What can possibly prepare you for the total shock of being told – however gently – that your beloved only son had suddenly and unexpectedly 'passed away'. What! How? When?
The thought rushed through my head 'Can I get there to see him before it is too late!'. Then the dawning impact that the strong, happy, vibrant grown up son I had happily talked to on the phone two days before – was dead! No chance for any of us to hold him, say goodbye and tell him how much we loved him.
How could that possibly be?
Whilst I now know how many countless other families face this shocking truth – it cannot begin to comfort you from the initial, unbelievable news that a child of yours – the person you nurtured, encouraged and loved – has gone before you.
Our son, Neil, died suddenly and inexplicably on 9th April 2009 at the age of 34, just as life was beginning to come together for him.
He was happy – having met his soul mate, with whom he was contemplating marriage and children. His enduring passion for music – mixing tracks, DJ'ing at clubs, starting a record label (Soul Motive) with two friends to promote the music they loved – was just beginning to bear fruit.
After graduating in Leicester, and successfully trying various professional jobs, he decided to concentrate more on his music. He had been studying to become an electrician, whilst working in a popular bar in Bristol where he revelled in meeting and talking to people. This left him some time to make and promote the music that he felt so passionate about.
In fact, the help and encouragement he gave to so many young people became very evident at his funeral in Bristol in April 2009. The church was so full that people were standing at the back, although it was a normal working day! The 'celebration' afterwards at the pub where he worked, was packed to overflowing.
The tributes that poured in to a music forum on the web, after his partner posted the news of his death, were as numerous and unbelieving as they were humbling. So much positive comment about him as a person who would be sorely missed made us feel very proud. It was almost as though we only truly began to understand him as an adult after he had gone!
The massive tribute night staged in his honour at the end of May at a large Bristol nightclub attracted a full house with many different well known DJs playing for free in his memory.
Money raised in his memory has helped towards setting up the Neil Kymatik Studio (his professional name) by the charity Remix, in the Colston Hall in Bristol.
He would be so proud to know that this facility set up in his name will help disadvantaged children and teenagers find a purpose and meaning to their life through exploring and developing their music. We too are immensely proud of him.
I have been searching through old photographs and slides to produce a 'photo book' of Neil. Although this is thought provoking and upsetting at times, I feel much more positive being able to recall the happy, cheeky little boy who grew to be a warm, compassionate man, someone who enjoyed what life had to offer, particularly relating to making music and other people.
Early on I found the CRY website, having followed up suggestions of possibly arrhythmia. The initial post-mortem results and months of further testing found nothing wrong with him, resulting in 'unascertained'. We were then able to avail ourselves of the generous help that CRY offers, sending samples to Dr Mary Sheppard at the Brompton Hospital. We now expect the final death certificate to state Sudden Adult Death, and the immediate family (Mother, Father and two sisters) are in the process of being referred for screening. This is another stepping stone to accepting and moving on in our lives. No easy task.
I cannot praise enough the support and compassion shown by Alison Cox in taking time to talk to me on the phone or email me, when I can see how busy she must be. Thank you CRY.