Proposal Ended in Funeral
Danielle and Craig were planning their future – then tragedy struck
locking my front door, I heard someone give me a wolf whistle. ‘Morning gorgeous!’ It was Craig Voyce – he was 14, and his family had just moved in across the road.
A right Jack the Lad, everyone knew him.
I ignored him, rolled my eyes. I was two years older, with a boyfriend.
Still Craig winked, blew kisses. Boys, eh?!
Then one day, two years later, Craig sent a flirty message on Facebook.
‘He hasn’t changed,’ I thought, chuckling to myself.
But I replied.
We started chatting after that, then hanging out.
Craig had the gift of the gab – but he was sweet and kind, too.
Before I knew it, I’d fallen in love with the annoying boy across the road!
Months later, I moved in with his family.
‘I’m going to put a ring on your finger and a baby in your belly,’ Craig teased. Charming! Marriage and kids hadn’t been on my radar.
But now I’d met Craig, it was all I wanted.
In November 2011, we had our first baby.
Rocky-lee was a complete surprise to us.
Craig was only 18 but doted on his son.
And when Rocky
Lee was 1, I fell pregnant again.
We moved into our own place in Southend.
Soon, I had Craig Junior, now 3, and then SummerRose, 2.
‘You’ve put three babies my belly, so where’s my ring?’ I laughed jokingly. ‘One day!’ Craig winked. The house was hectic, but I loved every second.
Especially at Christmas time!
On Boxing Day 2015, all the families were together.
After lunch, I noticed everyone was fidgeting.
My dad Tony nudged Craig. ‘Go on, Son, do it now,’ he whispered a bit too loudly!
Craig stood up, pulling
A right Jack the Lad, everyone knew him!
me to my feet, too. And suddenly everyone whipped out their mobiles.
Craig took my hand. ‘Marry me?’ he squeaked. ‘Yes!’ I screamed, and everyone cheered.
Soon, every waking moment was spent wedding planning. I wanted every thing big. Big dress, big buffet, big bar…
And to be surrounded by our family and friends.
‘It’ll be perfect,’ Craig smiled. He could be a soppy devil.
On 28 October 2016, Craig announced he was having a night out with the lads.
‘I won’t be too late,’ he said, dancing round the kitchen with Summer-rose.
‘Be careful,’ I said as he snatched up his motorcycle
helmet and went out the door.
Earlier that year, he’d broken both his legs in a crash.
‘Don’t worry,’ Craig said, kissing me. ‘Love you.’
He still wasn’t back when I went to bed...
The kids had worn me out! But, at 1.30am,
I awoke suddenly. The bed was empty.
I looked at my phone, which had been on silent.
I had 20 missed calls from my parents and Craig’s.
Just then, Craig’s dad Robert called.
‘Craig’s had an accident,’ he said. ‘You need to come to hospital.’
My stomach flipped as he told me that Craig had been in a collision with a hit-and-run driver.
He’d been airlifted, unconscious, to London’s Royal Free Hospital
– 90 minutes away – with severe head injuries.
Frantic, I arranged for the kids to go to my aunt’s house.
Then my mum Karen picked me up.
An hour into the journey, Robert called me again. ‘He’s gone, Danielle,’ he sobbed.
My world stopped still.
‘No,’ I screamed. I’d lost everything.
When we got to the hospital half an hour later, I felt numb.
Craig’s family crowded around his hospital bed.
He was battered and bruised, wires everywhere.
I waited for him to wake up and wink and tell me it was all a joke.
But it wasn’t.
I sat for hours stroking his hair, holding his hand.
Craig was just 23 years old. A daddy of three. My soulmate.
Doctors turned off his lifesupport, there was nothing more they could do.
We’d had our whole lives planned, together.
But later that day, I made my way home. Alone.
The kids asked where Daddy was.
‘He’s in heaven now, he’s the brightest star in the sky,’ I told them.
They were too young to really understand.
Instead of a wedding, I planned my fiance’s funeral.
More than 100 people turned up, but it didn’t feel real.
Life’s on hold
Christmas passed in a blur.
Family rallied round and, together, we did our best for the kids.
But in the midst of the smiles and gifts and Christmas songs, I’d never felt so alone.
The pain didn’t ease, just grew more familiar as the following year moved on.
This July, the other driver involved in the collision admitted failing to stop at a road traffic accident, but he wasn’t to blame for the crash.
Craig had been driving too fast. And paid with his life. For us, life still feels on hold. I still wear Craig’s engagement ring. Haven’t even changed my Facebook status.
I’m dreading Christmas without him.
This year it’s just me and the kids.
I’ll put on a brave face, shower them with love and presents.
But inside, I’ll be pining for the Jack the Lad who stole my heart. Their daddy.
I’ve told them he’s a star In the sky now... I waited for him to wake up, tell me it was all a joke...
His surprise Boxing Day proposal!
My love, my soulmate: Craig