Bereavement due to traumatic death

Martin - Interview 10

Age at interview: 43

Brief outline: Martin's wife had a part time job as a lollypop lady. When she was standing on the pavement, she was hit by a bus, and died instantly. Martin was shocked. He is bringing up two children, which is a heavy responsibility. Counselling has helped him.

Background: Martin is a Househusband (ex-warehouse manager). He is a widower and has 2 children. Ethnic background/nationality' White British.

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Martin’s wife, Steph, had a part-time job as a lollypop lady. She helped the children cross the road when they came out of school. One day in September 2006 she was standing on the pavement when a bus went out of control. It crossed the reservation and hit Steph. Martin was on his way to the school to meet his daughter. He heard the loud bang and raced to see what had happened. He was shocked to see that Steph was under the bus. The emergency services arrived very quickly and a policeman told Martin that Steph had died.
Martin had the terrible task of having to tell his two children what had happened. His daughter was only five years old. His son was fifteen. His daughter was shocked but it took a while before it really dawned on her that her mother wasn’t coming back. She developed behavioural problems and needed help from BEST, an educational support team. His son became moody and withdrawn for a while. Both children miss their Mum very much indeed.
After Steph died Martin had to go to the hospital morgue to do a formal identification. He was shocked to feel how cold she was and to see the bruising on her face.
The funeral took place about two weeks after Steph died. Martin managed to say a few words. The church was packed with people. Then Steph was buried in the cemetery. Martin’s son went to the funeral, but Martin did not take his young daughter, which now he regrets.
After Steph died Martin felt desperately sad and at times contemplated suicide. He went to see his doctor, who gave him some tablets and arranged some emergency counselling. Martin found the counselling helpful. This was paid for by the NHS. Later Martin had some cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which was paid for by the bus company. The therapist helped Martin to see that it was alright to feel desperately unhappy but that he must decide to get on with his life and face the future. Martin found the therapy so helpful that he paid for an extra two sessions himself. It cost about £100 an hour.
There was a police family liaison officer who was supposed to let Martin know what was happening but Martin did not find him very helpful or sympathetic.
The case against the bus driver came to court in May this year, 2008. The bus driver was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, but the case was dismissed after four days because an expert witness said that there was a 5-7% chance that the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel due to a sleep disorder. Martin still does not know why the bus went out of control and why Steph was killed that day. As the result of the court case the coroner decided that he knew when, where and how Steph had died so he did not have an inquest. This made Martin angry because he had hoped to find out what had happened and why Steph had died.
Since Steph’s death Martin has found it hard to continue with his social life. Babysitting is expensive and Martin found that he couldn’t continue to play in his band because that meant traveling at weekends. However, Martin is glad that he has been able to care for his daughter. She is now doing really well.
Martin joined the WAY foundation (Widowed and Young) and has taken his daughter to some of the activities that they have organised. However, he does not want to dwell on other people’s sad stories so is less involved now. He has also been involved with Brake, the road safety charity Martin is sorry that family and friends have not been supportive. They were there at the time when Steph died but since then they have mainly disappeared or lost touch. Martin feels very isolated at times.
Since Steph died Martin has been caring for his children, and so has been unable to work. He finds the housework difficult and at times feels that life has lost its purpose. He misses Steph terribly. They had a very happy marriage and Martin does not feel ready to meet anyone else for the moment. He is focused on his children and wants to do the best for them. He feels a great weight of responsibility and fears what may happen in the future. He takes one day at a time.
Martin was interviewed in 2008.


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