My name is Angela Butler. I live in Newcastle under Lyme with my husband Phil – we had 2 sons, Nathan and Joshua.
We were a very happy family spending lots of time travelling the country supporting Nathan and Josh with all their sporting interests and activities.
Wednesday, 22nd February, 2006 started off as another normal day in the Butler household. Josh went off to school, Phil and I went off to work, leaving Nathan in bed as he had a day off college where he was studying a music technology course.
I went in to check on Nathan before I left the house and he was tucked up in bed sleeping soundly – even though the boys were 16 and 13 I still checked on them when they were sleeping just as I had when they were babies.
By midday it was unusual that I hadn’t heard from Nathan – he was always in regular contact letting me know where he was and what was happening in his busy and exciting life. I tried the house phone many times plus his mobile but there was no reply from either. I thought this was unusual but was not unduly alarmed – I thought perhaps he was out and hadn’t got a signal on his phone?
I came into the house at 3.45pm – and everything was just as I’d left it in the morning. I went upstairs and found Nathan lying on his bedroom floor, where he must have been since the morning as he was only partially dressed. The scenes that followed were horrendous and will stay with us forever – paramedics, doctors and the police but all to no avail and my dearest beautiful eldest son was certified dead!
How could this be? Why had this happened? Questions and questions to which we had no answers.
Nathan was a very fit and active young man – he was a county cricket player, a qualified football referee and a swimming lifeguard. He had played cricket in Barbados whilst playing for the county team – we all went along to support him and sadly this was our last family holiday together but one filled with lots of happy memories which we will treasure forever.
Nathan had three part time jobs, spent his weekends as a DJ doing mobile discos at all sorts of events and had already bought himself a car even though he wasn’t yet 17. He lived his life in the fast lane, never wasting time to wonder why or how – in Nathan’s world anything was possible – and he was loved by all who had the pleasure to be part of this vivacious world – he was the life and soul of any event and his friends said that when Nathan entered a room it was a case of “Nathan Butler has entered the building – let the fun begin”!
But along with all his fun and frolics was a caring sharing nature of the young man who loved to spend time with his family – nanas, granddads, aunties, uncles and cousins – and would do anything to see everybody else happy and enjoying themselves.
Nathan had a large circle of friends who have all done him proud by taking over his mantle of “big brother” to Josh – Josh is now a treasured part of the friendship group where Nathan left a gap.
Nathan’s friends continue to be part of our extended family, which is something that helps ease our pain. Seeing them grow and develop into adults has been a great comfort to Phil and I as they were all very important to Nathan.
The day after Nathan’s death, the coroner telephoned me to say that the post mortem showed that Nathan had died of a heart defect. I went onto the internet to investigate and came across the CRY website and read many stories on the “my story” page of tragic young deaths just like Nathan’s.
The support and information provided by CRY, along with the constant love and support of our family and friends, has been invaluable in helping us to deal with our grief and rebuild our lives without Nathan.
This has been a very hard and difficult journey, one which is ongoing and we will always be grateful to CRY for helping us to try and make sense of this dreadful tragic situation.
I am actively involved with fundraising and this year (2010) organised two screening weekends. During these weekends 25 people were found to have a problem and have been referred on for further investigation.
Nathan had an enlarged heart muscle and screening would have picked up this defect and could possibly have saved him. However this was not to be for us, but we will continue to fundraise to raise awareness and to prevent further young people from having their lives tragically cut short and to prevent other families from suffering as we are and always will do.