Three boys recorded a heartbreaking Christmas message for their dad – unaware he had died
For people who have lost a loved one, it's always the things which were left unsaid that make grief all the more painful. Even worse is someone who imagined that they would be able to relay one last message of trust and care, only for the moment to be cruelly snatched away by circumstances beyond control. That was the tragic situation which Kalli Jefford's young sons (Harrison, Ashton, and Jakson) faced, after they recorded a festive video message for their terminally ill father John, without realising that he had already died in hospital over Christmas eve.
John and Kalli first met back in 2008, and immediately fell in love. However, Halward has already been diagnosed with type-1 diabetes, which meant that his body wasn't making enough insulin. For a while, he managed to survive through daily injections which kept his blood's glucose levels under control. However, his diet was poor, and he still snacked on high-sugar foods which damaged his health. As a result, he experienced a kidney failure in November 2015, and was put on dialysis.
He was put on the transplant list, but his condition rapidly deteriorated, and by 2017 he required full-time hospital care. In June he was diagnosed with vascular dementia, a condition linked to his diabetes caused by damage to the blood vessels which deliver nutrients to the brain.
He was given only months to live, and passed away over the holidays. Kalli had filmed a touching Christmas Day thank you message from her boys to John, even though she already knew he had died the previous day. She did not want to break the devastating news and ruin their Christmas.
Commenting on her tragic story, Kalli stated: "Not telling them immediately was torture. I waited as I didn’t want them to remember Christmas just for something so devastating. I sat down with them on the living room floor and told them there was something I had to say about Daddy and they started crying, as if they already knew."
She added: "I was meant to be picking him up on Christmas Eve and had decked the house out to feel like a winter wonderland, as well as buying gifts for John to give to the kids. I wanted it to feel like a proper family celebration, with all of us together and the kids were ecstatic at the thought of having him home."
"When I got to the ward, the doctors said John had died,” she recalled, tearfully. They’d had to put him in a coma, after finding a bleed on his brain, but said he didn’t have any brain cell function and had died I was devastated. The kids were at home, eagerly awaiting their daddy for Christmas, and there he was, lying dead in his hospital bed."
However, the pain on John's loss was mitigated by the fact that, as an organ donor, his liver had been used by surgeons after his death to save someone's life. The boys were able to process their father's death knowing that he had saved someone else's life. Kalli now wants more people to sign up to donate organs and is backing parliamentary plans for a new opt-out system, which could be in place in England by 2020.
If you'd like to register as an organ donor, and make an extraordinary difference to someone's life, then you can visit the following link to sign up.