1st February 2012: me, my brother, my mum and dad all woke up to start a normal day at college and work, not realising that this day was going to change our lives forever and tip our world upside-down.
It was 4pm and we were all home. Me and my best friend were having our tea; my mum was washing up; my dad was ready to go out on a run with his friend; and my brother was already out on a run. This was like any other day.
5.30pm: Dad’s home from his run and we’re all sitting watching TV – but no sign of my brother, Joe, and his tea is going cold on the side. We just think he must of run to his girlfriend’s and is having his tea there and will be getting dropped off later, because this is something he often did.
7pm… 8pm… 9pm… all went by and still no sign of Joe. My mum was worrying because he should have been home, what with having work tomorrow; but – as you do – me and my dad were saying “stop worrying, he’s gone to his girlfriend’s and she will be dropping him off later on tonight around 10pm”. My mum didn’t want to ring his girlfriend because she didn’t want to bother them, so we just carried on watching TV.
11pm: I was ready for bed and still no sign of my brother, Joe. My mum started to panic, so I said “stop worrying Mum, here is his phone, ring his girlfriend”.
Real panic set in when his girlfriend said she had not heard from him all day and neither had his best friend.
His girlfriend and her mum come round to stay with my mum, while me and my dad drove the route that he would have run – but no sign of him. We rang the hospital and they took his identity. We also rang the police and they told us to stay indoors. His best friend went out looking for him and drove to our local hospital. He said something did not seem right and called us to come down to the hospital.
That’s when the nightmare started and the police told us they had found a young gentleman earlier that day, collapsed on the pathway and sadly passed away. The description was my brother’s description, but every part of you is praying that it’s all one big mistake. But it wasn’t. It was true – I had just lost my big brother at the age of 21.
We were all in so much shock and devastated. All our hearts had just been shattered into a million pieces – it felt like it was a film because it did not seem real. How could this happen to someone so fit and healthy?