Single Mother Anne-Marie Cockburn lost her daughter, 15-year-old Martha Fernback, in 2013 to an accidental ecstasy overdose. Within hours she began to write down her feelings as a way to channel her shock and try to make sense of the tragic loss of her only child.
Her book, 5,742 Days (the number of days Martha lived), was launched by Jenni Murray on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and is a real-time account of the first 102 days without her girl, poignantly finishing on what would have been Martha’s 16th birthday.
After the sentencing of the 17-year-old drug dealer, Anne-Marie publicly forgave him. They have been working through restorative justice and regularly write to one another, which Anne-Marie believes has aided her healing.
Describing herself as a peaceful protester, Anne-Marie regularly visits schools and prisons to tell her story, as well as campaigning to get the subject of drugs out from the shadows and keep this important conversation going.
In her own words: “As I write this, I have been without my girl for 845 days. It sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But in the aftermath, time becomes distorted – bereavement doesn’t wear a watch. So to represent my beloved Martha, it is my quest to align myself with those who can help progress this conversation in order to save other families from a similar loss to mine.”
Whether you support drug policy reform or not, you will be mesmerised and moved by Anne-Marie’s frank and conversational story.