A Scots mum who lost her teenage son has started her own funeral care business in an effort to give added comfort to anyone grieving the loss of a child.
Samantha Merrilees, 41, had her world shattered when her son Scott Martin took his own life on New Years' Day this year. He was just 16-years-old.
But the distraught mum-of-three has tried to channel her heartbreak in making sure Scott's death was not in vain and set up The Scott Martin Foundation in a bid to help children and young people struggling with mental health problems.
Now the determined mum has started her own funeral care business with husband Andrew, called Merrilees Family Funeral Directors, which she hopes will give parents an added comfort knowing they are being looked after by someone who has lived through the same shared grief.
She said: "I am doing this so I can be there for families who find themselves in the situation where they have suffered this kind of loss.
"Obviously they are speaking to me as a funeral director, but I am also a woman, a mother and a grandmother and I can sympathise because I have suffered such a huge loss myself.
"There are no female-owned funeral directors in the area so my hope is people will see me as a welcomed, different option. Obviously I will be there for anyone who has suffered any kind of loss, not just parents, but I hope that my experience will make people know I can relate to them and have been through the same thing."
Apprentice joiner Scott was tragically found dead in Camelon Cemetery in Falkirk on the morning of January 1 2021.
The talented amateur boxer had been at a friend's house to celebrate Hogmanay and following the party, was supposed to be heading straight home.
Tragically, the teen never arrived and was found the following morning in the graveyard by a couple who were walking their dog.
Samantha said: "His friends left him at one end of the cemetery and it was a 15 minute walk home, but he never made it. Somewhere on that walk home he made the decision to take his own life."
This week the grieving family had some much-needed good news when Sam's eldest son Brian, 25, welcomed a baby daughter named Tilly Scott Redding.
Sam says while she is trying to pick up their pieces of her life without her boy, even fleeting moments of joy like this are bittersweet without Scott.
She said: "She is a light in the darkness, but even these happy moments remind you of what you've lost and how much they are missing."
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