Written by Joshua, Winston’s Wish content creator
My name is Joshua and I’m 16 years old, my great grandmother passed away in 2020, when I was 13 years old. She was dedicated to volunteering and was the centre of the community activities in her village, she was kind, honest and very caring towards her grandchildren. From the age of 2, she would collect me from nursery and look after me until my mother returned home from work, right up to the day I went to school. I have lots of precious memories of her and enjoy thinking about them.
Several months after losing my great grandmother, my mother contacted Winston’s Wish as both my brother and I were struggling to process what had happened. After demonstrating baby steps, I decided to apply my positive mindset into supporting the local village response team by delivering food parcels, inspired by my great grandmother’s volunteering.
My great grandmother watched me when I was learning to ride my horse, a 15.2 Ha Skewbald mare, which was very challenging at times. She was always so proud of me, and I’m still determined to achieve my goals and make a difference in my local community because of her. Today, I’m a National Champion in show jumping and have won many other major championships.
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My biggest achievement to date is I recently became the Lord-Lieutenants Person of the Year 2023 along with winning the Courage award and being recognised for my volunteering. I have also been recognised by Martin Clunes in the form of a video, and His Majesty the King in writing. It was my late great grandmother that taught us all to believe in ourselves, and I will often say to people that even in grief, you can achieve whatever you turn your mind to as I am living proof of that.
In the start of my grief, I would often be very quiet and reflect on the good times I had with both my grandparents before they passed. I would like to say to other young grieving people, there is no right or wrong way to grieve, it’s ok to be angry, laugh and even cry. For me, I like to recognise white butterflies flying around me and seeing white feathers, I believe this is a supporting sign of my great grandmother being with me and wanting me to succeed.
How to get help
If you’re struggling with grief right now, Winston’s Wish is here to help and here to listen. Winston’s Wish provides support for grieving children and young people (up to the age of 25). We offer one-to-one and group support sessions. We also have lots of online resources and a Helpline, email and live chat service where you can talk to bereavement professionals.
If you need urgent support in a crisis, you can contact the 24/7 Winston’s Wish Crisis Messenger by texting WW to 85258.