Fraser Baxter Ambassador – Final Blog

Fraser Baxter – Final Blog

So this year’s Edinburgh’s Men’s 10K has been and gone. It was a great day and a fantastic race to end the year on! I had the pleasure of running alongside other bereaved dad’s in our Sand’s Lothian vests. This was the first time I ever that I have ran a race without having a time goal and I’m not going to lie, that was hard (years of swimming competitions have instilled a beat your last time mentality in me). However, running to show unity was what this race was about for me. Running with other bereaved dads and raising awareness was my goal.

In the month prior to the Men’s 10K it is Baby Loss Awareness Week and also my own daughter, Jenna’s, 3 rd heavenly birthday and also the anniversary of her death. That was a tough month and full of lots of emotions. The grief is heightened at this time of year for me. 3 years on and you think about all the milestones that you have missed out on and the truth is that this will never stop. I suppose that’s what is different about grief when your child dies. It is not the natural order, it’s not the way things are supposed to happen and that’s what’s tough. A child dying is not a grief that you can just get over, for the love that you have for that child doesn’t stop so the saddest that they are not here will continue for as long as you love.

Over the last couple of months I have been reminded of how important running has become in my life. The feeling of getting out in the fresh air and hitting the tarmac is fantastic. When you are running long distances you sometimes think, why the hell am I doing this? When everything is hurting and you think you can’t go on but you push yourself and then you cross the finish line! The feeling of crossing the finish line is amazing and before you know it you’ve signed up for your next race. I would recommend running to everyone! When I started I wasn’t able to run a full 5k with stopping and now I am running marathons. I even managed to convince my wife to go out and she completed her first ½ marathon in May. The only problem with that is now trying to bargain for whose training and when!!!

For me running has helped my mental health but I also knew when it was time for me to seek extra support when dealing with my grief. I was able to access counselling through the charity, Sands Lothian. I am lucky that I was able to get support in the months and years following Jenna death, however not all families are so lucky. It is a postcode lottery for getting the right psychological support you need and it is often charities that help fill this gap in support. This is why I want to raise awareness, as dads tend to be forgotten when a child dies but they need support too.

Fraser and his Sands Lothian runners
I think everyone can do there bit to support others. There is such a big focus at the moment on men’s mental health and lots of awareness being raised. However, I feel that people think that they are doing lots by sharing mental health awareness on social media and then doing nothing about it. Mental health issues could affect anyone, friends, family and colleagues. I suppose what I am trying to say is that if we start taking notice of the mental health of those around us then that can only be good. Starting with those closest to us, by taking time to talk and to listen (really listen) to what that person is going through. In the 3 years following Jenna’s death, I have been really surprised by the people who have taking time to message, listen and support me. It is often not the people expect to be there to listen but they are. I really thank those people who have taken the time to listen, ask me how I am and remember my daughter. I think that taking the time to dig a little deeper past “I’m doing fine” because like I said in my last post you wear a mask and I suppose that’s the same with anyone that’s going through any sort of mental health issue, you put a face on when you go out and it depends on your audience as to who you really let know how your feeling.

So I hope what people can take from this blog is that running is great for your mind and body, that is really is okay not to be okay and you can do you bit to support other too. As for my running………well I’ve just signed up for an Ultra Marathon in March so I will definitely be need to continue training throughout Christmas(limited mince pies and alcohol for me!!)

Thank you to everyone who read and shared my blog and thank you to everyone who came to support us as the Men’s 10k!!

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One comment

  1. Des Johnstone Reply

    An inspiring Story of grief and how men have to deal with it afer the terrible loss of a child, God bless you Fraser and I wish you and all at Sands Lothian the courage and tenacity to cope with the mental health issues of bereaved parents

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