Bereavement due to traumatic death

William - Interview 18

Male
Age at interview: 48

Brief outline: In 2005 William's 15 year old daughter, Lauren, was crossing a motorway and was hit by a lorry. She died almost immediately. William felt anger and guilt for not being able to protect her. He still misses her very much indeed.

Background: William is a Health and Safety advisor, for the fire service. He has 2 children (1 died). Ethnic background/nationality: White British.

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In 2005 William’s daughter, Lauren, was returning from the city, where she had been rehearsing A Night of Shakespeare, with a school group. She was 15 years old. The teacher and the bus driver allowed her to get off the bus at an unscheduled stop. She tried to cross a motorway and was hit by a lorry. She died almost immediately.
 
As soon as William heard about the accident on the radio he phoned home and was told by a policeman that Lauren had been involved in the accident. William was told to go to the hospital. There he was told that Lauren had died. He met Lauren’s mother and they were both taken into the hospital mortuary to see Lauren. Later there was a post-mortem, and then Lauren’s body was brought home to the house. She lay in an open coffin for a couple of days. There was a church funeral, and then Lauren was buried in the churchyard, next door to her old primary school.
 
William felt strong emotions, including shock, guilt and anger. He wished he had collected Lauren himself rather than letting her travel home by bus. He also felt angry with the bus driver, the teacher and the lorry driver.
 
William has had some informal counselling, and he has also attended a weekend for other bereaved parents, organised by Care for the Family which he found helpful. William has also searched the internet for information about life after death. He believes in the notion of consciousness independent of the body and a transcendent realm, and a continued existence after death.
 
The police did not think that any laws had been broken and so did not start any criminal proceedings. The inquest was held in November 2005. The coroner decided that Lauren had died due to an unfortunate accident.
 
The legal representatives for the school, the bus company, and the lorry driver, all resisted taking the blame for Lauren’s death. William found it very hurtful when they suggested that the accident might have been Lauren’s fault.
 
William says that he has now accepted Lauren’s death. He wants other people to remember her, and finds it hard when people seem to forget about her. He talks to the media on behalf of the road Charity, Brake, in order to prevent other road deaths. He finds it helpful talking about Lauren because he is proud of her and what she achieved. William also finds it helpful to take an interest in activities, such as acting, that Lauren was interested in. He revels in things that remind him of Lauren.
 
William was interviewed in 2008.

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