My name is Lynn Smart. My brother, Kevin Smart, very sadly died on 5th September 2007 aged just 33.
He had worked from home that day – he normally worked in London but there were train driver strikes which had caused him a good few hours of delays on the previous working days.
My mum went round to clean for him at about 10ish and had a brief chat with him about some sad news from his office where one of his colleagues had died the previous Saturday whilst away on holiday – caused by treatment from a throat infection!!
When my mum left, all seemed OK and Kevin was his normal chatty but busy self and didn’t complain of feeling unwell. He spoke to his girlfriend Natalie at around 1.30pm and again, never complained of feeling unwell.
At approximately 5pm he stopped what he was working on and decided to go for a run. Natalie got home at around 5.30pm and figured he’d gone running so decided to go and see a friend.
When she returned later in the evening at about 8.00pm she started to get concerned that Kev still wasn’t home.
His wallet and mobile were still on the table and his running shoes were still not in the cupboard. She started to get a little worried but gave it a bit longer before she decided to contact my parents who live about 2 miles away, to see if they had seen him (it was starting to get quite dark by now).
My mum contacted me to see if I knew his normal running routes, of which he had many, so I told her that I would go out and drive around for a bit to have a look. They were also going to drive around and we’d meet at Kevin’s house. I drove around and – clutching at anything – I drove to a pub he frequented as a youngster and went to have a little look inside (in the hope that he’d bumped into someone he knew who’d insisted on taking him for a beer). When I’d looked and with no joy, I rang my mum to have a giggle at me having chosen a pub to search in…
We started to get a tad concerned by now, as it was approaching 9.30pm and so I said I’d call the hospital to be on the safe side. Still in my car and still outside the pub I phoned the local hospital. After being put through to a few departments I eventually spoke to the A&E sister who told me due to privacy reasons she couldn’t answer whether he was there or not but would get someone to call me. At this point I panicked and just knew it didn’t sound good, but I had to be strong for my mum and couldn’t appear worried – although I’d phoned my boyfriend and burst into tears at the prospect that there could be bad news awaiting us.
I drove to my brother’s house and met my dad walking up the road (he’d been looking through the woods as he was worried that Kev could have collapsed there). My mum, Natalie and I all decided that we couldn’t wait for someone to call us but we’d go to the hospital some 5 miles away and ask for ourselves. My dad decided that he would carry on looking through the woods with Kevin’s friend Ian, who’d come to help us look.
When we got to the hospital we were made to wait as the receptionist knew nothing of anyone who had been admitted – she’d only started her shift. We waited for approximately 10 minutes, which actually felt like a lifetime, and, although you’re not supposed to have mobiles on, mine remained on so I could await for a call from someone, anyone concerning my brother.
The sister eventually came to get us from the waiting room and as soon as she asked me whether the police had called, I knew that we were going to be getting bad news. Even so, I remained hopeful that we’d be taken into a ward where Kevin was being monitored or something!!
But once we were led into that room with the uncomfy sofas you just knew you were going to receive bad news – the worst possible news. A man matching Kevin’s description – a tattoo on his back and a birthmark on his arm – had collapsed whilst out running and could not be resuscitated. He’d had a cardiac arrest resulting in his sudden death. No amount of resus could have helped him.
I rung my dad to come over but the phones were playing up so my mum eventually got through to him. We then had to wait for his arrival, along with the police, before we had to go to the Chapel of Rest.
Its all a bit of a blur – knowing it was happening but wishing so so badly that you were actually in a nightmare. My dad arrived first, then the police, and we were then taken to see Kevin. As soon as I walked into the room my stomach hit the floor – it all became real, very very real…
After a few minutes I went back into the ‘middle’ room where I had to sign all the paperwork confirming this man was indeed my brother Kevin. Sadly at one point the policeman called him John rather than Kevin, which just made it more painful that Kevin was actually a ‘John Doe’ for a number of hours as nobody could identify him.
This to me is the hardest thing to come to terms with, as the thought of him being on his own with them not knowing a thing about him haunts me.
How could my brother be lying dead there when he was so full of life and enjoyed everything? There was so much more potential – he had a great job; he was a fantastic uncle to my 2 boys (20 months and 20 weeks at this time); and there was still a family of his own to fulfil – it’s all so unjust…
We stood outside to contact my twin sister and my younger brother. My partner Colin had already contacted my twin – what an awful thing for him to have to tell her – but by the time I then spoke to her she was already on her way back from Beccles (where her partner owns a pub). What an awful journey that must have been because I know that the journey just 5 miles back from the hospital was bad enough.
There are so many things that you shouldn’t have to do in this life, but dealing with your brother’s funeral, finances, house, etc is something a family shouldn’t have to go through.
There is a blog set up by Kev’s close friend Colin at http://www.kevinpodssmart.blogspot.com/ – this is very much where we put our feelings about Kevin down in ink (so to speak) and I look daily just to see his picture…