She carries her son's ashes with her even when she goes out for dinners because she wants him to be "by my side 24/7."
Alison Cope is not just any grieving mother, she is a mum who carries the ashes of her dead son everywhere she goes, be it holidays or dinners. The 46-year-old who is from Birmingham lost her son, Joshua Ribera, 18, to a gruesome knife attack at a nightclub, back in 2013. He was stabbed to death by Armani Mitchell who is serving his sentence right now.
Saying that she would be "forever heartbroken," the mother revealed that ever since his death, she keeps his ashes to remember her son every day and keep his memory alive, reported The Mirror. She said, "I go out for dinner with Josh," and continued, "On the anniversary of his death, I want him by my side 24/7." She added that his ashes are always in her handbag, even when she goes to places for a long time.
Explaining the reason, she said, "The pain of losing a child doesn't get easier, you just learn methods to cope, you will forever live with a broken heart." She added that she misses Joshua "every moment of every day," and continued, "I miss his warmth, his smile, his embraces... everything. The pain of knowing I will never hug him, feel his skin, or hear his voice ever again is very difficult."
Alison revealed that over the years, Joshua's room is now filled with letters, candles, and pictures "given out of love" from his fans. He was a budding rapper who had made quite an influence on his crowd. These items also include things for Alison that portray "respect" for the mum who's been working endlessly to create awareness about knife crimes.
It’s 10pm and on tonight’s #LateNightClive we’re talking with anti knife crime campaigner, @Ali_Cope, the mother of Joshua Ribera who was murdered in 2013.— Black Country Radio (@WeAreBCR) May 3, 2019
📻 102.5FM / DAB
Her work is a way to share Joshua's "inspirational life story and the devastation of his death" so that she can keep the memory of her murdered son alive. "Joshua was my world and he still is, every day he gives me the strength to wake up, inspire change, and give hope to young people," she said. She added, "I live with a broken heart and miss him every moment of every day but I will do everything I can to keep his memory alive and save as many people as I can from knife crime."
The Guardian reported that the mum had no "time to grieve" the death of her son as kids who loved Joshua's music came to offer their condolences outside her house. She said, "The night he was killed, the street outside my house was packed with kids who were all devastated. Their hero had been killed. They needed me to hug them and guide them, just as I had hugged and guided him."
Since the young artist's death, Alison has been conducting talks for thousands of children and parents about knife crimes and how they impact everyone's lives, as per Birmingham Mail's report from 2016. She also carries the urn with her along with her to these talks.
Even now during the lockdown, she's been actively working for the cause. Explaining why she carries the urn to her talks, she said, "I do not use graphic images but I will take my son's ashes into these settings and if I feel they really need a shock I will put my son's urn in front of them and ask 'is this how you want to end up?'"
The mum wants to make the younger generation understand that they need not carry weapons to "protect themselves." Instead, they can choose "reporting concerns, walking away from arguments, speaking to their parents, school, or the police," options that are safer. She said, "Many children aged nine to 11 believe as many as 80% of teenagers carry weapons and they walk around feeling scared and feeling their only option is to 'protect themselves.'"
Alison also set up The Joshua Ribera Foundation in 2019 in memory of her son. She organizes the annual Joshua Ribera Achievement Awards, to recognize and celebrate the young talents of the society who otherwise have been "forgotten." The next award ceremony will be held on 12 June in 2021.
Very proud to be at the Joshua Ribera Awards this evening, celebrating 21 young people from educational provisions and their achievements! pic.twitter.com/btxo0JkqYd— Sport 4 Life UK (@Sport4LifeUK) February 2, 2018
The Mirror reported that the mum who still grieves the death of her son has a message for the youth. She said, "You are carrying a knife because you are scared of something or you feel you need it because you have got involved with someone who is a threat. We can help you."
She continued, "You must get help to address these issues because that knife can take you from your family, that knife can break your heart, that knife will break the hearts of those you love."
She further added, "That knife can kill, think of how you would feel if someone killed your friend, your brother, someone you loved? Would there ever be a justified reason for them to be stabbed? The answer is no."