This photo of James was taken a few weeks before he passed away and the photo of him with his younger brother and sisters was actually taken the day before he collapsed. As you can see from it he looks very fit any healthy and appears to have nothing wrong with him. I am so happy I took the children to have the photographs taken that day as I was in two minds whether to go or put it off until a later date as, but for some reason I decided I may as well go. The 5 of us had a wonderful day, getting their pictures taken (me getting hit with a beach ball and other items to keep the children smiling) and going for lunch. James also told me a few things I would never have known if we had not gone out that day, e.g. how he liked the feeling of polystyrene (or as he called it polyester) and dipping his chips into ice-cream.
Now I will tell you a bit about James. He was born on 7th October 1991 and from the moment he entered our lives he brought so much happiness and love. Everyone who met James commented on what a lovely, polite little boy he was. James was our oldest child with a 7 year old sister, Shannon, a 4 year old brother Ryan and a 14 month old sister Eve. He was a healthy, energetic boy who was full of life. He enjoyed nothing more that going out and playing football, golf and being with friends and family. On Sunday the 27th of July 2003 He was visiting his Gran and went out to play football with his 18 year old Uncle Ryan and friends. I spoke to him as he was leaving and he was his usual happy, talkative self. About 1 hour after James left I answered my Mum’s phone and a boy was asking if he was speaking to Ryan’s Mum and I said no it was his sister. After that the phone call is a blur.
He told me something had happened to James and I was telling him I was James’ Mum and please tell me what had happened. All he said was he did not know but an ambulance had been called. My sister ran me down to the Rugby Field and I could see Ryan and knew James was next to him but I thought he had maybe split his head. I had to run quite a bit and as I ran up behind my brother I realised he and a passer by were trying to resuscitate James. I phoned his Dad and within minutes my Mum, other sister and paramedics arrived. My husband was there within 5 minutes. We watched in horror and disbelief as they worked on James and tried to revive him. They got James in the ambulance and transferred him to hospital. They had to shock him constantly while going to the hospital.
When we arrived at Monklands Hospital I remember seeing the staff and realising this was serious. A nurse asked us James’ religion and when we told her she recommended James was given his last rites and I said it was alright (I didn’t think it was that bad), but the nurse told us this was very serious, so he was given his last rites. We were told we could stay with James while to Doctors worked on him. He had a good output by this time, so I presumed he would be alright and could not accept that he could possibly die. We were advised at this time James had suffered a Cardiac Arrest. After James having a brain scan they decided he should be transferred to Yorkhill Sick Children’s Hospital.
They arranged this and transferred myself and James’ Dad ahead of James. My family waited with James until he was put in the ambulance. I knew something was wrong as it was getting later and later. When James was eventually brought into Yorkhill they advised me there had been a few hiccups before leaving Monklands. James’ heart had stopped and restarted itself 3 times. At this time I started to think he would not make it. His heart stopped once more on arrival at Yorkhill but after this his heart was beating too fast but stabilised.
The next 3 days were very difficult. On the Monday we were advised James had severe brain damage and was suffering seizures. By Monday night we knew his brain was swelling and at 2am on Tuesday we were told James’ pupils were fixed and he was dying. I still could not believe he would die. He was 5 feet 8 inches tall, fit and healthy.
On the Tuesday afternoon we were told there was reduced activity and they would stop all James’ medication so a brain stem test could be carried out on Wednesday. The first test was done early on Wednesday and confirmed there was no activity and after a second test it was confirmed there was no brain activity. We then took time for everyone to say goodbye. James was moved onto mattresses on the floor and we were able to lie next to him and cuddle him, myself and his 2 sisters and brother slept next to him for a few hours while the rest of the family came in to see him and they all said ‘see you later James’ (none of them could actually say goodbye), the 3 children were lifted away while they were still sleeping so they will always remember the last thing they did was sleep with him and cuddle him.
At 11.50pm Doctors came in and removed James’ breathing tube and with me, James’ Dad, my Mum, Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law. James passed away peacefully at 11.59pm, we had lovely music playing in the background and the peace in the room was amazing. I placed my hand on James’ chest and within no time at all his heart stopped beating and I knew he was gone. We washed and dressed him and the whole family then came in and spent a few hours with James. We will always be so thankful we had this time to say goodbye, it is a great comfort for us.
Everyday without James gets worse and we all miss him so much. We have been told James had myocarditis (influenza A Virus isolated) and he never felt or suffered any pain. The cardiologist told us it was like switching a light off and James was completely unaware of anything that happened afterwards. I was very worried while he was on life support that he knew anything about it or felt any pain but the Doctor said our wonderful, kind son died on Sunday the 27th of July 2003 and it was medication and machines that kept his body going. I always hate the Sundays.
I am glad and am so privileged that I was lucky enough to have James for the time we had, I just wish like all parents who have lost a child he was still with me making me laugh, carrying on and filling our life with joy and love. The time we had was amazing, I was so lucky to be given the precious, beautiful little boy and even since his death people who see his photograph and are touched by him.
It has been nice the amount of people since James died who have contacted us and told us what a nice little boy we had. Once he died we realised he had this massive amount of acquaintances. He knew more people than me. Everyone has been touched by him, even on his birthday I drove down to lay some flowers and let off some balloons at the graveyard, and when I pulled in there were flowers everywhere and a load of his school friends standing. It was great to see but also so sad because everyone misses him so much.