Tragic crash ends life

Mum to of­fer sup­port to other griev­ing par­ents

The Queensland Times - - News - ASH­LEIGH HOWARTH ash­

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.

“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 of her ride to the fu­neral.

“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.

And with yes­ter­day 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 is form­ing a group to sup­port 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 the death of a child, grand­child or sib­ling.

The first meet­ing of the Ip­swich branch will be held on Satur­day, at the Ip­swich City Uniting Church on El­len­bor­ough St, at 10am. The group will then meet on the third Satur­day of the month.

“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 0484 619 199 or visit­pas­sion­ate­friend­

Photo: Rob Wil­liams

LIFE LOST: Mar­garet Tay­lor lost her son Ben in a car crash in 2008 and has started a sup­port group for other par­ents who have lost loved ones.

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