How the hell do you tell a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old that their beloved Daddy has died?
The police chaplain helped me try to make that first phone call – the theory being that I could “practice” telling the kids by first informing a relative.
I tried G’s brother: no answer.
The nice sister-in-law: no answer.
I rang my best friend. Straight to the machine. So I left a message.
I left my lovely friend, who’s like my sister, a message telling her that G had died.
I had to tell someone. Miss K is 7 and she is *smart* she would have known that something was up …
So with the chaplain’s help I decided that I just had to tell the kids.
I sincerely hope that none of you ever have to do this for your kids…..
We sat on the couch them next to me, my Mum and Dad providing extra hugs.
I told them as simply as I could: “I have some very sad news to tell you: Daddy was in a very bad car accident today and the policeman has come to tell us that Daddy died in that accident. “
Miss K cried.
Mr H knew that something was wrong and that we were sad so he probably should be as well. I don’t think he understood fully what I was saying. He later told Ma (my Mum) that “now Mummy will have to get married again and get a new Daddy”. sob.
The next bit is a bit of a blur but I know there were lots of cuddles and hugs and tears.
It must have been sometime after this that the police chaplain had the sense to tell my mother NOT to watch the tv at all that night. The policeman assured her that no names would be released. The chaplain drew her aside and said that the media probably would release the names as they had known since earlier in the day (the accident happened at 10:26 am – I didn’t find out until ~ 3:35pm) and were just waiting for the acknowledgement that the next of kin had been notified so they could run the story.
~~~ brief aside for a short rant on the media~~~
Let it be known that Channel 7 in Queensland have absolutely no moral or ethical sensibility. It’s all about the story and not about the people involved.
Channel 7 are heartless.
Channel 7 revealed the names and ages of the two men on the tv news that night – I know this because I wasn’t able to phone all the immediate relatives in time and several relatives found out from the news which gave the men’s names, ages and place of work.
Why the names and ages of the men are of interest to anyone other than their families remains a mystery to me. Just another angle that the media seem to derive perverse pleasure in setting their own agenda.
The other thing that I’m told they said on the news was that “speed was possibly a factor”. Really? The coroner still hasn’t told me the cause so I’m rather surprised that the great god of media has such a clear insight and can use the heartache of two families to push their agenda. The fact that they couched that statement with “possibly” does not make it OK.
WTF do they know? These men were professional drivers carrying out their professional job of assessing a car that had come into the workshop. This was their bread and butter. Each of them were professionally trained in defensive driving and were for all intents and purposes – expert drivers. The fact that it was a “sports car” would have meant nothing to them. Nothing. They each owned vehicles that were very high-powered and waaaaay cooler than the poxy little sports car they were testing.
Channel 7 should grow some compassion when they play with people on the nightly news.
Channel 7 are yet to formally hear from me – but they will.
Next thing out lovely minister from church was there, hugging us all and praying with us. The fact that he is our current minister make me know how real God is. This bloke is awesome, intelligent and compassionate. AND he looks like Jay La-gaia. AND he is married to the most awesome woman AND they have four children of their own AND have just taken in their orphaned nieces and nephews. He has been a rock for me these past weeks. I think he may just be an angel in disguise…..
Sometime later, a kind neighbour drove me home to collect some clothes and toiletries for the kids and I and then I was back at my folk’s house. Somewhere in that brief visit I managed to tell this kind man that G had promised to fix the washing machine when he got home from work that day … and so this kind man set about fixing the washing machine while I gathered clothes and pillows and comforting toys for the kids.
We must have driven back to Mum’s house. I don’t really remember – I was lost in the fuzz that is shock and didn’t take in many other details.
Then my best friend – my *chosen sister* – was there with her husband: he cuddled my kids and read them stories and let me be with my friend.
Somehow we got through that first evening and all found beds at my parent’s house. The kids fell asleep through sheer exhaustion and I spent the night hugging G’s pillow and shivering – it was about 30 degrees C and I was shaking like a leaf.
I may have slept a little. I don’t remember. The screaming in my head didn’t stop.
It was the longest night of my life.