My 13 year old son Zac was killed in a car accident on the 3rd of January last year. Over the past year, I have talked to a few people who were grieving parents, but they were mostly mothers.
I REALLY would like to chat to fathers . I truly believe there is bond between fathers and their children that can't really be described properly to a mother.
My son had just reached that age, where we would share private jokes. The ones where i would say "..and don't tell your mother I told you that ". Paddock talk is what one dad said to me. Zac was intelligent and wanting to know the world. We would have amazing long discussions about all different topics.
Zac had reached the age where he was no longer just my son, but my best mate too.
I'm just wanting to chat to people who have joined this awful club.
Re: Looking to chat to fathers who have lost a child
This is going to be an epic saga, please feel free to move on or get some popcorn and sit back
I want to tell the whole story from the beginning. I'm not sure how far back to go.
My ex and I met about 10 years ago, originally we were chatting on a BBS, and eventually we met and started seeing each other. A number of my friends had doubts as to whether it was her or her beautiful 6 week old baby girl, Kaitlyn, that I fell in love with first. She also had 2 boys, Zac (3) and Harrison (18 months). We were together for about 4 years and then married in 1999. 9 months later (it was a very good honeymoon) my daughter Danae was born. I became a stay at home dad for 18 months while my ex went to work, she has a bachelor of social work degree.
Our marriage started falling apart, and then she fell pregnant again. About 3 months after Jared was born we seperated after 3 years of marriage. We still remained very close as friends, and quite frankly we are better friends than we were ever partners. I love my children all 5 of them, I raised them as they were my own. The older 3 had intermitent contact with their natural father and no contact at all for the past 5 years.
6 months later, she was offered a job in Dubbo, which is about 1000km away from where we were. She asked me if she moved would I move too. For me there was no question. I love my children, and the job offer was great, it meant more money for her and the kids. They moved down in October 2003 and I stayed in Brisbane till I found another job in Dubbo, and moved down Christmas Eve 2003.
Initially I stayed in their lounge room, it was supposed to be just a few weeks, but it turned into 3 months.
After I moved out, I saw my kids daily. I would come visit, help their mum, play with them and just chat. We have now been down here for 2 years and it has been the best move for everyone.. The kids are thriving, my ex has a boyfriend, my new job has been a great success.
Whilst I've been back to Brisbane a few times since we moved, my ex , her name is Nancy btw, hasn't been able to due a chronic back pain issue, which makes it hard for her to drive long distances. We had planned a joint trip back in July 2005, but then the radiator in her car blew up and it took all the holiday money to get it fixed. Finally we decided to visit family and friends for Christmas. We arrived as a surprise at her parents place dinner time Christmas eve 2005.
We had originally planned to go up on Boxing day, but Nancy wanted to spend Christmas day with her parents. I drove most of the way, and although it took us about 14 hours to get there, it was a very pleasant trip, we had regular stops, sang and played games with the kids.
I slept in a tent in the backyard of Nancy's parents with the kids for the next 2 days and then I took the 2 youngest ones and moved to a motel I had booked for the week. It really was a fantastic holiday, I took the kids swimming , played card games , went to Mcdonalds. After 2 days, we met and swapped kids again, this time I took the older boys. We met up and swapped twice more after that.
They all stayed at my motel the last night of the holidays as I wanted to be on the road at 4am. We ended up leaving late, but we weren't too concerned, planning to be back in Dubbo about 8 that night. We stopped at various tourist spots along the way, had breakfast on the beach. The van had some engine problems and kept overheating, which meant we had to stop every 100km or so and let it cool. but still it was a relaxing trip. Even when we realized that our home time was getting later and later, none of us were overly upset. Our final stop before home was about 140km from Dubbo. I checked my fuel levels, did some mental calculations and made the judgement we had just enough fuel to get home. I knew it was cutting it fine, but i also knew my bank balance had dwindled after overspendng on the holiday. There were 2 routes to get home.. one on the major highway which was about 160km and the other on a backroad which i use regularly for work which was 140km. I knew that if I took the backroad, there was no more fuel stops and that there was virtually no mobile phone reception the whole distance. After some hesitation, I finally decided that I did have enough fuel to do the trip and I took the backroad.
We travelled about 100km when the engine cut out. I don't know why we ran out of fuel, we should have had enough.
I pulled the car over off the road, turned the hazard lights on, told everyone to stay and started walking. I took 3 mobile phones with me, in the vain hope of getting some signal sooner or later. After about 20 minutes of walking, i managed to flag down a car. This woman was a saint, here she was on a secluded backroad alone in her car at midnight, and she stopped to pick me up. Not only that she drove me the 80km round trip to get the fuel. It took us about an hour and half to do the trip and we chatted and talked about family and the world. She told me she wasn't even supposed to be there that night, she was supposed to be staying at her daughters place in Dubbo, but at the last minute decided to go home. I later found out after speaking to her daughter, that they had had an arguement, but Ann didn't say a cross word the whole time i was with her, She raved about her son in the Navy and her daughter and her 5 year old grandson.
