My name is Hannah and I am 19. This is my story about the love of my life, Ricky Jones, who died aged 31 years.
Me, my boyfriend Ricky and son Theo had been waiting for the 5th of May to come around, as that was the day we were heading to Butlins in Minehead for a week’s holiday, which was going to be our first family holiday.
The day we arrived we spent the day going around the site, going to all the different activities taking place. We took Theo to the welcome disco and then went back to our apartment. On the way back, Ricky told me it was the best day of his life. Theo went to bed and then me and Ricky did shortly after. He said goodnight to both me and Theo and said he loved us, like he always did.
The next morning at 6.30am, I heard Ricky making some weird noises so I looked over and could not believe what I was seeing. His eyes were wide open and pupils dilated and his fists were clenched. I was shouting and screaming for him to stop, then all of a sudden he made a loud moan and took a deep breath out and his eyes shut and he unclenched his fists. He was not breathing.
I immediately rang the emergency services and asked for an ambulance. I told the operator my boyfriend was not breathing. I followed her instructions, which were to drag Ricky off the bed and to carry out CPR – which I had never done before and had only briefly seen it being done on television.
I carried on until the paramedics got there about 5 minutes later; they took over and asked me to go into the next room with Theo. The Butllins team came to keep us company whilst four paramedics tried to bring Ricky back.
I heard them repeatedly shouting “clear” when using the defibrillator to try get a rhythm back to the heart. One of the paramedics came and told me they were taking him to Taunton Hospital. I asked if he was breathing and she held my hand and told me he was still in cardiac arrest and they were doing everything that they could.
The Butlins team gave me and Theo a lift to the hospital 20 minutes after the ambulance left. It felt like the longest journey in the world. When we got there, I went to reception and they took me straight to the family room – my mum and sister had already arrived. Once we sat down, two doctors came in and I could tell by the looks on their faces what they were going to tell me. All I heard was “I am so sorry Hannah” – I broke down in tears and didn’t hear anything else they were telling me.
The police came in shortly after and took his details. I couldn’t believe what was happening and what I was saying. I went to see Ricky shortly after; it felt unreal that he was lying there on a hospital bed. I stroked his forehead and told him how much I loved him. After giving a statement to the police I just wanted to get out of the hospital as I felt trapped in there.
The next few days were a blur and I did not stop crying. On the Friday we had all the funeral arrangements in place. Ricky came back to Exeter on the Monday and I went to see him in the chapel of rest on the Tuesday – a week since it had happened. Although he looked so peaceful, I kept saying how unfair it was. I placed a red heart I had bought in his hand, along with a letter I had written. He was so cold and I just stared and kept thinking how handsome he was.
Thursday 15th May was the day of his funeral. As soon as I woke up I felt sick. I hadn’t cried all morning until the hearse arrived outside our house. We got to the church and all the family followed in behind the coffin. There were so many people in the church that had come to pay their respects. Andy, who is a good friend of Ricky’s, read out the eulogy. He mentioned all about Ricky’s childhood, teenage years and so on. Then he got to the part about meeting ‘the love of his life’ which made me feel warm inside. He told everyone how much Ricky loved Theo and then he announced that Ricky was planning to marry me and had asked him to be Best Man. I cried so much, as that should have been our wedding not Ricky’s funeral.
Ricky will never be forgotten by me, Theo and all the family. He was an amazing, carefree and loving man who I thought the world of. Theo was not Ricky’s biological son, but Ricky took him on as his own and would do anything for him – for that I could not thank him enough.