Except…when something like this happens.
Emma Cox is one of my dearest friends. She’s godmother to my Sonny Jim.
And when she went to visit her baby boy Alfie’s grave at the weekend, only to discover it had been dug up and another baby buried there, my job (nowadays done from home and squeezed in around Sonny Jim) suddenly did all the things I hoped it would when, age 17, I decided being a journalist would be pretty cool.
It meant I could get (some) answers, when no one was getting back to her and her husband. It meant I could help her to make sure no one else would ever find themselves in the same god awful situation. It meant her voice was louder and reaching more people than it otherwise would.
And that’s why local papers are so important. It’s easy to criticise them nowadays, understaffed as they are. To moan about spelling mistakes getting in the paper (when the entire department dedicated to that side of things is made redundant, it’ll happen.) To question who actually buys a paper any more, to claim websites and blogs have taken their place.
But actually, this is where local journalists fulfil a function no one else does.
And here’s the link to it on the Echo website: echo.news.co.uk
Her story has been read tens of thousands of times already. And because of this, the hospital and council are already changing how they operate, to stop a repeat of this oh-so sad situation.
Emma still doesn’t know what will happen next with Alfie’s grave. Can she pay to move him to a private grave? What is the etiquette of decorating a grave with two babies in it? Is she able to contact the family of Baby Nash, who is now sharing his resting place with Alfie?
Their plight has already attracted interest from national newspapers. And it’s easy to see why – no mother should visit her baby’s grave to find it dug up.
Hopefully soon all Emma’s questions will be answered. And hopefully soon, baby Alfie – and his family – will be at peace again.