Life Stories: Lessons unlearnt

Last updated 05:00 19/09/2012
Beth Watkinson - killed by a drunken driver.

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My sister Beth died 25 years ago - killed by a drunken driver while her unborn child lay cradled in her belly. The man who killed her was 63 - Beth was 26. Her daughter had 14 more weeks to go to start her life.

The price of my sister's life was $2000 and a six-month suspended licence - for him. For me and my family, it has been years of grief, loss and anger. I clearly remember someone telling me it would get easier with time and you do get used to the absence, but never to the loss.

Beth Watkinson was a bright, blue-eyed blonde who had found her calling as a healer. She was one of the first massage therapists in New Zealand and was training as a herbalist. She was engaged, planning a wedding, happy and full of life, until the 26th of June, 1987, when her life was taken.

Today I look at the penalties for drunken drivers and I realise we have learnt nothing in the last 25 years. We still treat these deaths like a bit of an "oops" because we still see alcohol abuse as a bit of a joke. That's the real tragedy.

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