My name is Teresa Byers, I am the mother of four boys, with a broken heart.
On 9th February 2000 our world came tumbling down. Our 3rd son James, who was being treated for Wolf Parkinson White, dropped dead in school at the age of 7.
The teachers worked non-stop to revive him until the medics came and they took over working on him to bring him back. The sad thing is he did not want to come back, his heart stopped suddenly as if someone switched off a light and they never got any rhythm from shocking him or resuscitation.
He was taken to casualty and they continued working on him throughout the journey and in hospital. I was at work when I got the message he had taken ill, but mum’s seem to know – well I did. He wasn’t sick, he was gone, I could feel it through my whole body.
He was a very special wee boy – very affectionate, always asking how people are, genuinely interested in their daily lives. Don’t get me wrong, he was a wee rip too – could huff and puff like the rest.
He used to visit an old peoples’ home near our house and went on walks with one of the residents and his dog. With his observation and child like innocence he asked Brian “Do you know the way you are old, when you die can I have your dog.”
This made Brian laugh and he said he could definitely keep Sam. How were we to know they would both outlive James?
The other residents in the home loved to see him coming cos he brightened up their days. He would shower them with hugs and kisses – “”even the women with beards””, that’s what he said, not me. He told them stories and blabbed tales from home to entertain them all.
He visited our neighbours and spent time with them no matter how old they were.
Sometimes he would call for his friends mums and dads to see if they (the adults) were coming out to play. They used to go and play hurley and football with him in the nearby field. Everyone knew him. Everyone loved him. He touched so many lives. There is not a day goes by that he does not come up in conversation with family, friends, teachers – anyone who knew him. He made so many people happy.
My sister-in-law Therese has four girls and both our families are so close the kids are more like brothers and sisters than cousins. James used to call Therese his other mum.
At the end of last year we were asked to take part in the end credits for “”After Aaron”” to highlight CRY and the preventative screening, the deaths that can be avoided. We wish James had had the ablation procedure but it was never mentioned or offered, that’s why we feel so robbed.
To commemorate his short and wonderful life in this his 10th anniversary year and also to celebrate what would be his 18th birthday, my husband Brendan, James’ two older brothers Sean (25) and Batman (aka Brendan, 22), plus his mad aunt Geraldine (too impolite to give away her age) are planning to do sponsored skydiving and the funds raised to be donated to CRY to thank them for their support and hopefully allow someone to be screened and live a long and active life.
James, well, we were never told he could possibly die but we enjoyed him whilst he was here. Still we wish we would be running the streets to hound him in, or he would be doing his driving test, or bring a girl home. As you can tell we really loved him so much and there are no words to describe our emotions, they are still in turmoil. We just know he is with us every day and he will look out for us and comfort us. Sometimes you can feel the kiss of an angel when you are having a bad day and you just know its him.
“”Our loving smiling angel full of hugs and kisses; everyone’s friend, James””
Teresa Byers – on behalf of the Byers family and family circle