Continuing Bonds with Aarvi

“The portrait has brought back many memories of our beautiful Aarvi and our good times together.” Ankur, Aarvi’s dad

Portraits with Purpose: Continuing Bonds is a collaboration between St Oswald’s Hospice and Local Artist, Leanne Pearce. Working with 12 bereaved and pre-bereaved families who have accessed our bereavement support service and/or other care services, Leanne has created stunning paintings of their loved ones to support them in their ‘continuing bonds’ process. Here is the story of one of the families who took part in this unique and beautiful project.

Aarvi was born in Gateshead’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital on 9th April, 2017, to parents, Ankur and Neha, who are originally from India. They instantly fell in love with their baby girl but soon afterwards, the doctors noticed some worrying symptoms and sent the newborn for tests. The results showed Aarvi had a severe genetic condition. She was not expected to survive for more than a few days, leaving the first-time parents devastated. But against the odds, Aarvi’s parents eventually brought their baby home. Despite her complex needs, Aarvi had a “very good life”.

“The name ‘Aarvi’ means beautiful, and she indeed was a beautiful child loved by everyone around her.”

Ankur, Aarvi’s dad.

At Christmas 2018, Aarvi developed a chest infection and was rushed to hospital. Her parents were shocked to be told their beautiful baby girl was not going to survive. In March 2019, Aarvi was transferred to St Oswald’s Hospice’s Children and Young Adults Service for end-of-life care. She died a day later, aged 1 year, 11 months. As Hindus, Ankur and Neha believe in reincarnation but still celebrate Aarvi’s life. And although they never met, their second child, Aanya, now 4, “knows all about her Aarvi ‘Didi’ – meaning ‘elder sister’”. The family wanted to participate in Portraits with Purpose: Continuing Bonds to help other parents of children with life-limiting conditions.

Seeing Aarvi’s portrait – the background of which Aanya helped to paint – was emotional for her parents.

Ankur said: “It was a beautiful image and it reminded us of the day by the lake where the photo was taken. It brought back many memories of our good times together.”

Our care: Children and Young Adults Service

Visit our Portraits with Purpose: Continuing Bonds exhibition

Opening during Dying Matters Awareness Week, Portraits with Purpose: Continuing Bonds exhibition will be on display at Newcastle Civic Centre 10th – 17th May, 2024 (exc Sunday) on the following days and times:

• 9.30am – 4.30pm weekdays

• 10am – 3pm Saturday

There will also be a special Meet the Artist event 11am – 2pm on Saturday 11th May.

Find out more about the project and read other families’ stories below.

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