How Legacy saved us
Navy widow’s tribute to charity
JESSICA Craig thought Legacy was just a charity that helped “little old war widows” — until they stepped in after her husband, a sailor in the Australian Navy, was killed in a motorbike accident in 2017.
“My dad was in the army so you would see the old war widows every year selling the little cute military bears and I always bought one, but I had no idea what Legacy did until my husband died,” she said.
Ms Craig’s husband Pete was hit by two cars while on a ride with his best mate in Western Sydney in February 2017.
The pair had been married for less than three years and had welcomed their first child just eight months earlier.
“I bundled Jaxon up and we raced to Liverpool Hospital. I knew nothing, all I knew was that he was in a motorcycle accident and he was in hospital,” she said. “I never thought he was dead.”
After being led across the emergency room floor where she kept trying to spot her husband in one of the beds, she was ushered into a small room where two doctors told her Pete hadn't made it.
“I just kept repeating, ‘it's not true, it's not true, it's not true’ because it was nothing that I'd even thought to expect,” Ms Craig said.
Pete, whose own father had been killed by a drunk driver when he was just five, had been overjoyed by Jaxon’s arrival.
“He was so besotted by Jaxon, he’d do anything for him,” she said. “He’d said he didn't really have memories of his dad because he was so young when he died and he wanted to be the father he didn't have.”
The navy stepped in immediately to offer help. A stream of uniformed friends and colleagues visited the grieving mum and more than 400 turned up at his funeral. But it was an early introduction to Legacy that really helped.
There is the ongoing financial aid that helps Ms Craig with daycare costs for Jaxon and assistance with sporting fees and other activities, but it’s the emotional support that is often most needed.
“It's a really integral support service to veterans and their families and it needs more recognition for what it does,” Ms Craig said.
“It really gives you the opportunity to talk to people who are in the same situation and that support really helps normalise what you've gone through.
“If you're thinking something that you don’t know if it's a bit weird to think, and they're thinking it too then it makes you feel OK about it.”
LEGACY WEEK BEGINS TODAY.
Jessica Craig and Jaxon lost Pete ( inset).