Marie Curie

“I’ll spend the Day of Reflection with Mum, remembering Dad”

“I’ll spend the Day of Reflection with Mum, remembering Dad”

Simeon Jackman-Smith is 23 and lives in London. In April 2022, his dad, David, was given six weeks to live, but died two weeks later. Simeon and his mum Harriet will remember David on the Day of Reflection.

“Dad was like a walking encyclopaedia. When I was a kid, he always had the answers.

“I do a lot of acting and right before he died my dad taught me all about invoicing. He was such a selfless person. Even though he was so ill and there were nurses in the room, he still got out his laptop and he showed me how to do it.

“The support that me and my mum have had since he died has been amazing. I want to spend the Day of Reflection with my mum, remembering my dad.”

Like losing a limb

“When I lost Dad, first it was shock, then it was sadness. Then I was just angry. I think that’s why I called up Marie Curie’s bereavement service to help me understand stuff a bit better.

“It’s hard to describe how the grief has been. It feels like a limb has been removed. You can try to get a prosthetic, but you can’t get the real thing back.

“Talking to Ben, the Marie Curie bereavement support volunteer I was paired with, did help. I do feel a bit better. I really just wanted more time with my dad. It’s hard to move on but I know one day, because of the steps I've been taking, I won’t be a servant to my grief.”

A shared diagnosis

“Mum’s a strong woman, she's been through quite a lot. She lost her mum five years ago and had breast cancer herself, but now she's free from it.”

Simeon’s mum Harriet will also be reflecting on Sunday 3 March: “David and I were married for nearly 25 years. I never thought it was going to be him going; I thought it would be me. I’ve been diagnosed with cancer twice. David was fit and healthy, and a very good father. He found out at 40 that he had autism after Simeon was diagnosed.”

“My dad was very good to me,” says Simeon. “Mum’s loud and dad was the quiet one. I talked to him about all my problems because we were both autistic, so he was good at telling me how to deal with things.”

Fun and laughter

“I’m more like a firecracker and he was more like a candle,” says Harriet. “That’s what I’m going to remember, and the laughter.

“Simeon and I like to spend time together to reflect over food. No phones allowed! We’re OK talking about David. My first priority is my son and if I’m always upset, he’s just not going to talk to me. We talk a lot about his father.

“We talk about the funny things we got up to. We don’t have any guilt or any regrets, we just didn’t have enough time together.

"We have lots of days of reflection. We go out together on David’s birthday, his anniversary, our wedding anniversary.”

Being there

“I want to tell people my story,” says Simeon. “I know some people who’ve lost people. I want to [put] my hand out and just say, ‘Hey, listen. You’re not alone, man. I’m right here.’”

If you, or someone close to you, has been bereaved, Marie Curie is here to help. Call us on 0800 090 2309 and ask for information about bereavement support.

All rights reserved. Contact for more information.

Simeon and Harriet Jackman-Smith
Simeon and Harriet Jackman-Smith
1 February 2024

Share this story on

Need to talk about end of life or bereavement? Call Marie Curie’s Support Line today

Marie Curie