Emalynne's Story

09 Jul 2024

In loving memory of Annabelle Catalina So

“Sharing the grief of the loss of our daughter, Annabelle might help others feel less alone.” 

Like most expectant first-time parents, you’re excited to tell the world about the bundle of joy that’s about to arrive and our eldest daughter certainly let me know that even while she was still in my womb. Every time Katrina and the Waves’ ‘Walking on Sunshine’ or Carly Rae Jephson’s ‘Call Me Maybe’ was played, Annabelle would move around as if to tell me, “I’m dancing mum and dad, I’m excited too! I can’t wait for you to dance with me when I’m in your arms!”  

My husband Joe and I could not wait for others to meet her too! We even went travelling with Annabelle to attend a close friend’s wedding in Thailand. That trip was so vivid for me - I was 28 weeks pregnant with Annabelle and I could feel her moving around so much, like she also wanted to be part of the celebrations. 

Sadly, at 31 weeks Annabelle was born sleeping on 10 August 2012. 

The following year, in 2013, we experienced a second loss - this time through an early miscarriage. We lovingly refer to this baby as “BabySo” and I was devastated after losing BabySo just a day after my birthday. 

Being supported by Red Nose

I saw a Bereavement Counsellor from Red Nose for counselling not long after losing Annabelle and my husband also attended a few sessions. I attended support groups following our losses as well as when I was pregnant again with Jema (our youngest child pictured here with Annabelle’s bear).

Attending the counselling sessions gave me a safe space to speak to someone – it helped me validate how I was feeling and what I was feeling was normal. It helped me understand that as a bereaved parent, we grieve because we love. 

Jema also attended some of the sibling groups, when she was younger and prior to the pandemic – we created candles as well as artwork for prayer flags in honour of her sister, Annabelle. 

We also read books together to help us through our grief journey as a family. 

Giving back to Red Nose 

Currently, I am part of the Red Nose Book Club  which I absolutely love. 

As a volunteer with Red Nose, I am honoured writing cards for the Heartstrings program and as a Peer Supporter, I am privileged to hear the stories of other bereaved parents. This not only allows me to give back to Red Nose but, it has helped me through my grief journey. It’s my dedicated time for Annabelle and honouring her memory. 

“Our love for Annabelle never ends and so we continue to speak of her life.” 

Joe and I often think about what Annabelle would have been, especially when we saw her with slender fingers and long legs. Would she have been a pianist? A basketball player? A ballerina? We can only imagine. 

Red Nose Day Eve Remembrance Service 

Last year, I was a guest speaker at the Red Nose Day Eve Remembrance service, and I also attended the services in the past where it has given me and other bereaved parents time and space to remember the children we have lost. 

It also gives me time to honour Annabelle’s life. 

The service helps my family and I unite and connect with others who have sadly lost their little one/s too, making us feel part of a community (and less alone) – it helps provide a voice to people who may not yet be ready to speak. 

It’s a beautiful ceremony with songs, poems and stories that provides a ritual for our shared experience of grief and love. 

I’d like to encourage other parents also going through their grief journey to attend this year’s Red Nose Day Eve service on Thursday August 8. Our children are cherished members of our family that we never forget and we are honoured when you remember them too. 

There are many ways to get involved in this year’s Red Nose Day. You can fundraise in honour of a little lifehost a Red Nose Disco or buy merchandise.

Red Nose Day aims to raise $1 million this year, to help save little lives and support grieving families. To register or donate visit

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