Mark was 25 when he died on the 18th November 2002. At the time I (his brother Matthew) was working away and received a call from my mother just after 6.30 to say he had died. For me it was the most surreal phone call I have ever received and I hurriedly got to Euston station London to get home to Birmingham as quickly as I could.
The previous night Mark, I and the rest of the family had been at a memorial service for our Grandmother who had died a year previous and Mark was the picture of health. He played football twice a week and was generally a lot fitter and healthier than his older brother who smoked, and drank more than he did.
When I eventually got home my mother relayed the story of how he had came home, told her he would cook tea and was going to “chill” for a while in his room. When after so long he hadn’t came out my Mom checked on him, and he had just literally “dropped dead”.
Being a first-aider my Mom administered CPR, but as she says now, she knew that he had already gone. In his room there was a dent in the plasterboard where he had fell and hit his head, and he just lay lifeless on the floor.
As with many of the stories on these pages, there was an Inquest into the death, which resulted in a verdict of ‘cardiac arrhythmia and sudden adult death syndrome’ – this delayed us with funeral proceedings. This was quite a distressing time for my mother, father, Mark’s girlfriend, me and the rest of the family, as you are left in limbo not knowing what and how this tragedy has happened.
Five years on, this is the first time I have written anything down or spoke in depth to anyone (or email), other than family members. The main reason I have written this is for others to know that it does get easier, I think of Mark nearly everyday and still can’t believe he is not here, but I have some great memories to hang on to.
Mark would have been thirty this year (2007) and I know he would have hated the fact that he was getting old, and so my wife and I have arranged a “30th birthday” charity night. We will be donating the proceeds to CRY, as it seems that although there are more people becoming aware of these young people dying, nobody has found out why. Until Mark died of SADS I had never heard of it and neither had his friends, so by having this party along with the advertising we have done for it, more of the local community will have become aware of it. I hope other people out there can have some solace in the fact that it has taken me a long time to put anything down about Mark, but this year has probably been the first time I can speak quite freely without getting upset.