The Australian Women's Weekly

The brightest star

Jack’s quilt

Brooke, Matilda, Cooper, Billy, Jared and Jack’s bear are seated on a picnic blanket that has been sewn together with love from the quilts that kept Jack warm in hospital. One was signed by the doctors and nurses who cared for him. The quilt has a special place in the family home and comes along on holidays and picnics.

Early morning light filtered through the bedroom window. It was a day or two before Easter 2012. Brooke Hanson opened her eyes and looked blearily around the room. Her heart ached. Three days earlier, she and her husband had lost their baby boy, Jack, after a nine-month fight for his life in neonatal intensive care.

“You wake up and you hope it’s all been a nightmare,” she remembers now. “And then you realise it hasn’t been.”

She turned to her husband, Jared Clarke, who was suffering too. “Jared had lost his mum to cancer when he was a teenager,” she explains, “so he’d battled through losing someone before, and I remember waking up and saying to him: ‘When does it ever feel better? When do you feel like you can cope with life? When does the heaviness in your heart go? My heart is so heavy, I feel as if someone is standing on top of me as I’m lying next to you in bed. When do you stop longing for one more cuddle?’

“We truly love each other and we’re best friends as well.”

“And Jared said to me: ‘Brooke, the

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