A busy day at work left me little time to reflect on what I’ve already written; but it came to me this evening that I’ve never really reflected on how events panned out when Luke died.
So I’ll put myself back on the foyer of that hotel in Bangkok, having thought I’d be coming to some sort of miracle where my 1st born was transferred to a ‘proper’ hospital to come awake when his Mum arrived, my reality turned into the fact that I would never hear Luke’s voice again, never lay my eyes on him alive again.
I can’t really remember how I felt at that moment; I can remember feeling sorry for the man who had to break the news, what an awful thing to have to do. I just wanted to find my boy, see him and go home.
I had 2 other children and 2 step-children who had to be told the news; that task would fall to my kids’ father and my younger brother. I can only imagine what a hard task that must have been. Luke wasn’t an easy brother/step-brother to have, but all 4 kids loved him.
As far as practicalities were concerned Luke was in Surat Tani, a name I’ve had to look up! How can I not remember where my son died?? A good thing in a way I suppose.
That was a flight from Bangkok so a dash to the airport to buy flights the next day was needed. After scary taxi journeys there and back, we very bizarrely ate dinner, not the only time in my life that food has tasted of absolutely nothing but sustenance was needed I guess.
Bearing in mind the events at home on the Sunday, it was very hard to take comfort from my husband who had come with me (I must add at this point that it was me who’d started the hurt a couple of years earlier) a shower and bed with at least some rest if not sleep during the night went a little way to helping in the awful task that lay ahead.
I have no idea if we ate in the morning or what the flight was like, I’m not a fan of flying but have no recollection of that particular journey. We arrived in Surat Tani and had to brave a taxi to the hospital, we saw amazing sights, 3 people on one scooter, no crash helmets in sight for example.
We arrived at the hospital, a big sprawling place, bear in mind that we had no help whatsoever from the Foreign Office, I hear the term ‘they’re helping relatives’ we saw nobody!
Trying to trace Luke was a nightmare, the reception stated that had no knowledge of him, but that was because they had him listed under the wrong name! Luke Alexander, with Alexander being his middle name.
When we eventually had a mutual understanding that he was the same Luke we were sent to the ward Luke had been on. This next sentence isn’t for the faint hearted, skip over it if you’d be upset.
There was a body lying under a sheet in the corridor outside the ward, shocking to say the very least! We were taken onto the ward, but no Luke; at some we were given medical notes showing that he’d had a head injury, this is the thing that killed him. I’m going to pause here to give a plea….
Go to Thailand it’s clearly beautiful and amazing, but, it’s a dangerous country, don’t do things there you wouldn’t do here, no scooters without a decent crash helmet at least! It seemed that Luke was in the mortuary which was to be expected, we were led down a dusty back street to get there.
The place looked like an office basically; once inside the staff there wouldn’t let us see Luke, we couldn’t understand them and they couldn’t understand us.
We’d been given a contact before we left and the Thai wife of the son of someone my husband knew very kindly spoke to them on the phone. It seemed they wanted money, to pay for the treatment Luke had received. They reluctantly accepted that their bills would be settled by insurance and that we weren’t wanting to take Luke away with us.
We were close to being allowed to see him when a phone call came in from a girl claiming to be Luke’s wife! I can remember thinking, ‘No! This may stop us taking him home!’ But it was accepted that the girl was ‘t a wife, just a girlfriend and the moment came when we were allowed to go through.
At first I couldn’t move and my husband went to see Luke, I needed to see Luke and went through to see my baby on a metal tray, the likes of which you see in CSI, Buddhists have a very different attitude to death, not disrespectful but more accepting. I can had it now that I saw Luke but I didn’t look at him, if that makes any sense at all?
I saw enough to know that was my child lying dead on a tray but I just couldn’t look at him properly. There was the horrible confirmation that life would never be the same again.
We left the morgue and went straight back to the airport, flying on to Bangkok then pretty much straight onto a plane back to England, leaving Luke behind.
I needed to get back to my other children, back to my family. My younger brother picked us up from the airport and took us back to his house.
My mother was there, Luke was her 1st grandchild and she unconditionally adored him, to lose him at 76 must have been devastating, but all she did was give me the biggest of hugs; an amazing woman my Mum.
Time to stop again for this evening, more sad stuff to come but I do promise I’ll move on to funny and happy times, getting Luke home and dealing with bureaucracy next time. I’m sorry if what I’ve written is upsetting, my aim is to let people know there is a new normal after such a terrible loss, call these early ramblings scene setting.