Tragic crash leads mum to offer support to grieving parents
WHEN police arrived at Margaret Taylor's Hatton Vale home in the early hours of June 13, 2008, she had no idea her whole world was about to be turned upside down.
"I was getting ready for work when there was a knock on the door at 7am. It was the police and I thought my dogs had gotten out," she said sadly.
"They asked if I was Margaret Taylor and I said yes, and they then asked me if I would like to sit down.
"At first I thought it was something to do with my husband, but they said no. My daughter then began screaming "it's Ben, it's Ben, it's Ben".
Her son Ben, who was only 18, had been killed in a car crash in Canberra near the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA). Ben had been studying political science and training to become a soldier at ADFA before his life was cut short.
"He had recently turned 18, and he was out enjoying a night with his friends," Mrs Taylor said, tearing up.
"They had organised to have a designated driver, and they called him when they were ready to go back home.
"What they didn't know was he had been drinking that night too. He was under the influence of alcohol and was speeding when the car crashed into a barrier near ADFA.
"Ben died straight away. He had a broken artery in his shoulder and a severe head injury. And because he was in the back seat behind the driver, he was squashed between the other passengers and the barrier. Nearly all the bones in his body were broken."
His funeral was held with full military honours, including a 21 gun salute.
"I wanted to jump out of the car," Mrs Taylor said, as she recalled that heartbreaking day.
"Losing a child is like an axe to the soul and a pain that you can never stitch up.
"It's not fair, burying a child. It's not the way it's supposed to be."
So many days and nights following Ben's death were filled with tears and questions of why.
And with today being the 10 year anniversary of Ben's passing, the pain is still very raw for this grieving mother.
But she is bravely sharing her story with the aim of helping other parents who are mourning the loss of a son or daughter.
She has volunteered to start up a group to offer support for bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings in Ipswich, where she now lives.
Compassionate Friends is a worldwide self-help organisation offering friendship and understanding to families following he death of a child, grandchild or sibling.
The first meeting of the Ipswich branch will be held on Saturday, June 16 at the Ipswich City Uniting Church on Ellenborough St, beginning at 10am. The group will then meet on the third Saturday of the month and will be a safe space for anyone who needs to talk.
"I want to help others, so they have someone to lean on, because those early days are hard to get through," Mrs Taylor said.
"I would encourage everyone who feels they need to come along to join us, so we can help hold you up during your time of need.
"We are there to offer support and friendship. This isn't a counselling group. But if someone does need that little bit of extra help, we can help them find someone who they can talk to as well."
Phone her on 0484 619 199 or visit www.compassionate friendsqld.org.au.