My wife was a lollipop lady at our daughter’s school. She worked, she had two jobs, the lollipopping was something she really enjoyed even though it was only pocket money for her, really. It’s one little way she had some independence and liked to contribute to the house. She was, she was 35, our daughter was 5 at the time, and so it was a, it was a handy little job because our daughter would sometimes come out of school, and if I was working then she’d wait with her Mum at the lights and help her, and press the buttons and that kind of thing.
And in September 2006 a bus went out of control, crossed the central reservation onto the pavement and hit my wife, Steph, while she was on the pavement, and it was a full size single decker bus. It killed her instantly. I was off work that week and I was picking our daughter up from school and Steph was standing just, kind of, I was only about 100 yards away, but Steph was just round a little blind corner, so I couldn’t quite see the crossing, but I heard the crash and I ran, like I was the first on the scene, and basically I was, you know, I was the first one there.
How awful, I’m so sorry.
You can imagine what I saw.
I went into that hysterical shock, I was screaming, I was swearing, I only remember very, oh subtle little flash backs now, it’s just over two, two years now, but the little things I can remember, the daft things like the sunshine, I remember screaming, “My wife, my wife,” and I remember just the look of horror on people’s faces, the parents that you, you see, day in day out, and just with their hands clasped to their faces, and crying, and what, parents started screaming, I slumped against the, what was left of the school wall, and I couldn’t go up to Steph, I do, I just, I couldn’t, I couldn’t do it, just, because I knew, I knew straight away, it’s hard to explain why I knew but I just, I just knew straightaway. I vaguely remember the bus driver looking under the bus as well, and suddenly in what seemed like a few seconds there was the ambulances and the police there, they were there really, really quickly, I can’t praise them enough.
The next few minutes are quite a blur, I just remember asking this particular ambulance driver if she was, if she was alright, and he kept sitting me down against the wall telling me to wait there, so that kind of reinforced my first instinct that she was dead. And eventually, I just asked him, I said, “Is she gone?” I remember, the very words, and he said, “Yes, I’m afraid she has.” And you just can’t, millions of things are going through you, your mind. I just, I don’t think I cried to be honest with you, I just, the shock was so great, oh automatically, because I’m, maybe it’s just the sort of person I am thinking about the future, straight away, not, not even the short term future, I’m thinking about this void that’s ahead for the rest of my life, I don’t, I don’t know why I thought that at the time, but it was just something that I vividly remember thinking, my life has changed forever and it, and then the actual grief of missing Steph and you know I wanted to spend the rest of my life, we had a happy marriage, the actual grief didn’t start for a good few hours.