Where to begin? I had my first baby at 18, he was 9lb 8oz and took 44 hours to arrive! He was my angel – such a good baby and so so clever. His first Christmas and at 10 months old he was already walking and chatting away at his favourite programme, ‘Sesame Street’. It seems such a long time ago.
Fast forward nearly 18 years later and I have a young man in my house! Funny, talented, family oriented, loved his computer games and football. Although he was almost 18 I would get texts all the time asking “where are you mom?”, “when you coming home?”, “what are your plans for tomorrow?”, etc.
Studying IT at college and with many plans for his future, we just got on every day as a family and most days there was lots of laughter.
My daughter was 13 and I’d just had my son who was 7 months old. There was an incredible bond between Andrew and Shannon; even with 4 years between them they were always together and lots of laughing and arguing! You could just sense there was something special between them, they were friends as well as teenagers!
Andrew wasn’t sure about the baby at first! “He’s very small isn’t he mom?!” – but over time it changed from wariness to interest – “why’s he doing that mom?”, “will he get teeth soon”, “when will he walk?”
When Andrew would look at Ryan he would always laugh at him and Andrew would say “I think it’s my hair mom”!
Christmas 2011 was a normal Christmas for us – lots of food, presents and family. We have a very close family of my parents and three sisters and their children; and we see each other almost every day.
28th of December is my birthday and, again, family and food is the norm.
31st of December; I get up early to drop my partner off who was going to Scotland and I drive home with a really bad feeling, but I think it’s because he is going on the motorway. I get ready for the day as usual and look through the crack of Andrew’s door as I normally do and I see him asleep so don’t disturb him. I take Shannon and Ryan with me to my parents and we all talk about getting together for New Year, so I go home to get Andrew and supplies for the night.
I call to him and say “why are you still in bed?” but no reply. I go up and he’s still in bed so I shake him and that’s when my world falls apart! He fell asleep and never woke up!
I have to go downstairs and tell my daughter and ring the ambulance, even though I know he’s been gone for hours. How we all got through these first few hours I don’t know, but I know our family pulled together and helped each other.
After waiting 6 months for the inquest we learnt that Andrew had an undiagnosed heart condition that was hereditary, so myself and my children had to undergo tests which have come back clear so far!
The main thing we all miss so much is Andrew’s smile and the laughter that always happened whenever he was around.