Blogs Reports

Life, Loss and Johnny Concrete, Bethany

Reported by Aaron

Published on Thursday, October 26th, 2023

Mental Health Recovery Trauma
Blogs Reports

Life, Loss and Johnny Concrete, Bethany

Written by Aaron

Published on Thursday, October 26th, 2023

Mental Health





I wrote the following report in April of 2019. I had been homeless for five years at that time. Events in my life were spiraling into an almost uncontrollable situation and my mental health was at its lowest ebb. 

So, I did something I’d never done before, I turned what I perceived as a weakness into what became my biggest source of strength. I asked someone for help! Luckily that help came in the form of one-to-one counselling. After six weeks of intense and sometimes massively uncomfortable therapy I was in a much better head space. Whilst my housing situation was still the same, I’d learnt a new method of coping, and this enabled me to completely change my way of thinking. The chain of thoughts that had shackled me for years I now saw in a completely different light. I used this previously hidden source of strength to put pen to paper and dispel the fear that held me so tightly. For the first time since a young boy, I had finally reached some semblance of balance. 

As always, thank you for reading and may you all find your inner strength. Comments below are more than welcome. Much love to you all. 




Sometimes I wonder about life and love, and occasionally everything else that lies in between. 

Feelings rise to the surface like an eruption, burst to the fore and completely disrupt everything. These feelings and episodic moments of madness have the power to destroy, and yet also, in exquisite moments of joy, the tiniest spark can create something truly wonderful. The smallest of things can make everything seem worthwhile. All the evils in the world, from dodgy looking spiders, all the way up to cancer, can be forgotten in the instant of creation. 

And yet, in the blink of an eye, it can all be taken away. I write from experience, and as if it had happened yesterday, I can remember exactly when my entire life was ripped apart. 

The tiny spark that set my entire life alight was my daughter Bethany-Ann. She was born 10th October 2000, an extremely healthy bundle of screaming joy, weighing 6lb 4oz, glowing like an angel and for the next sixteen months filled my days with happiness. My life was finally complete. 

One phone call on 14th February 2002 at 11:29am changed my world forever. My Bethany-Ann had fallen asleep and never woken up. 

To this day I wonder what, how and why she came to pass away. The coroner’s report stated that Bethany-Ann at 16 months old was both too old and too young for her death to be attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), more commonly known as cot death. The coroner did say that minor haemorrhaging was found around the heart and lungs. His verdict – Open Death. 

Over the years I’ve had many people say to me that it might be better not knowing what caused her death that day. I very firmly but politely tell them to stop talking shit. I understand their motives are pure and they’re only trying to help, but really, it doesn’t. 

Each day, each and every time I see other parents walk, play, shout and laugh with their own children, it makes me sad and pulls me apart emotionally. I will never, ever know what took my angel away and it tears open a bottomless hole that can never be filled. I want to know if her last moments were spent in pain, or did she fall asleep gently and awaken from this dream we collectively call Life. 

I like to think that her last moments upon this mortal plane were dreams of sunshine and toys, of laughter and warm hugs and of course, her favourite television program ‘Songs of Praise’. I also like to think that as she travelled to the Heavens, she was smiling and waving to us all as she began her next great adventure. 

That’s been the only way I’ve been able to manage my emotions on a daily basis. I’m not a religious person in the slightest, instead preferring to call myself an Agnostic. And I certainly do not believe that Bethany-Ann has gone onto a ‘better place.’ I hold the idea that my daughter is flying amongst the stars, polishing them each evening, so that when they shine, I can picture the twinkle in her eyes being mirrored in the gentle glow of the evening horizon, along with the cheeky grin she had developed. 

I miss my daughter dearly, but as each night approaches I gaze towards the evening skies, and I can honestly say that even for a short period of time she blessed me with an unequivocal and unrequited love. During those moments I feel peace and I cherish the memories I have of her. One day I will join her, and we can spend an eternity traversing the stars, lighting the way for millions of generations to follow. 

Written by Aaron

Hey everyone, pleased to meet you all. I'm currently reporting from the Bolton area. I have a degree in Psychology and Sociology and for many years worked in the care sector specialising in paranoid schizophrenia and bi-polar disorders. During this time I also achieved my NVQ lvl 4 in Health and Social Care. Additionally I specialised in caring for children and adults with severe autism and severe learning disabilities. I am fluent in makaton and PECS, both systems designed to promote the development of speech for those who are not able to communicate successfully. I hope to use my time alongside my Groundswell colleagues to enact changes in our current broken and underfunded system of support.

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Mental Health Recovery Trauma

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