Losing the person you love is devastating at any age, and to deal with this at the age of just 15 is particularly traumatic.
16-year-old Blake Ward from Dudley was one of three teenagers from the same family pulled from the sea in Tywyn, Gwynedd, in north-west Wales. They had encountered difficulties while out swimming, and had to be rescued by emergency services.
Blake was airlifted to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, but nothing could be done to save his life.
Just days later, his family were informed he had suffered brain damage and would never recover. And so the heartbreaking decision was made to turn off his life support machine.
The pain of this final goodbye was captured by Blake’s girlfriend, Stephanie Ray who was photographed cuddling her teenage sweetheart in his hospital bed before the life support was switched off.
Sharing the intensely emotional image on Facebook, 15-year-old Stephanie spoke about how she had stayed by Blake’s side throughout the tragic ordeal:
Today has been the hardest day for me and it will be a day I will never be able to forget. As some of you may know Blake was involved in a terrible accident on Tuesday.
I have been by his side through it all and I haven’t left him.
As you all know Blake was a loving a caring person and would do anything for anyone.
We was told yesterday that Blake would never recover and his brain was to damaged and we had to make the hard decision of turning his machine off and let him go.
The bereaved teenager continued to explain just how much her relationship with Blake had meant to her:
Blake was someone special to me and we had something special and we will always have that. Me and Blake had our ups and downs but we always got through them.
But just know Blake wasn’t in any pain and he passed away with his family around him and he will forever be missed and he will always have a special place in my heart and I will never forget you Blake fly high my baby boy and I’m gonna make you proud love you and I always will.
Stephanie’s mother Becky also took to social media to discuss her loss:
Blake, our beautiful, brave, kind-hearted, clever boy sadly passed away at 7.03 this morning,
Even though he hadn’t been part of our family for long his loss has left us beyond devastated and heartbroken.
Sleep tight sweet angel you truly were too good for this world.
We will never forget you.
According to Cambrian News, the condition of the other two teenagers who had been out swimming with Blake has not been reported.
I love you baby boy fly high I’m gonna do you proud ❤️❤️
Posted by Stephanie Ray on Sunday, 5 August 2018
Our thoughts are with the family, friends and loved ones of Blake at this difficult time.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.