It has been one year and six days since Richard Pringle said goodbye to his “beautiful little boy”, Hughie.
The three-year-old from Hastings, East Sussex, died suddenly following a brain haemorrhage on August 18 last year, turning his family’s world upside down.
“He had a brain condition but was doing so well,” Richard told Mirror Online.
“There was only a 5% chance of a bleed but unfortunately that 5% chance happened last year and he didn’t survive.”
Pictures of Hughie show a happy little boy laughing with his dad or clutching a bag of sweets – what was once a snapshot of normal life is now a precious memory for Richard to treasure.
“He was soft, gentle, caring and so lovable,” Richard said. “He made the boring things fun. He made everything fun.
“In three short years he left us with a lifetime of the most incredible memories.”
Reflecting on the loss one year on from Hughie’s death, Richard – who has two other children – has written down the most important lessons the tragedy has taught him, in the hope that other parents will never take their children for granted.
These are his words in full. Please share them with a parent you know – and you might want to grab a tissue.
The 10 most important things I’ve learned since losing my son
1. You can never ever kiss and love too much.
2. You always have time. Stop what you’re doing and play, even if it’s just for minute. Nothing’s that important that it can’t wait.
3. Take as many photos and record as many videos as humanly possible. One day that might be all you have.
4. Don’t spend money, spend time. You think what you spend matters? It doesn’t. What you do matters. Jump in puddles, go for walks. Swim in the sea, build a camp and have fun. That’s all they want. I can’t remember what we bought Hughie I can only remember what we did.
5. Sing. Sing songs together. My happiest memories are of Hughie sitting on my shoulders or sitting next to me in the car singing our favourite songs. Memories are created in music.
6. Cherish the simplest of things. Night times, bedtimes, reading stories. Dinners together. Lazy Sundays. Cherish the simplest of times. They are what I miss the most. Don’t let those special times pass you by unnoticed.
7. Always kiss those you love goodbye and if you forget. Go back and kiss them. You never know if it’s the last time you’ll get the chance.
8. Make boring things fun. Shopping trips, car journeys, walking to the shops. Be silly, tell jokes, laugh, smile and enjoy yourselves. They’re only chores if you treat them like that. Life is too short not to have fun.
9. Keep a journal. Write down everything your little ones do that lights up your world. The funny things they say, the cute things they do. We only started doing this after we lost Hughie. We wanted to remember everything. Now we do it for Hettie and we will for Hennie too. You’ll have these memories written down forever and when you’re older you can look back and cherish every moment.
10. If you have your children with you. To kiss goodnight. To have breakfast with. To walk to school. To take to university. To watch get married. You are blessed. Never ever forget that.
Richard posted his heart-wrenching lessons on Facebook , where they have been ‘liked’ more than 2,000 times and shared more than 800 times.