Opinion & Debate

Published on January 27th, 2014 | by Kelly Rose Bradford


Single mum who lost her only child turned away by lone parenting org

Single mum Anne-Marie Cockburn lost her 16-year-old daughter Martha in July last year.  The teenager died after swallowing half a gram of ectasy.

Since her death, her broken-hearted mum has chronicled her life without her only child, writing in real-time her thoughts, feeling and emotions.

Publishing extract from her book,  5,742 Days: A Mother’s Journey Through Loss,  the Scottish Daily Record reports that as she struggled to cope with the loss of her daughter, Anne-Marie was turned away from a single parenting organisation as she ‘wasn’t a parent any more’.

“If you say you’re a widow or an orphan, you get instant understanding. I need nine words to describe what I am – I’m a single mother whose only child is dead,” the bereaved mum wrote. 

“There wasn’t a word for me so I found my own – smothered. It means single mother and expired daughter. It’s not even near to where it needs to be but it’s good enough.”

Anne-Marie is currently writing a second volume about her loss and her ongoing recovery, and says she thinks Martha would be proud of how she has coped.

“Martha lived more in 15 years than most people do in a lifetime. I took her round the world, showed her all sorts of cultures and experiences. She led a full life. It was colourful, it was extraordinary. God, she was loved,” she told the Daily Record. “I had 16 incredible years with her when some people can’t have children. So I still appreciate what I have left. Sometimes you have to look at what you’ve got rather than what you’ve lost.”




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About the Author

Kelly Rose Bradford

is a London-based journalist and broadcaster, writing for the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Sunday Telegraph, and a host of women's magazines. Her robust opinions and feisty debating skills make her in demand as a social commentator, regularly guesting on ITV's This Morning programme, and across many radio stations, including 5 Live and BBC Radio London.

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