered his first psychotic episode and driven his car off a bridge on the A11 in an apparent attempt to kill himself.
“Psychosis can be brought on by traumatic events and Josh was devastated by what happened to Charlotte as they were very close,” said Lynette.
“When she was being treated in Papworth and I told Josh they had talked about possibly going down the transplant route he said to me: ‘I would give her my heart’.”
“Everyone’s grief is different,” said Chloe, “and it’s hard to find people to talk to about their experiences.
“The way this has affected my mum is totally different to how it has affected me. We are both just trying to adapt as best we can but I really don’t know how mum manages to keep going.”
She added that both she, and her mother, were concerned at how her own six-year-old daughter was coping with the grief that was consuming the family.
“We were determined that she did not get left behind as she saw all these people around her hurting,” she said.
Lynette, for whom gardening is one of many hobbies she has taken up in a bid to cope with her losses, said a group allotment was one idea she had had for those dealing with grief, while Chloe was looking at setting up an online site where people could post their experiences and how they have coped.
“The hurt and the pain will never go away,” said Lynette, “we can’t bring Charlotte and Josh back, and our lives have to go on, but when things become overwhelming we need help and advice on how to deal with that so we can carry on.”