A woman has spoken about the devastating moment her new husband collapsed and died in front of her, minutes after they had been laughing and joking around.
Tom Slaymaker, 37, died in January 2019 after he collapsed in his kitchen and stopped breathing.
His wife, Leanne Slaymaker, 40, desperately began CPR on him, and though paramedics worked for nearly an hour to save him, he was pronounced dead.
The pair — who had got married just four months before the tragedy — had recently come down with flu. A doctor had told Mr Slaymaker that his heart rate was a ‘bit fast’ but said it was nothing to worry about.
Ms Slaymaker, from Portishead, Somerset, now wants to speak out now to help others who have tragically and suddenly lost a partner to help them see that there is a way through the grief.
She said: “We had known each other for about five to six years by the time he passed, but had only been married for four months.
“He was a very loud, friendly, happy man and it was just a shock – I didn’t think this sort of thing happened but it does.
“I waited my whole life to be married and found true love for four months – and then my husband died suddenly at home in front of me.”
Of their wedding, Ms Slaymaker said: “We were married in August 2018 – we only had a little town hall registry office wedding and then we had a reception at the Bridge Inn in Yatton.
“Everyone just loved it, it’s not always about what you spend, it’s about making a good day for each other."
“Come December we both had the flu and didn’t think much of it went, it went on for about two weeks so I took him to the doctor who said his heart was a bit fast but it was nothing to worry about and prescribed him some steroids.
“We got up on 6 January and were laughing and joking 10 minutes before – the next thing he’s collapsed and while I was on the phone to the paramedics, he stopped breathing.
“I did CPR until the paramedics got here, there were eight of them in total and they all ended up doing CPR – after fifty minutes they said they were sorry but he was gone.
“They showed me a scan of his heart and said there was no blood going to it."
A post-mortem examination found Mr Slaymaker had bronchitis, pneumonia and an enlarged heart, which had caused his organs to shut down.
“I spent two and a half years not wanting to live or move on but you have to for the kids," Leanne said.
"It’s taken us a long time but they’re starting to live – especially my youngest daughter who suffered the most.
“Tom was a very loud but loveable person – he'd do anything for anybody, you’d certainly know when he was in a room and he would do anything for the ones he loved.
“We’ve just been talking and opening up about it and talking to one another as a family, every anniversary we always light some candles – he was a big part of our lives and he’s never forgotten.
“Even if it helps somebody to know that as much as you feel like there is no way out, there is – the sun will shine again and you can carry on with life and carry them with you.
“When you’re in that you don’t think there is a way out, but there is.”