Sunrise January 12th 2008
To me, now, this is a significant date. On January 12th last year, a Friday, I had a phone call from our Police Family Liason Officers, Jan and Gary.
She had personally taken the trouble to ring, although she was not at work.
I can hardly believe it was a year ago.
The reaon for the call was to warn me that on the breaking news was the story of the crash once more. The lorry driver had unexpectedly decided to plead guilty, and was being taken to Stafford Crown Court.
I was completely thrown by this, as we were expecting a fullblown trial in March. As it happened we were spared all that. The sceduled date for the sentence hearing was laid down now as 9th February. (07). She also warned me that it was big in the media and all the photos and accident footage would be on tv. So, I sat down and watched, like a moth to a flame...............................
I could see Chris's car, a mangled wreck, and the lorry on its side, and the accident and emergency services all over the motorway. I wanted to know the worst............and it was as if I was another person viewing all the horror that had encompassed my son and his friend.
I had to make several phone calls then, to warn the rest of the family to be aware of the news. I didn't want those who used the train to see it on the internal tv's there. I was just about functioning through the afternoon as it wore on, and the crushing weight of tiredness returned.
All I could think of was " What did they think about just before it happened? Did they see the lorry coming? Did they pray? Did they suffer? How bad were their injuries? (The last question I could not think about too deeply, as it made me very frightened. )
It took several more months of pondering, agonising and praying, until I knew that I would have to speak to the person who identified them both at the Mortuary. He came to see us one evening in July (07), and I was finally able to put that piece of my jigsaw in place.
Looking back now, to those early frantic days, just after the accident, it seems like a dream........ I just simply don't know how we got through it all. I guess shock kicks in and you function on adrenalin, seeing visitors, receiving meals, cards, letters, phone calls, organising a Thanksgiving service, and a date. In those early days, I hardly slept, and the pain had not really started, as it had not really sunk in then that this was forever.................
I cannot remember how we chose the coffin, only by asking Stephen later did I realise he did it on his own, and he did so because he thought it was better that way.............................so many things I don't know about. What was Alan doing? What did I do about Heidi? I know she stayed here for almost 3 months.........
The house was overtaken by a tidal wave of people, who showed us so much love and care, it was an amazing outpouring that we will never forget. And that care continues to this day, 16 months on. It was so comforting to know that Matt had touched so many lives.
I wrote my first blog, "Diary of A Teapot" on Thursday, 28th September 2006, the day before Alan's 22nd birthday, when we were surrounded by over 300 cards that folk had sent to us after Matt died, and we cleared a space in one room for the birthday cards, so they did not sit with the ones of condolence.
I cannot forget the smell in the house...........................it was filled with flowers and even now, if I catch the scent of lilies it makes my heart pound and my throat go dry, and I can feel the overwhelming pain once more. Lilies are forever for me synonymous with those days.
At the moment I am reading a book called "Dear Charlie. Letters to a Lost Daughter".
I began to read it several months ago and found it too raw. Timelord has read it. Charlie was 13 when she was killed outright an a level crossing near her home. She had 2 brothers.
I quote from it now:
" I find it very difficult to write about what happened that day. Eight months on, we are still trapped in the surreal nightmare that descended on us that fateful morning. For the first month after the accident we were never alone. Friends, relatives, kindly strangers, all manner of people beat a path to our door. The madness was kept at bay by a miraculous outpouring of love............
For me, then, as it is now, and I know it always will be, I must find a way to keep a connection with my daughter. I began to write to her, talking to her as if she was away on holiday............"
Here is a man, seeking to make the jump across the big divide between life and death. To him it doesn't make sense if this life is all there is, and he has no recognised faith. But to read his soul searching is to realise that man, when confronted with death in its rawness, simply cannot accept the finality.
That made me realise that I did not, and still do not, seek a connection with Matt in that way. From the first moment I knew he had died, I also knew he was safe. What I find myself doing is wanting to see where he is, with Chris and Jesus and the countless, countless others, and to be there at times. God is used to me telling Him all this!!