I still find it hard to believe that June 28th 2012 was the last day of my then 30 year old son Phil Standing’s life. Phil, always the strong one, the hard worker, the sportsman, the handsome one, the amusing one, the good friend, the man with the twinkling eyes, husband to Kate, father to twin boys Oliver and Ben just 20 months, brother to Ruth, just gone.
Keith my husband of 8 weeks but friend and partner for 19 years, had been at Mottisfont working in the Orchard. I had been on a course, and picked up a dress for a friend’s wedding. There was an e-mail from Phil “looking forward to seeing you on Saturday”. It had been just a normal day. The 10.00pm news had just started and then the ring of the phone. It was a police lady who said Kate Standing wanted to talk to me. How can so many scenarios run through your mind in an instant, all in the process of problem solving and yet never hinting at the tragedy about to unfold?
Apparently Phil had died whilst playing cricket at Lord’s. He had been attending a corporate event after work. All had been well, Phil laughing and joking with friends, bowling a few overs and then no more.
Kate and I arrived at Paddington hospital and were greeted so respectfully, and then there was Phil, peaceful, beautiful, still with a slight smile, eyes closed contentedly and yet no life. No amount of tears, hugs or love could arouse him.
The pain of contacting Ruth, Phil’s big sister who lived in Brisbane with her husband Mark and her son Leo was agonising. Her scream, her heart- ache, her hurt, so raw, her life shattered again. (Ruth and Phil’s Dad had died of cancer when they were young, taken so devastatingly by such a cruel disease).
Family, friends, and staff from CRY have carried us through those dark and desperate days and still do. The funeral became a tribute to a fine young man and enabled me a glimpse of a smile as my memory re-awakened old joys which are held firmly in my heart.
I am fortunate to have such an amazing daughter in law who although has lost so much, has allowed us to share her journey. The boys who are now 4 years old have given us laughter, joy and love. I relish my memories of Phil and enjoy sharing them with his sons but it is Phil’s lost future, his lost fatherhood that is devastating and cuts to the core.
Keith and I have appreciated the information, guidance and care from CRY, without this the pathology reports, the inquest and the awareness of undetected heart disease in the young would have been totally incomprehensible.
I have been overwhelmed by the determination of Phil’s friends to keep his memory alive and to support CRY. Together we have run miles, baked cakes and walked the streets of London. On March 27th 2015 we are holding the first Phil Standing Memorial Screening Clinic at Phil’s secondary school, The Mountbatten School, Romsey. I am honoured to act as a Representative for CRY and hope to support their work in raising awareness, funding research, and most importantly being there for the bereaved.