Jackie & Alan Cousins – South Yorkshire


I live in Swinton, near Rotherham, and am now retired and hoping to help CRY as their representative for the South Yorkshire area.

In September 2009 we lost our only son, Bruce, suddenly to an undiagnosed heart condition. Bruce was found sitting on his sofa about to start his supper with the TV remote control still on his lap and one of his favourite films about to begin.
He was living alone at that time and we did not find him until his girlfriend came the next morning to say she could not get him to answer the door or his phone. Bruce had been dead some hours before he was discovered.

He was only 35 years old and a big 6′ 3″ handsome, popular man. His friends all say that “there was never a dull moment when you went out with Bruce – a good time was guaranteed”. On looking back it is difficult to know how we coped with the suddenness of his death; the man who would have been there for us for the rest of our lives was gone.

He had been robbed of so many years of life. I found it difficult to ‘invade’ his home without his permission.

Bruce was eventually found to have a heart anomaly, but this took many weeks to be diagnosed and we found this time to be very harrowing.

We had not noticed the CRY advert in the Daily Mail before Bruce died, but after contacting them we were helped by Alison and the team who directed us to the hospital and consultant who could help us with the screening of ourselves and our daughter; and encouraged us to attend a bereavement support session, which we did when Bruce had been dead only 10 weeks. We found a room full of heartbroken people just like ourselves. I wish we had taken our daughter along as adult siblings are often the forgotten mourners and – as in our case – have to deal with becoming an ‘only child’, something they never dreamt would happen.

Bruce’s friends helped us to get permission for his ashes to be interred at Sheffield United’s ground at Bramall Lane, as Bruce was a long standing season ticket holder for The Blades. We hope he is pleased with that decision!! His friends also hold an annual charity night where all his favourite music is played. They will not let him be forgotten.

For one of your children to die before you is not the way of things; life is turned upside down and is wrong.

A year to the week after his death, our daughter presented us with our first grandchild. At her christening at the end of 2011, as I left the church, the vicar whispered to me “Daisy has her own guardian angel” – I hope that is true.

Jackie Cousins