Yesterday (28th January 2014) was the 32nd anniversary of the death of my wife’s brother. He was 21. The night before I’d been at their house and all three of us had gone out for a drink – this was because yours truly had managed to screw up his driving test and failed because I drove through a red light! Well if you’re going to fail do it in style I suppose!
We went out somewhere in his new company car – he’d been promoted at his work and given a car. He was a salesman for a stationary company travelling around to clients sorting out orders etc.
The next morning when my mother-in-law went to rouse him to get up he wouldn’t respond. An ambulance arrived and whisked him off to A&E but he was pronounced dead on arrival. The inquest was inconclusive at the time, he died essentially of respiratory failure due to an unknown cause. I’ve seen stuff over the years about various forms of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome and about 20 years ago a young lad on an industrial training year working within my department at the time suffered a similar death. It is like cot death but for young adults. I saw some research relating it to smoking. My brother-in-law (although I married his sister some years after his death he has always been my brother-in-law to me) had starting smoking more regularly in the weeks before his death so who knows.
My wife and her parents were obviously devastated. There can’t be a day go by where he isn’t in my wife’s thoughts I know.
He’d have been in his mid 50s by now. I wonder what he’d have been like? A jovial uncle to my kids as they grew up – a Dad himself? His job would have moved on – the company he worked for closed some years ago as Staples, Viking and others grew to dominate that market and of course now – you order on-line or by phone, who has salesman turning up to flick through the catalogues with you any more?
Just 21 – I’ve always then thought about how I’ve somewhat wasted my opportunities in life when you think he got so few. I think he’d have been inclined to have told me a few home truths over the years – I wonder if he’d have counselled his little sister to “kick the sod out” in my drinking days. He possibly would have he could be a blunt character.
RIP Roger – always missed by your family