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Life stories: A struggle without mum

KATIE BRADFIELD
Last updated 13:37 27/02/2013
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Left, Halina Bradfield and her daughter Katie in 2008. Right, Halina Bradfield's roadside memorial in 2012.

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It has been 1304 days since I last talked to my mum, since I last heard her voice, since I last laughed with her.

I was 15 when my mum passed away. The hardest part was that my mum was the one person that would have helped me in a situation like this, but she was the one person that was gone.

My mum was an amazing woman and her laugh was infectious. She loved to help people. Mum had worked her butt off while studying to be a councillor. After graduating in 2005, she was determined to help people and didn't stop until she knew she had made a difference.

On July 13, 2009, everything changed.

Mum rang me from work at 1pm to tell me she would be picking me up from my dad's house at 4pm. Little did I know, this was the last time I would speak to her. Four o'clock came and went. My dad arrived home at 5pm and was surprised to see me still at his house. Mum was never late. I started to worry and began contacting my brother to see if she had gone to pick him up first.

He hadn't heard from her.

I stayed at my dad's and we waited. We knew that it had to be serious since mum hadn't contacted anyone and was almost two and a half hours late. I was expecting her to be out helping someone.

At 6:30pm the police arrived with my brother and his girlfriend in tow. I was thinking that my brother was in trouble, because the police had to speak to my dad in private. Dad came back inside, followed by the police, who said the words no child wants to hear: "Sorry, your mum has died in a car crash."

Mum had been driving home to Hamilton from working at the Cambridge Community house, when an 86-year-old man who had a severe allergy to heart medication, had become disoriented at the wheel and crashed in to my mum. She died instantly.

The week that followed was the worst of my life. People walking in and out, police, news reports, funeral planning. For a 15-year-old, it was a lot.

Her funeral was massive. I never expected it to be so big. Hundreds of people turned up to the point where we had to screen her funeral on a TV because not everyone could fit inside the small chapel. Many of mum's friends, colleagues and clients showed up. As much as it was a loss for me, it was a loss for all of these people who mum had been helping to get their own lives back on track.

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It has almost been four years since she died, but it still feels like yesterday. I'm 18 now and am trying to decide whether to go to university or to try and get a job in radio, my dream job. The only thing stopping me is knowing that my mum would be the one helping me decide, and yet she doesn't even know that I have chosen this career path.

I miss her every single day, every day is a struggle without her. But I know that she is watching over my brother, my two-year-old nephew and myself.


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