The worst day of my life – Part 2

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.

F@ck it.

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. ”

I cried.

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~rant over~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anyhoo….

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.

The worst day of my life – Part 1

was March 1, 2010.

The day my beautiful husband was killed in a car accident.

He had been at the farm all weekend and had come home at 11pm Sunday night.  He was tired.  I was tired.  As usual, I had listened for the distinctive note of his car arriving home and I’d heard that and was drifting off to sleep.  He gave me a kiss and climbed into bed.  Both of us were asleep within minutes.

I started my teaching contract at a nearby high school on the Monday morning so was up early and was kicking him out of bed at 5:45am.

He wandered out and gave me a huge cuddle before telling me about what he’d done at the farm that weekend.
When the kids woke up, they spoke to him about what they’d done on the weekend (had swine flu needles) and Miss K showed him the drawings that she’d made, whilst Mr H was all about the torches and the needing of new batteries.

Next thing we were having our normal morning family cuddle and he was out the door to work with me not far behind getting the kids to their first day in before school care.

I remember feeling really apprehensive driving down the road but kept telling myself that I’d only work full-time for the first contract and then see if I could get part-time work so that the kids weren’t in childcare every morning and afternoon.  Now I wish I’d had more time to listen to that internal alarm bell……

I spent the morning getting to know my new students and teaching them a unit on forces and energy … based on car accidents. irony.

The kids were lovely for each class.

At 3pm, I’d offered to do a bus duty for another teacher and I was walking back into the building from duty when I got the first tangible indication that my life had effectively blown apart – the deputy had come to find me, muttering something about my kid’s school and the police needing me to drive the 20 minutes home to my mother’s house very carefully.

Of course I rang my kid’s school straight away and was put straight through to a police woman who urged me to drive straight home as carefully as  I  could.

I screamed “tell me my kids are OK“.

“Your kids are OK” she said.

Tell me what’s wrong” I said.

Drive straight home to your Mum’s house” she said.

So I try to call G and tell him that something bad has happened and to meet me at Mum’s but I get the front desk at his work instead of him and I’d rung his direct number… and they told me he couldn’t come to the phone right now and I was put on hold.  I hung up.

By this time I knew something was Very Wrong and I drove those 20 minutes home screaming “Please God let them be OK” the whole way home.

The police don’t pay social calls.  I knew this.

I knew someone was either seriously injured or dead.

If not my kids then my mother

or my father

or my husband.

I turned the corner into my parent’s street.
There was a police car parked out the front.

This is real I thought.

I remember thinking ” this is where I find out what has happened – am I ready to know?”

I remember pulling up in Mum’s driveway and two police officers came out to the car followed by my

Mum… in tears.

They told me there had been an accident and they thought G was involved.

Where is he I asked.

The policeman kept talking – unfortunately he appears to have died at the scene.

I screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed.   I don’t recall stopping.

I tried to hop back in the car.  I think I wanted to drive back to where this wasn’t real. To where I didn’t know what had happened.

Somebody led me up the stairs.  I sat down.  I kept screaming.  I wanted to vomit but couldn’t.

The policeman said that there was another thing he had to tell me…. they were only 99% sure it was G.  They weren’t able to tell from the photo on his driver’s license in his wallet.

That thought sunk in.

I screamed again and again.

The police chaplain was called.

Someone must have told me the kids were at a neighbour’s house.  I wanted to see them but I didn’t want to see them.  Then I would have to tell them.  How the hell do you tell a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old that their beloved Daddy has died?

…. to be continued when I stop crying…..