The New Year 2013 started with a lovely New Year’s Eve and a coastal walk of 4 miles the next day, for a pub lunch with friends. Jonathan rang me, from Sweden, later that day to wish me a Happy Birthday and a Happy New Year. A call from Jon was always the icing on the cake.
I had just been thinking that life couldn’t get much better. My husband and I had recently retired. Our daughter, Philippa, was happily married to Lewis. Jonathan had been engaged to Hannah for 6 months. I had a beautiful granddaughter of 7 months to enjoy.
Then two days later on January 3rd we received the call from hell – Jonathan was dead.
How could that be? I had spoken to him two days before. We had a beautiful call and he had told me he had been out on his snowmobile all day. He said he felt a little tired so we would Skype in a few days.
He finished the call saying “I love you”, and those were the last words he ever said to me.
Jonathan had been in high spirits all day at work. There had been much frivolity between him and his workmates. Strangely, someone even took video footage of him, on a mobile phone.
He had just cooked himself a meal when the heart attack struck.
Hannah tried desperately to resuscitate him, whilst waiting for the ambulance to arrive. I believe that there was little she could do.
Jonathan was born on 13th May 1985. He had always been fit, healthy and full of energy. He was 27 years old when he died.
All through his life he loved to be active. As a child he loved to be on the beach with us water-skiing. We had many family snow-skiing holidays and in typical Jon fashion, he would put his skis on and just ‘go for it’. In his late teens and early twenties he changed his skis for a snowboard and had a handful of snowboarding holidays with friends.
At the age of 10 Jon got his first dirtbike. For seven years he competed in Schoolboys’ Motocross and at the age of 17 he started competing in Enduro Racing. He competed at national level on a few occasions.
We spent 13 years supporting him; Saturdays getting the bike ready, Sundays racing and the rest of the week cleaning up to start all over again. As he got older he was able to take on doing the mechanics of the bike, which he enjoyed almost as much as the racing.
We have so many happy memories of these times and are so thankful that we shared these experiences together.
From the moment Jon was born he brought nothing but pleasure and enjoyment into our lives. He was a bubbly, fun-loving and mischievous child and these characteristics remained with him into adulthood. Although fun-loving and full of life, Jon was also compassionate and sensitive. Friendships and family were important to Jon.
He cared about people and struck up good positive relationships with all he met. He has touched the hearts and left a lasting impression on so many people.
When he left school he started an engineering apprenticeship, which he really enjoyed, always being a practical person. He loved the banter of his work colleagues and always had a story to tell when he arrived home from work.
In June 2008 Jon met Hannah, a Swedish girl whom he met on a spur of the moment holiday to Spain. That was the start of the next phase of his life.
In January 2009 Jon moved to Sweden to live with Hannah. There he worked in her father’s business on maintenance. Much of his work involved snow clearance during the extreme cold winter months; but Jonathan also supported Hannah building up her horse-riding yard.
He designed and built new stables, set up new paddocks and was a constant support to her at competitions. He recognised her potential as a rider and supported her totally.
Jonathan enjoyed life and lived every day to the full. He had so much vitality and made every day count. He was a hard worker but played hard as well.
When he first moved to Sweden he bought himself an enduro bike and joined a club.
However, he found he was so busy supporting Hannah that he had little time to race. He then decided to sell his bike and buy a snowmobile instead, so that he could ride in the winter. He loved it. In the summer he played golf when he had the time.
My husband (Robert) and I always knew he was special, but so did his friends. Tributes on Facebook are testament to that.
Friends have described Jonathan as ‘one of life’s best’, ‘a genuine friend’, ‘top bloke’, ‘such a good lad that always brightened the mood’, ‘an honour to call him a friend’, ‘an amazingly fun guy to be around’, ‘absolute gent’, ‘a very caring person’. He was every one of these things.
One friend said of him “He always excelled at every thing he did and gave 110%, but he was an even better friend, that’s when he gave 1000%”.
Until Jonathan’s death we had never heard of CRY, never heard of sudden death syndrome or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. We had no idea there was anything wrong with Jon, he had always been so active. The only symptoms Jon showed before he died were flu–like symptoms.
We now know this can be typical of a problem. The charity has been an important source of support; offering bereavement counselling, advice on medical issues and helping with fund raising queries.
Thanks to CRY’s advice my husband, daughter and myself have all had ECG’s and echocardiograms and this has ruled out that Jon’s problem was genetic. However, we will be monitoring our granddaughter very closely.
We have now begun fundraising for CRY. I was involved in an event in November 2013 and we have plans for more events in 2014. The sad thing is, many of us don’t get to hear about CRY until it is too late. I feel that I would like to become involved in raising awareness of the charity and what it has to offer. If Jon had had the opportunity of being screened, he may still have been with us today.
One year on and the pain is still raw. We miss Jon terribly and our lives will never be the same again. Regardless of what good things may be in store for us in the future, the whole picture now will never be complete. Jon leaves a gaping hole in our lives.
Jon unwittingly brought love into the lives of all he met. He didn’t have to work hard at being kind or affectionate, honest and considerate – it was just the way he was.
Thank you for all the good times Jon. We are so proud to call you our son.
Love always, Mum and Dad xx