Excerpt for Born An Angel by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Copyright © 2018 D L Phillips

D L Phillips has asserted her right under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

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A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not by way of trade or otherwise be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover, other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition, including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.




1 How we met – Sweet Sixteen

2 The pregnancy – me and bump

3 Beginning of the end

4 Home alone

5 Funeral

6 Picking up the pieces

7 A new start

8 My family

9 Author’s note


When I started writing this book I knew that there would be some people who wouldn’t – or couldn’t – bring themselves to read it, but also those who, mostly through their own experience either directly or indirectly with this tragedy, would read past the introduction. After nearly three decades and my own personal experiences, I understand the acceptance, understanding and appreciation some will find from my story, and maybe even some solace in knowing they aren’t alone in their pain and suffering. But then, too, there are others to whom the subject of stillbirth and the loss of a child re-mains taboo, too awkward to talk about, too painful, too emotional or depressing to think that this happens to real people in real life today as it did many years ago. My story starts in 1986 when I was just 16 years old. It starts here so as to give an insight into where it all began. Today, more than three decades on, I still live with the memories and the pain, silently now. It left a scar that I don’t keep on show, mostly because I don’t need to – I know it’s always there – but over the years I’ve been asked, and it has been suggested, that I don’t carry any kind of scar. For this I feel guilt and a sense of shame that I know I shouldn’t; I have put the feeling of others, even strangers, before my own so as not to show them my scar in case it makes them uncomfortable or left feeling awkward. For this reason I want to tell my story openly; no one is forcing you to read this book, but one day I hope it will help others to come to see that, while it should never be the case that a parent survives their child, there are mothers, fathers and families who, despite the anguish and heartache, live through and survive the tragedy of losing a child.


How we met – Sweet Sixteen

Autumn 1986, my final year at school. Lots of life choices to make: college, YTS (youth training scheme, in essence working for a pittance – it is no longer around, I wonder why?) or work? I knew I would opt for work. I wanted to earn money and be independent, travel, learn to drive – no one in my family could – get a car and have nice things. It was the era of punk and the New Romantics and I was part of the latter; bright clothes, big earrings, big shoulder pads and even bigger hairstyles, often back combed as wide as the shoulders. Everything about the ‘80s was big and bold.

School hadn’t been too harrowing – although I was never one of the really popular girls attracting the attention of all the good looking boys, I was still invited to parties. I was in one of the higher classes – one of the smarter ones they said – although I believed I was only there because I had appeared in a TV documentary and played the main role of the author of a book about growing up in Birmingham in the 1900s. I was also an extra in a few other TV series, and the photographs Central TV had issued to the school were still on prime view in the foyer of my secondary school for everyone to see, despite the fact it had been aired a couple of years previously. I got ridiculed by some of the students, but it brought me my moment of fame and I knew it would be one for the grandkids someday, if I was lucky enough to have my own family.

I was one of five children growing up on a council estate, second eldest but the eldest daughter, the one that ‘should always know better’ according to my parents, although my mom knew I was somewhat of a risk taker and always said ‘if anyone will do it our Debbie will’. Boy did I live up to that in the forthcoming years, partaking in charity parachute jumps for one thing.

My parents raised us well, we never got into trouble with the authorities and always did well in school, we had earned the nickname locally of ‘The Waltons’, due to the TV series and the fact we were always seen together. During June of 1986 my younger sister had been involved in a road traffic accident and almost lost her life. My mom had always been extremely superstitious, and the day before had been Friday 13th. Mom would always worry beyond belief and pretty much kept us under house arrest for a full day on any Friday 13th, but it was the following day whilst mom was at work that the accident happened. My sister had wanted to go shopping on the bus with her elder friend who lived around the corner; my dad knew mom wouldn’t have allowed her to but he agreed to let her go – their secret. She had seen the bus coming and ran down the opposite side of the green hill in front of our house to catch the bus with her friend. It was a busy road to cross at the best of times; being a Saturday it was devoid of rush hour traffic but still busy. She had picked up speed going downhill and thought she could make it across the busy road; pedestrian traffic lights and railings had been installed but not at that time commissioned, her judgement was wrong and she collided with a car travelling too fast. It catapulted her into the newly installed railings and over them; she left one almighty dent in those railings, I recall, and they were later replaced again. It was a harrowing time for us all and my mom held us together well. My sister lost half her body blood and had to undergo a transfusion, her nose was pretty much non-existent and she had to have it rebuilt, she suffered a fractured skull, broken arm and crushed leg for which she had to undergo operations, and by the autumn of ‘86 she was home, lucky to be alive but in a wheelchair and receiving home tutoring.

It was early autumn and still relatively mild weather; I had gone around to one of my girlfriends’ houses, and teenage girls being teenage girls we talked about the only thing there was at that age – boys. She had once dated a lad that was an identical twin and knew where he hung out. She was still quite struck by him and we decided to walk up to the park near the estate he would normally be seen around, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. I was a big Madonna fan and I recall ‘True Blue’ being in the charts around that time. I knew every word, not just to that Madonna song, but to every one of them; I had bought every vinyl record I could – 7” and 12” if it was available – as this meant I got to listen to the extended version of a Madonna song.

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