Our lovely, fit and healthy son died. It would have been about 5.30am in bed with our daughter-in-law at his side. Peter Jnr was 37.
The destruction and devastation this caused I often wonder how we are still standing. Our daughter-in-law Helen, our daughter Susie, my husband Peter Snr and myself all just wanted to go with Peter Jnr.
Our daughter stopped eating, as her brother could no longer eat, our daughter-in-law just ate edges of toast, all of us lost so much weight.
Helen for a long time was very, very ill and it was a long time before Susie returned to work. I was never capable of returning to work. I just shook – and although it is now 2 years 4 months since we lost our son, for the first 2 hours each day I shake as well as odd times during the day.
My lovely husband Peter Snr was retired and seven and a half months after losing his son, he died. Peter Snr and I were going to make it our life’s work to promote awareness of CRY and hopefully if we could save just one life and that a family would not live the rest of their lives as we do. The loss never leaves you.
On the day of our son’s funeral, when Peter Jnr was going to be lowered into the ground, I said to my daughter, “Please tell me this isn’t really happening”. I turned away, I could not watch.
Our daughter Suzie is married to Peter – yes there were three Peters – they have Sam now nearly 10 years and Poppy who was nearly 1 year when she lost the uncle she will never know – but she will grow up knowing a lot about him.
Our daughter-in-law Helen and Peter Jnr had Joseph who was 8 years old when he lost his Daddy.
Myself, I have to have a life, its just not the same and never will be, but I have to live for my lovely family. To the outside world Susie, Helen and I look fine; we laugh, we enjoy things, but it’s never the same laugh or the same enjoyment.
My daughter and I were both screened, we both have Brugada. I’m the gene carrier, the grand children are monitored at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Knowing that we lost our son because I unknowingly passed the gene on to Peter Jnr is a huge burden. I have to say sorry to him every day. I have to live with the loss of both my Peters and the devastation that it has caused.
Peter Jnr was a fine carpenter and lots of times he would phone for Peter Snr to collect something for him or he needed a helping hand.
Peter Jnr would always say, “Daddy can you do us a fave (favour).” After we lost Peter Jnr my husband said, “I just want the phone to ring and Peter Jnr to say, “Daddy can you do us a fave (favour)”.” But it didn’t ring. Although Peter Jnr was 37 he always called his dad ‘Daddy’.
If you are reading this and haven’t had a loss, do us all a fave and get screened by CRY. What have you to lose, but a life to save…
Memories of Peter Dean Button Jnr
Peter Jnr was about 8 years. On going into Peter’s bedroom to say goodnight, Peter was clutching the neck of his pyjama top. I asked what he was doing: he said he was doing nothing. On parting his hands I could see his school shirt and tie under his pyjamas – he was completely dressed in his school uniform. As he explained to me it was going to save him time in the morning.
When Peter Jnr was little, children had cap guns. One of Peter’s goldfish died and he said we had to have a funeral for the fish. Arrangements made: 1 tissue, 1 match box, 1 cap gun. Fish was wrapped in tissue, but with one side of face and eye showing, placed in match box, buried and a 3 cap gun salute.
In our garden we found an injured pigeon, on phoning the Blue Cross we were told it was unlikely to live: however, we put it into a small box somewhere quite and dark. If it lived the Blue Cross would collect it the next day. Peter Jnr stayed up all night but it died.
One of our rabbits whose name had to be Peter Rabbit, became very ill. The vet really didn’t think it would live, it needed to drink and would not by itself, so again, Peter Jnr sat through more than one night giving the rabbit tiny sips of water from the feeder. Peter Rabbit made a full recovery.
At 16 he went to an interview for a Saturday job at Woolworths. He went in his school uniform. At the interview he was asked if he had anything to do with the navy, Peter said no, but why did they ask? It was because the top button on his blazer was like a naval one with the anchor on. Peter explained he had lost the top button and looking in my sewing basket it was the only one the same size as the other two buttons and he didn’t think it right to come to the interview with a button missing. Peter started at Woolworths the following Saturday.
I taught Peter Jnr to sew and to knit. I have also taught Peter’s son Joseph to knit. And thankfully Peter Jnr had watched Joseph and I knitting together.