When we finally arrived back at my car, she stayed with us just to make sure we would be ok. I refueled, got everyone back in the car, went to restart and found the battery had gone flat. Ann offered to jump start the car, she parked her car in the middle of the lane next to our car. My son and I stood in between the 2 cars , I connected up the batteries and we waited. We weren't too concerned about her car being on the road, it was about 1.30 am and Nancy had only seen 4 cars pass her the 2 hours I was gone.
After a couple of minutes, we saw a truck come over the hill about 2 km down the road. He had his high beams on and he was in the same lane as Ann's car. We all watched him approaching, at one point Nancy suggested maybe he will stop to help us. After about a minute, I realized he wasn't slowing down, and my first thought was "this F^%&wit isnt even going to slow down, he's gone speed straight past us". None of us for a second thought that he wouldn't be able to see a car parked in the middle of the road. A few seconds later I realized he wasn't even changing lanes. I just screamed "RUN". I don't know how i got out of the way, I just pulled the jumper cables over my head and i moved. I heard a whoosh and a crunch and turned to see the truck crashing off the road into the trees.
I knew straight away Zac was dead, my first thought was "Zac is gone" Our van was pushed 30 metres up the road and smashed into a tree, Ann's car was about 10 metres away in the middle of the road. I ran to her car but she wasn't in it. I called for her.Then I heard my family screaming. It was pitch black, no moon. I ran to my car and Harrison came walking towards me screaming his back was hurting. He has heard me yell and tried to jump out the side door, but only got half way out when the truck hit. I tried to get him to lay down but he just kept screaming. Kaitlyn came out of the darkness towards me, she had been in the rear of the van and had been thrown out as well. I could see she was in shock, and i found a blanket and got her to lay down. I found Nancy hanging up side down out the side door of the van, the impact had broken the back of the front passenger seat and she had been thrown backwards.. Her seatbelt was wrapped so tightly around her thighs, i was concerned it would cut off her circulation, I tried to slide it off her but i couldn't lift her enough. I saw Danae was sitting on the floor of the van, her seatbelt still done up but it was up around her chest and under hr arms. She had been in the back seat as well. Jared was still in his child seat, screaming but looking unhurt.
I finally managed to lift Nancy enough to get the seatbelt off. She was incoherrant and didn't know what had happened. I had to drop her to the ground and rolled her on her side. I went to look for my mobile phones, and i saw the truck driver and his offsider coming towards me with torches. I yelled and screamed at him to stay away from my family. I saw Zac lying in the middle of the road he had been thrown 30 metres up the road, it was like a scene from CSI, I won't tell u what i saw.
Re: Looking to chat to fathers who have lost a child
I grabbed one of his torches and they went up the road. After about 10 minutes i saw a car approaching and i flagged it down, I saw they had little kids in the car and told them to keep them in the car, I asked if they had mobile phone reception but they didn't, and so they drove on to call the police and ambulance. I went back to my family,, moving from one to the other, checking and trying to make them comfortable. It took another 40 minutes for the first police to arrive and the first ambulance was 5 minutes later. I didn't tell any of my family about Zac there, they asked and i told them he was on the other side of the road. They didn't need to know that he was dead yet.
It just became a blur ,, police asking questions, they found Ann a couple of metres from our van .One by one everyone was taken to hospital,, i rode in the ambulance with Kaitlyn, talking and keeping her occupied.
I had to tell Nancy about Zac, she yelled and screamed at me, calling me a liar and I was wrong. It is a sound that i will forever remember, she howled and screamed..
That is my story, a long and complicated path that lead to my sons and a beautiful good samaratin's death.
I do feel guilty about what happened..
I feel like a coward,,, when i yelled "RUN", i just ran,,, i didn't try and save Zac.. I know that if i had,, we would have both died..but that doesn't help my feelings.
Harry, Kaitlyn and Jared were released after a few hours, Harry had bruising to his lower back and buttocks, Kaitlyn had concussion and a 5cm piece of glass in her back. and Jared only recieved bruising from his seatbelts. Nancy and Danae were kept in hospital for over a week. Danae had a total of 26 stitches, in her ears and chest and face. Nancy had a dislocated elbow and a large peice oif flesh missing from her inner arm near her elbow as well as two large hematomoas on both legs from the seatbelt. Nancy spent the next 3 months in and out of hospital and had several operations. She has lost significant use of her left arm and is on constant pain killers.
If you are still reading,, thankyou for listening to my story.
Re: Looking to chat to fathers who have lost a child
Had a nice surprise today.
We recently had a bad bush fire in the state forest near Dubbo. A large section of bushland along the road that we had our accident on was burnt out, the road was closed for a week due to smoke and fallen trees. I was worried that Zac's cross would be burnt. I finally got a chance to go out there today. The fire must have been very intense, as there are huge sections of what used to be forest, and all that is left is a forest of burnt tree trunks. I was fearing the worse as i got closer, but as I came to the last hill before the accident site, I started to see green again. The fire had stopped before reaching that area. As I got closer , I could not only see the cross still on the tree, but some beautiful person had placed a plastic sunflower on it.
It was a truly beautiful surprise. I have no idea who did it, but it made me smile and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.