Lokie & Zendy
Mum-of-two Rosa Robinson from Hereford was six months pregnant when she lost her husband, Staff Sergeant Carl Robinson in January 2015. 33-year-old Carl, who was a Special Forces communicator for the Army, passed away after a hard fought battle with cancer.
31-year-old Rosa describes how despite been advised by doctors in January 2014 that Carl only had a year left to live, the couple decided to live like they’d be together forever and try for another child.
The part-time Open University student explains how she worries about her daughters, Lokie (4) and Zendy (1) and that she doesn’t want life to be less fun for them because they’ve lost their daddy, and how charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers is helping them all smile again.
Rosa met Carl in 2007 and they were married two years later in 2009. Describing Carl, Rosa said: “Carl was always happy; every morning he woke up really happy. He was very active and loved mountain biking and running. We both loved being outdoors and bought an Alsatian, Benji, who we took camping around Wales, where we went running and walking together. He was very energetic and determined and he always had a project he was working towards. He was very kind and family-orientated.”
In 2011 the couple moved to Germany after Carl was posted there. “When we moved to Germany we started trying for a baby,” explains Rosa, “In August 2011 I found out I was pregnant with Lokie. Carl was then posted on tour on 1 May and Lokie was born on 9 May 2012. It was around this time that Carl started feeling tired and suffering with symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – a sore tummy and he was feeling bloated.”
Rosa said: “Carl returned from tour when Lokie was four months old. He was really fit but his running wasn’t going well so he went back to the doctor who diagnosed IBS again. Carl came back from tour in November 2012 and we’d always dreamed of buying a campervan and so we bought a VW van. Carl was still feeling tired and would take naps in the day which he’d never done before. We had a lovely time celebrating Christmas in the campervan in France.
“After Christmas, Carl went in to hospital to have a varicose vein removed. The doctor said you’ve got no blood and explained that they’d undertake an endoscopy. The endoscopy revealed there was a blockage. The doctor explained that Carl needed surgery to remove the blockage and it would take one and a half hours. Five and a half hours after surgery commenced, Carl came out. The doctor explained that they’d discovered that Carl’s body was full of cancer and they had spent the additional time removing it.
“Following surgery, Carl spent three months in intensive care. It was horrible and made even more difficult as we couldn’t speak German. Carl was in a lot of pain as his veins were so thin the morphine wasn’t going though properly.”
On January 10 2014, Carl went back to the doctor for a check-up. Rosa continues: “The doctor explained that the cancer they had removed had come back and that he had a year left to live. Carl was so brave. He only cried on the day he found out. He was upset that he would miss Lokie’s birthday, seeing her grow up and go to school.
“In November we decided that we wanted another baby as we wanted Lokie to have a brother or sister, someone who would always be there for her. And Carl really wanted two children and it gave him, us, something to look forward to. He never thought he’d die. He was very positive and despite his terminal prognosis, we decided to live like we’d be together forever.
“When I fell pregnant Carl was really happy. When I had my second scan, Carl was admitted to hospital again. So whilst I was downstairs being scanned, he was upstairs being treated for cancer. After my scan I took the photo of the baby straight up to him. He was so happy when we found out we were having another little girl. We picked Zendy’s name together.
“I was six months pregnant when Carl died on 18 January 2015. The night Carl died I laid on the bed with him with his hand on my stomach and Zendy moving inside me, whilst I listened to his heart beat.”
In June 2015, Rosa signed Lokie and Zendy up to Scotty’s Little Soldiers. Scotty’s Little Soldiers was set-up in 2010 by Army widow, Nikki Scott in memory of her husband Corporal Lee Scott to support bereaved British Forces children. Nikki and Lee had two children and she saw first-hand the effect the loss of a loved one in these circumstances can have on a child.
Rosa said: “I do worry about the girls. I don’t want them to miss out on life, for it to be less fun because they’ve lost their daddy. It’s hard when you see other families. So, it’s lovely when we go away on the holidays Scotty’s provides. We can be a family, we can make new memories and have a really lovely time. It makes us realise that things can carry on and the girls know that they are loved.
“Scotty’s provide so many lovely things. I think as the girls get older they will benefit even more. The allowance Scotty’s provided for Lokie, we spent on ballet lessons and since she’s been going she has grown much more confident, which is lovely.
“The holidays they provide are lovely. And having a stranger organise something so lovely for you; it’s just nice to know that someone cares about the girls. Zendy loves swimming and Lokie, biking, and our trip to Center Parcs was perfect for both of them. Having the holidays and parties keeps you going; they give you something to look forward to. They keep you moving forward. A lady once said to me, life won’t get better but it will be different and be a different kind of better, creating new kind of memories.
“My friends are wonderful, sweet and kind but they don’t understand what it’s like to worry about your kids after losing their father, to parent by yourself. They don’t understand what it’s like to be in the military, it’s a different way of being and it can be lonely.
“When you lose your partner, the father of your children, you worry that you’ll die and your children won’t have either parent. Scotty’s has not only been a huge support to the girls, it has also enabled me to meet people who have the same worries and understand what I’m going through. It’s lovely to see the other mums and children happy. It makes you realise that you’re not alone, that horrible stuff has happened to other families but that they can smile again and you can too.”
Scotty’s Little Soldiers provides support to children and young people who have lost a parent serving in the British Armed Forces. The charity works with families from all our Armed Forces including both Regular and Reserve forces.
To read more about how the charity helps bereaved children click here.
If you would like to make a donation or sign up to make a small regular giving donation each month you can do so here.