29th August was the day I got to visit Jason.
I had hardly slept the night before, switching between going on Facebook to talk to my baby group about it (it wasn’t public knowledge yet, but I felt safe posting in there), lying wide awake, and sneaking out of bed past George, so I could go outside and throw up.
I got up at 7, and took George for a walk in the pram around the block. I needed to do something, but I knew I couldn’t call to speak to anyone until they were all at their desks at 9. My need for information had to wait for normal office hours to resume.
When I got home, Toby was awake. My Dad had stayed the night before so that I had help if I needed it. I had been planning the conversation to have with Toby for hours. I sat him on my knee, and I don’t remember the exact words, but I told him that Daddy had an accident at work, that made his body very poorly. It was too poorly to stay alive, and Daddy died. I told him that Daddy didn’t want to leave us, but that Daddy would never come home. Daddy was going to be a star, and he would always be able to see us, hear us and talk to us, but we would never see him, or hear him. Toby has a wonderful idea that when things die, they go up to space in a spaceship, which is very clever of him, I mean, how else do they get up there?! From then on, all plans were referred to as ‘getting things ready for Daddy’s spaceship to set off’! Toby cried, i cried, and George looked confused. The only way to explain to a then 21 month old that their Daddy is dead is to tell them that they are ‘gone’.
Daddy was gone.
I started making calls at 9. I called the detective in charge, Jason’s boss and colleagues, and spoke to local police who informed me that my Family Liaison Officer would be round in an hour or so. My Sister came round (she had already visited the night before) and brought a McDonald’s breakfast. The Family Liaison Officer arrived soon after so I sent my Sister, Dad and the boys up to the boy’s room for a breakfast picnic. They thought this was very fun!
The Family Liaison Officer left a lot to be desired. She seemed to know nothing about what had happened, and on more than one occasion, mentioned how she doesn’t really do that role any more, she works in another department now. Gee, thanks Lancashire police for sending your best officer! She told me I could definitely see Jason that day, and that there would be ‘no need for a postmortem as they know he was electrocuted’. At that point I was concerned about my lovely Husband’s body being dissected, so this was a huge reassurance to me. As the day progressed, this turned out to be totally wrong, but I will come to that.
At 11am my Sister and I set off to Oldham, under the instruction to just go straight up, it wouldn’t be a problem. All we were equipped with was a phone number for the coroner, and an address for the hospital. I asked my Family Liaison Officer if she would come with me, as I was told by other people she would, but she told me it ‘wasn’t her job’ to do that. About half way there, I called the coroner, who put me through to the mortuary. I wanted to let them know we were almost there, but was told that I couldn’t visit Jason at all. After a couple of calls, I got a call back from the Family Liaison Officer who simply told us to ‘turn round and go home’. She didn’t give any reason as to why, so, as we were already close to the hospital, we continued on our journey, in the hopes of finding out why we were getting told two different things.
We arrived at the hospital and walked over to the mortuary. An ugly, square grey building with enormous air-conditioning units on the roof. Well, you have got to keep those bodies cool somehow I guess! A member of staff took us into the office, and told me that my Liaison Officer was wrong to tell us to go, and that we weren’t allowed to see Jason at all until a postmortem had taken place.
Because it happened at work, and that is standard procedure, and it is basic knowledge the FLO should have.
I was clearly upset by this, and asked why he couldn’t be seen. I was told that if I were to see him, it could ‘effect the evidence’. I begged to see him, and promised I wouldn’t touch him, but could I PLEASE see my Husband. I needed to see him. To make sure he wasn’t on his own for just one minute.
A few calls were made, and the agreement was made that I could see him, but only if there were a glass partition in place. That was ok by me, because I had never even seen a dead body before, let alone touched one. I needed to be eased in gradually!
To say I was terrified is an understatement. Dead people look scary, don’t they? I only had films to go off, and zombies aren’t the most attractive of creatures!
I didn’t want to be scared of the man I love.
A young lad, about my age, with a rustly plastic apron and gloves came shuffling through, to tell the lady we had been speaking to, to warn me that Jason still had a neck brace on, and intubation tube in. These couldn’t be taken off until the postmortem, as his body had to be left the way it was when he was pronounced dead. That was ok, I just HAD to see him.
Thankfully my Sister is a nurse, and has seen her fair share of dead people, so I asked her, right before we went in, if he would look scary. She told me no, but I didn’t believe her in the slightest.
We got taken down a corridor to a door that said something like ‘chapel of rest’ or similar on. I guess ‘Room in what you look at dead people’ doesn’t sound so peaceful. The whole place stank of, I don’t know, death I guess.
I held my Sisters hand (sorry about that public display of affection, Becca!), and the staff member opened the door. A couple of meters in front of me, I saw my Husband.
I walked up to the glass, expecting to be horrified, but what I saw was my beautiful, handsome, ginger haired Husband, looking completely perfect.
Yes, he had a neck brace on. Yes, he had a tube held in place in his mouth. Yes, he was covered up to his neck in the whitest bed sheet I have ever seen. Yes, he had a bump on his head, that, if his hair were done properly, would have been covered up. And yes, his eyes were a bit open. But he looked just perfect.
His hair was perfectly ginger. His skin colour was perfectly pale and freckly. His face was perfectly beautiful.
He was my Husband and I loved him.
I couldn’t be scared of him.
I stared at his eyes. I made a point of looking into his only slightly open eyes, just because I knew I wouldn’t get that chance again.
I still loved him.
He was safe.
Love you Jason xxxxx