My cousin had started a Just Giving page for help towards Jamie’s funeral, bills and treating William when he was feeling down, as financially I wouldn’t be able to just say yes mate lets go out for tea, or to the cinema. So that was a massive help when it came to the funeral. I also had Helen, helping me, directing me to companies that would be able to help reducing some of the costs. I wrote an article for the Huddersfield Examiner thanking all those companies that donated their services in some way, and I would like to thank them again here. Making the decisions for the funeral was extremely difficult at times, I just wanted to do the best I could for Jamie as this was the last thing I would ever be able to do for him, it had to be right.
We had already decided on the Mercedes as they were Jamie’s favourite cars, and he would have hated horses…but there had to be more, motorbikes. I had put out a call on facebook and other social media and asked if any bikers in the area could escort Jamie to the Crematorium. We would go to watch Road Racing together, he even came with me to one of my Isle of Man TT trips. On the morning of the funeral the bikes came up and circled up the cul-de-sac, my heart was racing, I stood crying on the doorstep as they gathered at the end of the street waiting for Jamie to arrive. Another decision, he had to leave from home, I needed him to come home if only for a moment. The bikers were amazing, they stopped traffic in turn and led the way, he would have been blown away, I know I was…and to them all I need to say a massive thanks. I did offer them all a breakfast at the local biker cafe, but not one took me up on the offer stating they didn’t do it for anything in return…bikers remain one of my favourite group of people.
Jamie was swaddled in the Union Jack quilt, in his bespoke coffin, with his brand new trainers. We reached the crematorium, Helen got out and walked him the last part of his journey. I could see a crowd gathered but saw no one, it is hard to explain, I could only see Jamie. My Dad, Jamie’s Uncle Adam, and two of my very close friends Craig Sing and Andrew Lockwood were the people I had asked to carry Jamie into the Crematorium, they are all very important in their own ways and I owe them my heart and my thanks for being strong for us. We walked in to Stormzy, I had heard this kind of music coming from Jamie’s room day after day, night after night, I chose Blinded By Your Grace, Part 2, I could feel my legs weakening under me as the music started and I followed Jamie in, the picture of us both smiling at the foot of his coffin had my focus but I was lost.
The coffin was laid centre and his flowers were placed either side. I knew he would have hated loads of flowers so I kept it simple, we had ‘JAMIE’ and ‘YEY YEY’, a nickname that had stuck when William had started to speak and couldn’t quite get the hard J. They were made with my favourite white roses, in a modern arrangement, exactly how I had described to the ‘Flower Girls’ in Holmfirth, they were perfect and they also had donated their services, which again, I thank them so much for.
As we weren’t a religious family I couldn’t think of anything worse than having to sing hymns or say prayers, I am completely understanding of people and their beliefs but they aren’t mine, and they weren’t Jamie’s. Helen had put us in touch with a Celebrant called Lynne Green at ‘Creating Memories’, I had no idea such a person existed to be honest, but Lynne was perfect, she came and spoke to William and I on several occasions and worked through her holiday back and forth with me on email to create the perfect service. As much as I thought really only I could speak about Jamie and have it be spot on she was the very next best thing, she listened and wrote my thoughts. Dean Watkin the Head Teacher at Jamie’s school stood and said some words on behalf of the students and staff at the school. There was a poem chosen by me and one by Lynne. Lynne also then read words that I had written…
‘From the second Jamie was born I knew I was in love, love like I had never known before. I remember it being a very difficult birth, the nurses wanted to take him over night so I could get some rest, I wouldn’t let them take him, I couldn’t. I sat all night cross legged on the bed just watching him sleep…I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I knew from that moment on it was me and him against the world and I couldn’t wait. I could keep you here all day talking about things we did together, but I cant, today we are here to say goodbye. I wish I had a choice. I wish I could just have him back. He looked after me, I looked after him, we were a perfect team. I couldn’t have been more proud of the man he was becoming, he was all my hard work, my parenting, my love, in a perfect handsome package. He was well mannered, spoke to adults on their level and was soft and gentle with little ones too, had the best sense of humour, he put others first and made me proud everyday. He knew what he wanted and he was well on track to getting it, a place to call his own, becoming a cop, and a decent young man. I wish I could describe how thinking of a future without him makes me feel but I cant, its beyond words…so like the love I felt for him when he was born was something beyond what I had felt before, the pain of loosing him is the same. They say grieving the loss of a child starts the day the child dies and ends when the parent joins them, I cant disagree, my heart is broken and it will never feel whole again.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for coming to say goodbye to Jamie, and thank you all for donating to the just giving and for our charity. The charity monies I will be splitting between local charities in place to support emergency service workers that attend difficult calls. I want to thank those emergency service people for doing everything they could to help save me from this nightmare and for the ongoing work and support. I will be taking you all up on your offers of support in the future as I move forward and get justice for my Jamie and help prevent the same thing happening again’.
