One punch can change everything. Although it’s over in a second, its power to devastate lives can be felt forever.
Majinder Randhawa lives with this impact every day. She vividly understands how ferocious the pain is when you lose a loved one to a senseless act of violence. She was there, at her brother’s bedside, when they turned off his life support machine.
Her nightmare started in the early hours of October 12, 2011, when two police officers knocked on the door of her family home.
She said: “I saw them through the window and woke my sister and we both answered the door.
“One of the officers asked if this is the residence of Jagdip Randhawa. The fact that they were at our doorstep and asking about my brother at that time of morning; we knew it was bad news. They came in and told us to sit down.
“They told us that Jagdip was in Leeds General Infirmary with serious head injuries and we needed to get there as soon as we could.
This was the beginning of our whole world tipping off its axis and for everything to change beyond anything we could ever imagine.
Jagdip, 19, had been punched by a man and as he fell, had hit his head on a concrete kerb, causing a traumatic brain injury.
Majinder said when they arrived at the hospital, they were immediately taken to a waiting room.
She said: “I remember walking up to where he was and there were so many machines. He had a tube in his mouth, more tubes in his arms, wires stuck to his chest and there were so many beeps and buzzes from the machines.
“The most precious person in our lives was lying in front of us and there was nothing that we could do to help him.”
The family sat in the waiting room for five days, hoping, praying, begging the doctors to save Jag’s life. Jag’s friends from university, from home and his family were all squashed into the small room willing him to pull through, to get better.
But Jag never regained consciousness.
On the morning of October 17, a doctor came into the waiting room and told the family that they had tried everything and that Jagdip was not going to survive his injuries. They told the family it was time to say goodbye.
Majinder said: “We were all around his bedside. My mum was holding his hand and was kissing his cheek when they turned off the life support machine. I can’t remember how long after this the nurse came over and said that Jagdip had died.
“In Punjabi, the word ‘Jag’ means ‘the world’. Jag was the youngest member of my family. The pain that we feel is indescribable; we are crippled with it and see no way out of it.”
During the criminal trial that followed, the family learned that the man who killed Jag was a professional boxer. He had many prior convictions for violence and the night he punched and killed Jag, he was on bail for another alleged assault.
Majinder said: “Jag was killed for absolutely no reason at all by someone who had the skills to inflict maximum damage on another human but none of the discipline that a professional boxer should show.”
Majinder is now supporting Headway to raise awareness of the dangers that one blow can carry.
That one heated moment in time will ruin many lives including that of the perpetrator who has to live with the knowledge that they are responsible for taking someone’s life.
This site offers those who have lost loved ones to brain injury a way in which to share precious memories with family and friends in a safe, secure and private space. Visit the site at headwayinmemory.org.uk
If you would like support following a bereavement please contact the Headway helpline on 0808 800 2244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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