“The children don’t have Christmas lists or want anything at Christmas, because all they want is their big brother and I can’t give them that. I wish I could.”
Christmas is one of the hardest times of the year for heartbroken Beckie Ramsay.
She can no longer watch her oldest son, Dylan, open his presents or tuck into his Christmas lunch.
Dylan was just 13 when he died in July, 2011 at a quarry in Whittle-le-Woods.
And his death is particularly felt over the festive season by Beckie, her husband Jdee and their children Stephen, now 14, Joshua, 12, and eight-year-old Annie.
Beckie, of Church Hill, Whittle-le-Woods, said: “All year is bad and Christmas time is worse because it’s a family time.
“It’s the time when we should all be together.”
Dylan, a pupil at Parklands High School, loved Christmas.
Beckie said: “He loved all the excitement of it and trying to get a present out of us on Christmas Eve. We did give in on Christmas Eve – we wanted to get in the Christmas spirit.”
Christmas was a “big family affair” for the Ramsays and Dylan would celebrate with his parents, siblings, cousins, aunt, uncle and grandparents.
Beckie, 34, said: “He loved the fact that we got together as a family. He really enjoyed family time.
“He was a person who liked to spend time with his friends, but at Christmas he would be at home with mum and dad. I think he liked that.
“He loved snow and he loved Christmas weather.”
Dylan and his siblings would always wake up early on Christmas Day to open their presents and he would wear new clothes.
Beckie remembers Dylan looking up cocktails they could make one Christmas and getting his tongue stuck to a lamp-post another year.
“One day he came home and all his mouth was bleeding. He thought it was funny to stick his tongue to a lamp-post but it got stuck,” she said.
“He had blood dripping everywhere but he found it hilarious. He was the joker.”
But Christmas is very different now.
The family put up their Christmas tree last weekend, but Beckie has struggled to do her Christmas shopping.
She said: “Every time I go out to the shops or go online, there is something there I could have got for Dylan.”
Beckie is determined to buy presents for her kids and has bought a few small items for Dylan, such as plaques wishing him a merry Christmas.
And his sister, Annie, bought candles for Dylan, which she will light on the nights before Christmas Day.
Last year, the family went to Beckie’s father’s house on Christmas Day.
“Everybody made an effort to come together,” she said. “It was for the family’s benefit, because we were all suffering.
“It wasn’t the same though. We had our Sunday dinner and did all the Christmas Day things, but it was nothing like it should have been.”
Beckie and her family have not yet decided how they will spend Christmas this year.
But whatever they decide to do, Dylan will still be a part of it, and the family will take the urn containing his ashes.
Beckie said: “I always light a candle for Dylan at Christmas. I always say a few words about the fact that he’s missing and how much he’s missed and how much we love him.”
But sadly, Beckie knows she will not be able to spend the day with her oldest son.
She said: “I would trade everything in the world just to have Dylan back.
“Many other parents out there are in my situation, and I’m sure they all feel the same.
“There will be an empty space this year and every year.”
Following Dylan’s death, Beckie launched the Doing It For Dylan campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of swimming outdoors.
She hopes her campaign, for which she has won awards, will prevent other families losing a loved one.
And she has encouraged people to be careful around open water this Christmas.
She said: “I say to everyone going out over the festive period who is drinking – alcohol is often an issue where death in outside water is concerned.
“Don’t take a shortcut near water or a canal or a river. Take the long way round.
“The ice and being out of control drinking – just that slip or fall can change Christmas from being a merry one to a disastrous one.”
Beckie also wants to have adverts warning of the dangers of swimming in open water to be shown on television.
To sign her petition, go to epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/71217.