In the middle of the service there was the moment of reflection, I had been asked to choose about 20-25 pictures of Jamie and they would be shown on screens around the Crematorium while a song I chose played. It was nearly impossible to narrow it down to just 25 pictures, but I some how managed, I chose some that related to the words and the memories that Lynne had spoken about and some that were just my favourite…like the picture I use for my avatar on here. The Crematorium fell silent, the first picture appeared on the screen and Sam Smith and John Legend, ‘Lay Me Down’ began to play, I didn’t turn round once during the service but seconds into that song it sounded like a thousand people were crying behind me. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I looked up at the pictures fading into the next, the words of the song filled with meaning for me in that moment…’No words can explain, why the way I’m missing you Deny this emptiness, this hole that I’m inside These tears, they tell their own story’. ‘And I don’t want to be here if I can’t be with you’. I have always loved music, its helped me in so many ways, its so emotive that I haven’t been able to listen to music since Jamie died, its either sad and makes me cry, reminds me of him so makes me cry, or makes me feel happy so the guilt then, yup, makes me cry. I especially haven’t been able to listen to it while I drive its just too dangerous, I’d be pulling over in tears or causing an accident.
The rest of the service past in a blur, if I’m honest I don’t remember most of how it went, I just know it did because I had planned it that way. At the end of the service I had told Lynne to invite everyone to go round the coffin and look at the pictures and remember Jamie’s smile and the great times we had. I was taken out first by Helen as our final song started to play, ‘It’s All About You’ by McFly…a song that I had danced around the house with Jamie as a baby day after day, I even have a recording of us doing just that. I stood at the end of the glass walk way as everyone walked past, seeing so many of his friends and they all had their hoodies on and the J badges I have pictured, my friends from all over the country and family helped me realise I would not be alone in the fight for justice for Jamie, if it comes to that. I want to thank everyone that came, especially those that had to travel a distance to be there…a few of my friends had come in their work gear covered in plaster with ripped t-shirts but they were there and they know I wanted that more than I wanted smart suits, people, support, love.
Then once everyone had passed it was time for me to go in and say my final goodbye to Jamie. The song was still playing on a loop, I walked round the corner into the room and again I couldn’t stop the tears. I didn’t want to say goodbye, I didn’t want to walk out of that room knowing that would be the last time I would ever get to be with him. It would be the end and I didn’t want the end. I gave myself one complete round of the song, that was my limit, then I would have to walk away. I stood looking at the pictures, wiping the tears off the lid, trying to think of all we had and not all we were never going to have, but I couldn’t. And then the song finished.
The gathering was at the Huddersfield Golf Club, Fixby Hall, they had allowed us the room with no fee, and again I thank them for that. I think everyone made up for it at the bar! As for food, all I had to go on was what was Jamie’s favourites, so we would get curry from Nawaabs in town and he would always love a mixed starter, when we went to Taekwando every Saturday we would pass Myrams bakery and have to grab some fresh garlic nann bread, and everytime I left the house and passed the co-op he would beg me for the Oreo doughnuts…so that had to be the buffet. All is favourites, it might have seemed pretty odd to most of the guests but like I said this was the last thing I could do for Jamie, so it had to be his favourites.
The room was full of tables of people, friends and family from all over, I wanted to talk to them all but it was so overwhelming, I think I managed to get round to everyone and those I didn’t understood how exhausted I was becoming. I was filled to the brim with meds but was still fatigued and in pain and feeling sick. Eventually people started to leave and I was left with my ‘sons brothers mother’ Tara, we had William in common, her son’s are his brother but they looked more like Jamie’s brother’s so they were a perfect little group of brothers. We had become amazing friends knowing how important family was keeping the brothers together. Now even more. The boys and Andrew, who had carried Jamie. My mum came to take William and Tara was leaving too, I hadn’t even thought past the day to what I was going to do…I would just go home. No you won’t was basically Andrews words, he took me for something to eat and had me stop at his, and that’s why he is important to my family, he knew what I needed when even I didn’t and he just did it. He has held me up many times since and I can’t thank him in words as they just won’t mean enough, he knows how important he is.
And then the funeral was over.
Over £460 in donations at the Crematorium were donated to the West Yorkshire Ambulance Service with a cover note that it to be used to help support crew members that struggle after dealing with difficult calls, like that of Jamie’s, as they my be heroes but they are human too.