My eldest daughter was only twelve when I killed her.
It was a cold Saturday morning, and my youngest daughter had just finished playing netball, she was grumpy because her team had lost, and she was arguing with her sister about sitting in the front seat.
“Muuum!” my oldest girl moaned “It’s MY turn!”
I lost my temper “That’s enough you two! I’m sick of the fighting! It’s Bryers turn in the front and that’s that!”
Both girls stopped arguing and jumped into the car and put their seat belts on. We left the netball courts and began the long drive home. I started feeling sorry for growling them, so I stopped at a bakery and brought treats for the drive home. Back on the road again, I smiled at my oldest daughter as I handed her a piece of cake, I then passed my youngest daughter hers in the backseat. I only took my eyes off the road for a split second when I heard the crunch of gravel as our car started veering off the road, I quickly swerved the steering wheel to straighten us up, but I must have swerved too hard, and our car started fish-tailing out of control. It all happened so fast, yet so slowly at the same time. I remember feeling our car spinning across the road, and I remember seeing another car driving towards us. I don’t remember the bang of our car hitting the other car. I don’t remember the first few minutes after the crash.
The first thing I remember is realizing that I was sitting in the back seat, witness’s said I climbed out of my door and into the back seat to check my youngest daughter. Her leg was trapped, and she had a huge hole above her eye, other than that she was conscious and calm. No-one knows if I checked my eldest girl in the passenger seat, and to this day it haunts me that maybe I didn’t…
I remember the police and ambulance arriving, followed by a firetruck to cut my daughters out of our car.
The next half hour is a blur to me.
A police officer came and told me that the rescue helicopter was on its way to take my daughters to hospital, I would go in an ambulance – I was in shock and didn’t fully comprehend how serious their injuries were.
I remember being in the ambulance, when suddenly I felt something break inside of my heart – that’s the best way I can describe it – something died inside of me… I started to panic, “Bryer has died” I said to the ambulance officer in the back with me “She’s died, she’s died” He tried to calm me down, but couldn’t, so in the end he asked the driver to radio the helicopter…
The reply finally came back that no she hadn’t died, but she was in a serious condition. I couldn’t calm down though – I knew what I had felt.
We got to hospital and my girls were already in surgery. I was put through various tests while a nurse picked bits of glass out of me. The whole time I was crying to know what was happening with my children – I knew Bryer had died, but they kept telling me both girls were alive and in surgery. They kept giving me hope.
Hours passed, and my injuries were treated while my girls were in surgery. I had a broken rib and bruised lung and severe bruising on my brain. It took fifteen stitches to close the wound on my chin up.
No-one would tell me what was happening with my children.
Finally I was wheeled into a room, and I saw my ex-husband there, holding my eldest daughters hand
“It’s a farce” he said “She’s already gone”. He was crying and crying, but I was numb, I just looked at her.
She didn’t have a scratch on her beautiful face, It took many months before I was able to understand how she could be gone when I couldn’t see any injuries. I still don’t understand why they gave me hope, even though I already knew that she had died.
The impact of the crash had caused Bryer’s seat belt to perforate her lung, stopping oxygen from getting to her brain. Her brain had died in the helicopter. The doctors fought to save her, but Bryer’s injuries were too severe.
With our consent, the doctor turned the machine that was keeping Bryer’s heart beating off, and her official time of death is 6.11pm.
My youngest daughter received a broken wrist, and eighty stitches put her face back together (two and half years later and the scar is barely noticeable).
I was charged with driving on an expired licence, and sentenced to one year home detention.
I am nearly at the end of my sentence now – my official sentence, that is. Everyday I cry for my beloved daughter and wish she could forgive me. Everyday I live, knowing that it should have been me who died, and knowing that I can’t ever forgive myself.