Mathew on Monday: “Loss, grief and the next chapter”

Mathew Hulbert | Columnist | 16 January 2023

On July 12th last year, my life changed forever.

Pictured: Hinckley Free Press columnist Mathew Hulbert with his mother, Jackie, who tragically passed in hospital in nearby Nuneaton in July last year (Image: Mathew Hulbert)

My dear Mum Jackie, aged 78, died in hospital after an infection turned to sepsis.

This was two days after, following a fall at her home in Barwell, we waited 11 hours for a paramedic/ambulance.

A wait which would make local, regional and national headlines and would see me do a number of media interviews; talking about what my dear Mum went through, how she’d been failed by a system that was broken and why urgent action is needs to be taken by Government and Parliament to fix it.

In interviews at the time and since, I’ve stressed that my issue is with the system not with individual paramedics who are doing their best in very trying circumstances.

Even as a former broadcast journalist and someone used to public speaking, talking about the suffering and death of my Mum, the person I loved most in the world, is painful. But, I do it because I know she would want me to do so.

In her memory and also for others who, on a daily basis it seems, are seeing their loved ones let down by the broken system and who may not have the public platform that I do to voice their anger and frustration at the situation.

I’ve also been very open about receiving grief counselling, as asking for the help we need it is so very important but can be a difficult thing to do.

What I’d say to everyone, but especially to men who can struggle to seek help is far from being ‘weak,’ it is in fact the strongest thing you can do.

I’ve had a number of sessions now and am finding it really helpful.

Not only to share my feelings and talk about my grief (in a completely confidential setting) but also to begin, as painful as it is to do so, to think about what this new chapter of my life-having now lost both my parents (my dad Adrian died in 2016)-may look like.

Even as someone who loves planning and goal-setting, there’s no guidebook (to my knowledge at least) for what comes next after you lose both of your parents and, especially, at the relatively young age of 42.

God and good health willing I could be here for another 40 years; and the thought of navigating that without my parents and, primarily, my Mum is – I won’t try and claim anything other-scary.

Not in terms of practical stuff, of course, but rather the love and emotional support that we all need in our lives.

I’m blessed to have siblings, nephews and nieces, godparents, friends and others who I can and do turn to and I’m beyond grateful for their love and support.

But no one replaces your Mum and Dad.

So, what’s next for me? What is 2023 going to look like?

Well, as you may have seen reported exclusively here on the Hinckley Free Press, I’ve decided not to re-contest my Barwell Parish Council seat at the local elections in May.

So I’m in my final few months in elected office.

Again that is another big change for me, but I think it’s the right decision at this time.

Meanwhile I’m back attending the Hinckley community choir I was last at in September.

This is good in terms of my social life, which is very important for work/life balance.

I’m also starting two new community roles, one of which is public knowledge and the other I can’t reveal yet but will let you know as soon as I can.

The one I can talk about, as you may have seen on my Twitter account, @MathewHulbert, I’ve been elected on to the Patient Forum at the George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton (which also serves Hinckley).

I had my first meeting last week and it was fantastic to meet the other people on the Forum and find out more about what they do.

I’m also delighted to be back writing this column on a regular basis; many thanks to my wonderful editor Mason Moore.

So I hope you’ll join me here once a fortnight for more life updates, comments on the news from a local perspective and the occasional wrestling preview/review.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in two weeks.

Take good care!

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