Ryan Harrison

My beautiful son Ryan was 18 years of age when he decided to go travelling to Canada.

Me and my husband and his sister did not want him to go as he had recently packed up working for my husband as an apprentice alarm engineer.

But Ryan just wanted to live his dream, which was travelling and having the time of his life. I will never forget the last phone call we had from him when he said to me “mum, I’m living my dream and having a great time”.

He left England on the 13th October 2009. The first week away he had managed to fit so much in and probably did more than what my husband and me had done in a lifetime.

He phoned us every day and by the end of the first week he phoned us to say that he had been in bed for two days with flu type symptoms. We told him to get something from the chemist and to keep himself warm. The weekend he passed away he had phoned us on the Saturday night to say he was feeling better.

He was able to speak to his sister who had been away at Northampton University but was home that weekend due to her having flu. That was the last time we spoke to Ryan.

I remember my husband had gone to watch a football match on the Sunday. He got a telephone call from one of Ryan’s friends who he had met in Vancouver. He thought the phone call was about someone else and not our Ryan. Ryan’s friend had said that Ryan had passed away in his sleep – this was the 25th October 2009.

I will never forget that Sunday evening as it is, and always will be, with me forever. Our world had been torn apart. He was our life, our baby son and the most precious thing we ever had along with his sister. Although he had travelled to Vancouver he was in fact that weekend in Seattle with three other friends who he had met. We flew to Seattle the next day and had a week there sorting out matters, along with making arrangements for his return home.

We met up with the Medical Officer in Seattle who told us that there was nothing we could have done and that he died of viral myocarditis, caused by a viral infection, which attacks the heart.

The whole of November is somewhat a blur but his funeral took place on the 9th November at Our Lady’s and St Vincent RC Church, Potters Bar where over 600 friends and family attended. His death had caused quite an impact on a small town. His story was put in our local newspaper.

We know what it is like to lose a parent or parents as I had lost both of my parents and my husband had lost his father. To lose a child is unbearable and heart breaking. I can honestly say that our lives will never be the same and we do not feel any different now from when we first heard the news. The only thing that keeps us going is our lovely daughter, Ryan ‘s sister Sammy-jo.

We had so many flowers, cards, tributes but one tribute did stand out to us which was from one of his friends which said “IT’S NOT THE YEARS IN YOUR LIFE THAT COUNT …BUT THE LIFE IN YOUR YEARS”.


Teresa Harrison