28th August 2014.
The day that life changed was a normal day. There was no sense of impending doom. No feeling that something awful might happen. Just normality.
Jason got up early for work. About 6ish I think. George had sneaked into our bed in the night, so there was no opportunity for a cuddle before he left for work. So I didn’t see him at all that morning. There was no kiss Goodbye. No breakfast together. No waving out the window to him. Same as most days.
The boys and I got up around 8, and had a lazy morning. I spoke to Jason once or twice on the phone, like usual.
We planned to go for a picnic with a friend and her Son that day, but as it was looking a bit rainy, we went to her house instead. A fairly uneventful lunch! I received a missed call from Jason as we were preparing to leave just before 3. I ignored it so I could call back once we left. I called him at 2.59pm, but as it connected, my friend ran down the street after me as I forgot to take a gift she had got me for loaning her some camping stuff, so I quickly apologised to Jason and hung up again!
I called back at 3.01pm, as we were walking home. George in the pram, Toby walking alongside. The conversation was short, but normal. Jason told me he would be working late, and said “Well I would rather work late tonight than tomorrow night” which was fair enough. Who wants to work late on a Friday?! We didn’t discuss a time, he just said he would call when he had more of an idea. He asked how our day was. It was normal. The conversation ended with our usual “Love you”. And that was it.
At 5.20 or so, my Dad arrived to have tea with us. He often comes round for tea, and to help with bath time. We had hot dogs with onions and tomato sauce, one of Jason’s favourites! Jason had been disappointed that he was missing that for tea, so at 5.45ish I called his mobile to let him know I had saved him some, and to find out when he would be in. There was no answer on either his personal or his work mobile. Not uncommon for him to be busy, so I left it a while. The boys went for a bath at 6.30, and as I hadn’t heard back, I tried again. No answer. I tried a few more times before the boys came downstairs at 7, and was getting quite annoyed that he wasn’t answering. What kind of idiot doesn’t hear TWO phones ringing?! I got the boys ready for bed, and my Dad took Toby up. When he came back down I told him I was annoyed, but a little worried about him. My Dad asked if he should stay, but I assured him it was probably something stupid, and that I would text when he got home.
My Dad left at about 8, and I settled down on the sofa to breastfeed George to sleep. Just like normal! I made quite a few phone calls to Jason in this time. Probably totalling about 60 between both phones over the 3 hours I was calling for. I sent 2 texts, one telling him I was worried and would he please call me. The other slightly more panicked, but along the same lines.
George fell asleep on me about 8.30 and I posted in a baby group on Facebook about the fact that I was worried. Countless women reassured me, and gave me their anecdotes of when it happened to them, so I continued to call and wait. I still hadn’t bothered moving George upstairs by 9.01pm.
There was a knock on the door. A polite knock. People didn’t knock on my door at 9 at night. I lifted George and, with my heart in my mouth, legs shaking I went to the door. There was a man on the right, in a suit, and a lady on the left, also dressed very formally.
Man: “Mrs Haslem?”
Me: “Can I take my baby upstairs?”
They both nodded and I shut the door, making sure I locked it just in case.
I managed to get upstairs, and sort of dropped George in his cot. By this point, this entire 20-30 seconds felt like hell. I was hoping and praying that they were going to say Jason had crashed his van, and was in hospital, or that he had lost his arms or something. Really horrific things, but the alternative I didn’t want to think.
I ran downstairs and opened the door. The polite suit man asked if they could come in, but I couldn’t wait any longer than I had already.
Me: “Is it about Jason?!”
Man: “It is. May we come in?”
At this point I half turned round to let them in, but turned back just as quickly and blurted out, in a half raised voice/half panicked stammer
“Did he die?!”
Man: “I’m afraid he did.”
And that was that. I told them to come in and they followed me to the living room.
Suit man and lady were police officers. He sat on the sofa to the right of me, and she sat on the round armchair in front and to the left slightly. There was a huge mountain of clean washing on that seat so she perched politely on the edge.
I didn’t cry. I couldn’t. I asked why I wasn’t crying, and was told it was the shock.
I asked if they were SURE it was Jason. I told her “but I’m pregnant” as though that would change her answer. She just replied “I know” and looked so, sad.
I asked what happened, and they said he had an accident at work, and that he was electrocuted.
Electrocuted is an ugly word, but one I have had to learn to say hundreds of times over the last few months. It’s a word that I wish didn’t exist, but I have to learn to live with.
They gave me a few more details. I asked them if he was alone. He wasn’t. He was with 3 other guys, who all tried so hard to save him. But he was dead.
He was in Oldham. Miles and miles away.
On his own. Cold. In a big fridge. Dead. My Jason.
Suit man called my Dad for me, who set off straight back. I got out my phone and scrolled through the names, thinking who was closest to me, and could get here the soonest. I figured Melissa, as she is only 20 houses away! I called her and asked her to come over, at some point I told her that Jason was dead, and although she wasn’t home (she was on a date, sorry Melissa!) she came straight away. My Dad arrived around the same time as her I think. I stayed in the same place on the sofa. I think I got up to offer them a brew. I needed to not think for a while.
The police left after a while (half an hour? An hour? I don’t know) and Melissa took the place of the police lady. As she sat down, there was a rustle and a crunch, and she pulled a bag of Skips crisps out from under her bum.
Melissa: “I’m sorry, I just squashed your crisps!”
Me: “It’s ok. It’s not the worst news I’ve had this evening.”
We both laughed.
I knew right then that I would be ok!
Love you Jason xxxxx