The 15th January 2021 was the day my life changed forever. My wonderful partner of 11 years (and more recently my fiancé) died suddenly, far too young at just 31 years of age and with no warning. Andy and I had woken up together as normal on that Friday morning and began to get ready for work. I took our 2-year-old son downstairs for breakfast and prepared our things for work and nursery whilst Andy had a shower. As time went on I began to wonder why Andy was taking so long in the bathroom but I still didn’t really think much of it, I remember standing at the bottom of the stairs and shouting up to him ‘come on or we’ll be late’. Again another 5 minutes went by and by this point, I was starting to feel a lump in my throat as he was still not responding to my calls. To my horror when I got upstairs the bathroom door was still locked but yet there was no sound coming from inside, not even the noise of the water running. I tried to break down the door but after a few unsuccessful attempts I frantically called my dad for help (luckily he lives just around the corner)
My dad arrived and managed to get into the bathroom and we immediately found Andy collapsed in the bath. My dad carried out CPR on Andy with the help of the emergency call handler on the other end of the phone and I remember just screaming that this could not be happening, I thought maybe he had slipped and banged his head. The paramedics came, after what felt like the longest few minutes of my life, but tragically despite their efforts and all the hard work of the hospital team, Andy could not be saved. I still replay the consultant words in my head ‘I’m sorry to tell you Danielle that Andrew passed away this morning’. How could that be true, Andy was fit, young, healthy and no medical problems, he had barely even had a day off sick in his life. The initial CT scans and post mortem did not show any causes of death and so Andy’s heart along with some other tissue samples was sent to Dr Mary Sheppard at St George’s Hospital in London. After a few weeks, the pathologist report had concluded that Andy had died from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) I had never heard of this condition before and it still shocks me that a healthy person’s heart can just stop beating with no warning signs.
The wonderful charity CRY provided me and Andy’s family with a huge amount of information and support and I am not sure what we would have done without them. They pointed us in the right direction whenever we needed some advice and they will be able to offer us long term support in all the years to come. We will put all of our energy into fundraising events for them and continue to spread awareness in the hope that other lives can be saved.
Andy and I were due to be married in August 2020 but due to the COVID pandemic, our day was cancelled and moved to August 2021. It pains me that we never got to have our wedding day but one thing I am so grateful for is that we got to experience the birth of our son and navigate our way through parenthood together. Arlo was only 23 months old when his dad passed but I hope I can continue his dad’s memory and legacy as he was an exemplary father to Arlo and they both adored each other so very much. I am scared that I will not be enough for Arlo on my own because Andy could have taught him so much more than I ever could. He was intelligent, articulate, loyal, hardworking and a loving family man and friend to many. My heart broke twice that day, once for me and once for Arlo. It’s just not fair that he won’t have his Daddy growing up. Thankfully we are surrounded by the most wonderful friends and family and although it will never be the same, I know he will never go without love and support. Andy would be truly proud of each and every one of them.
Andy and I met when we were both just still teenagers and we had spent our entire adult lives together. I do not know myself as an adult without him and now I feel robbed of a chance of a happy life. Like all of us in this situation, if I could do anything to still have him here with me I would. We had so many hopes and dreams to share together. We were meant to grow old together, extend our family and make a million more memories together with our children and grandchildren. Sadly for us, this is no longer the case but the love that we shared will always live with me and has made me who I am today. I will always be thankful to Andy for making my dreams come true in the time we had together. I don’t know why it had to be him, as he had more to offer this world than most people I know and now nothing will ever be the same. Although I have lost my own little world, the real world continues to go round, I have no choice but to push on for the sake of our little boy. I feel I have already found an inner strength I didn’t know was there and I hope Andy will be proud of us both.