40 years he has been gone, never forgotten……………..

In memory of Gavin Trask … My story

When we found out we were going to have a baby, our first, the news was the best that one can imagine. All of us that are parents know that feeling. Joy, excitement trepidation, anxiety, it is an unknown expectancy, the intensity of the news giving to close family, family and friends. 40 years ago we didn’t have social media, we couldn’t post development photos and commentary through out the 9 months. so it was photos, the old fashioned way, and even then it wasn’t as prolific as it is today. I remember vividly the day we found out, we both worked together and managed to go to the Doctors and get the result, we were of course thrilled, we had planned to have a baby and this was the first month, so it seems we were both well equipped :-)

The pregnancy was as normal as it could be right up to the term, we had no concerns at all, and when the time came his Mum went in to the cottage hospital and had an uneventful delivery, he was born overnight Saturday into Sunday 5th December 1976 , it was a beautiful, wonderful time for both of us. Gavin was born into a loving family. He really was our pride and joy. The spare room was made into a nursery, we were not well off but we made it lovely for him.

He spent the first few weeks in with us at night, and he wasn’t a baby to be kept in, we took him every where, in his pram walking miles each week. He certainly had plenty of fresh air. Lots of family and friends to visit, his Mummy bought him into work to see everyone, she was a great Mummy. Everything about having Gavin with us was just so natural. He didn’t have any illness, no problems, he was just  lovely bubbly happy boy

After just a week or so he was sleeping through the night, waking for his feed and then going back to sleep, such a happy content little chap. We had his first Christmas and of course he was the centre of our Christmas, he didn’t go short of love and affection.

On Sunday 13th February, 10 weeks to the day he was born, he woke for his feed just before 6am, he fed, I remember he was very giggly that morning, and was wide awake whilst he fed. We “burped” him and we all know that wind makes babies smile, and then he dropped off to sleep, which was quite normal for him in the mornings. Sometime after I got up to go and make a cup of tea and I can remember the next 10-15 minutes, it is a time that no parent ever wants to go through……………………

At 6am Gavin was a beautiful happy, very much alive young boy with his whole life ahead of him, a life with a loving Mummy and Daddy and Grandparents, Aunties and Uncles…………..

At 8am he had gone

Those fifteen minutes no one needs to hear about. The first visitor was the ambulance, the police and then some time after that our local vicar. neither of us were in control during that time and taking our boy away was awful, our vicar I am afraid took a lot of abuse. Why would God take a beautiful healthy boy from us?

After that the time was a blur, and even up to his funeral. I try so hard to remember those days but it is like they were blocked out so well that I just cannot remember, and I feel very guilty about that. One thing I can remember is seeing the one coffin bearer carrying Gavin in his white coffin. It was a pitiful sight. He was cremated at Haycombe Cemetery and Crematorium, Bath and his ashes scattered amongst the children’s plot

You can see that he was indeed a happy boy, always yawning :-)

It was an awful time for his mum and I. Friends and family said it will bring you closer together, but in fact I went so far off the rails, and wasn’t any support, we were no support for each other and we grieved separately, I am not sure if I was grieving or was just blocking it out. We separated and eventually divorced. It was the most unhappy period of my life, and something that I blocked out for many years. I would not speak to anyone in detail about his life, I wouldn’t let anyone in.

Of course there was the inevitable Post Mortem, confirming that he was a fit and healthy baby, no ailments and nothing wrong with his respiratory system. The worst explanation that was no explanation “Your son died from Cot Death” I will never forget those words

I have a beautiful daughter now and 3 wonderful grandchildren. The first 6 months of her life was a very difficult time. (for me)  They were not part of my grief but my second wife was very, very understanding and it was never a taboo subject, but at the same time I never wanted to talk about it. I cannot remember having a complete sleep during those first 6 months of my daughters life, laying awake, listening, checking on breathing. I guess it was a natural thing? Over the coming years, I was still unable to come to terms with Gavin dying, but my daughter was growing up and she was, is and always will be the “apple of her daddies eye”

I never hid him from her so she was aware of Gavin from an early age. All through her life she has always asked about him and even my grandchildren know all about him, she really is a remarkable daughter. When my daughter became pregnant with her first child, a son, she said some words to me that shocked me, surprised me and gave me tears. “Dad we would like to name our son Mason Gavin, Gavin for you, do you mind?” It was the most genuine, kind, thoughtful and heartfelt gesture, one that I will never forget.

I have always celebrated his birthday and his passing by going to the Cemetery and sitting with him for an hour or 2 sometimes longer, but have never had the answer to the question that had stayed with me for 39 years, Why?………. Why?

These days the unknown death of a baby has been given a new name SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, but, still no explanation

In July 2015, I had a chance meeting with a party from the Far East, a lovely group of people, who we had an immediate connection with. A gentleman of 70 years and I became so close over 5 days, having an amazing life story, we became “brothers” and an amazing young man just 9 years old who called me his special friend. His Mum and sister along with everyone in the party made me very much part of their family. A relationship that has developed into a very close and special friendship with everyone. The reason for this diversion and cutting through to the current time will become very clear shortly

I was still looking for the answer, but it had become less of a priority as the answers were ever the same, “No one knows” “It happens”

On a visit to the Far East to visit my friends,  I was telling them Gavin’s story I again mentioned that even though the reason why he died was still important I never felt I would ever get the answer I needed. My friends were Christians and had their firm beliefs, whilst telling them about never having an answer, my young friends mother’s response was a ray of sunlight, it was the answer that I had been waiting all these years for, no one had ever said this to me and yet this lady, my friend, was so calm, so believing,  so honest. Without a thought she said, “Surely you know that God chose Gavin because He needed a very special boy to look after all the children in Heaven” It bought tears to my eyes, and yet made complete sense. Immediately I felt this enormous weight being lifted from me, I felt thankful, blessed even.

I felt I could at last talk about Gavin in a wonderful and public manner, I was determined to thank God and in some way pay my thanks to the poor people in this world. It was arranged that myself, my friend, her son and daughter would go to Manila at Easter 2016 and work at the Kids International Ministry for  week, This week would change my life forever.

I chose this week to relay my story of Gavin, my rebuttal of God, to my friends, and a Testimony in front of my fellow missionary volunteers, this would be done on a visit to a young offenders facility. It was an amazing experience, the first time I had spoken about Gavin in detail to anyone, and yet it was so fulfilling.


So my son is sitting in heaven looking after all the beautiful children…………….. am at peace with myself and with God.

Psalm23: The Lord is my Shepherd………


The Lullaby Trust, dear to my heart, and a charity that I support