James, Our Inspiration…
A Precious Life Lost
At 10.20pm on Friday 23rd June 2017, James put his head around the lounge door to say that he was popping out to meet up with some friends in Aldridge. “Have fun Jim, take care.” were our last words to him.
At around midnight, we were woken by our daughter, Charlotte, bursting into our bedroom, screaming that James had been stabbed. We cannot begin to adequately describe our feelings of disbelief, absolute panic and horror, between our abrupt waking, hearing Charlotte’s words and arriving at the scene, literally moments later. As we drove into the village and saw the sea of blue flashing lights at the top of the High Street, our hearts dropped into our stomachs, nauseated by the scale of the incident in front of us, and the dreadful and overwhelming realisation that James’s life was hanging in the balance.
We were prevented from going to him, and instructed to stand at a distance, while the paramedics tried to save him, for what must have been nearly an hour, and which felt like an eternity; we were helpless and we desperately wanted him to know that we were there, so we called to him – “We love you James!”. We prayed for his life, hoping that the medics had the skill and that his fitness, strength and ‘zest for life’, would pull him through.
Eventually, we were told that he had died, and were escorted to his body, lying in his own blood, on the pavement where he fell, his chest opened-up by the medics, to allow open heart surgery and direct heart massage. That horrific scene is permanently imprinted in our memories, and is repeatedly played back in our minds, as a waking nightmare. We live with the unbearable guilt, that we weren’t there at that dreadful moment to defend James, when he needed help; neither were we able to hold him in our arms and comfort him, as his life slipped away. We felt guilty at seeing the sun rise that next morning. We are traumatised and tortured by this on a daily basis.
Our pain is not just about the manner in which James died or our loss; in fact, it is much, much more, about the life that James has been denied, a life full of potential; potential for meeting ‘the one’ who he may want to spend the rest of his life with, perhaps getting married, maybe having children of his own; taking the knocks that life throws your way and carrying on regardless, enjoying and celebrating success when it comes. Above all, enjoying life with family and lots of friends.
We have been denied the opportunity to play our part, in sharing that life with James, and he also, as an integral part of our lives. These thoughts take us past the point of despair, into utter hopelessness.