20th December 2021 – Santa, Jesus and my Brother, Andrew

On this day, thirty one years ago, my brother died. I remember the phone call vividly. There must have been a call earlier in the evening to tell us it was close but I don’t remember that. I just know that, at the age of eleven, there’s no way I would have been up at that time otherwise. What I do remember is sitting on the sofa with my Grandma and sister, with the room only lit by the Christmas tree lights, and the phone ringing shortly after midnight. Andrew had died at 00:20 on the 20th December 1990.

I wrote a blog post earlier this month about how much he loved Christmas. Despite being eighteen, he still totally and completely believed in Father Christmas. Growing up, as we got closer to Christmas every year we would ask him who was coming to visit. It was always an excited response of “Father Christmas!!”. Except the year that he died he wouldn’t say it.

The year that Andrew died, every time we asked who was coming to visit he told us “Jesus” was coming. We tried to correct him and talked about Father Christmas but he just wouldn’t have it. It’s as if he knew.

Everything happened very quickly; he was rushed into hospital on the morning of the 18th. However, on the night of the 17th he insisted on my Dad’s best friend coming over to watch a film with us – Pretty Woman, of all things! The same friend was one of the last people to visit the hospital before Andrew’s life support was switched off. It was almost like Andrew knew what was coming and wanted to spend that time with him to say goodbye.

I’m not a hugely religious person but what happened around the time of Andrew’s death raises so many questions. My husband on the other hand insists there’s a logical explanation to everything. Whatever the truth may be, I know that we were quite possibly the luckiest family in the world to have had the time with Andrew that we did.