Motorcyclist's death torments widow, kids
Karyn Blair counts the hours and minutes since the moment she was widowed and her four children made fatherless.
Her husband, Ross Blair, was on a motorcycle ride with a friend when he died after his bike and a truck and trailer unit collided at a Wardville intersection near Matamata on March 8.
Ross Blair was 45.
The truck driver, Matthew Walter Hill, appeared in the Morrinsville District Court yesterday for careless driving.
He was remanded without entering a plea and will reappear on July 23.
That day in March is etched in Karyn Blair's mind and the time since then has been torment.
"It's been a s... four months," Blair said.
She doesn't bother looking at the time. She knows when the crash happened, that she was in the kitchen at the time and how long she has been without her husband.
"Seventeen weeks, five days and an hour ago."
Blair's death was one of six in the first three months of the year and left the Manawaru community without one of its giants.
"Ross was a big guy - he was 6ft 4 and 117kgs - so to hear him described by the undertakers when they wouldn't let us have him home because he was too fragile and delicate was very hard."
The sharemilker loved to swim, was a surf lifesaver, navigated for a friend on the rally car scene but was passionate about motorbikes.
An experienced rider with kilometre after kilometre under his belt on the roads and on the farm, he rode Hampton Downs and the Taupo race circuits, clocking 320kmh under controlled conditions.
Karyn Blair said she and Ross had just reached a point in their lives where their children were becoming more independent and they were financially "sweet". But the tragedy had come as a major setback.
She had to break the news to her children, Sophia, 18, Libby, 15, Jeremy, 14, and Jack, 12, and said it was like beating them one minute and hugging them the next.
Her children have gone from happy-go-lucky to sad and angry and have struggled to cope with the loss of their dad."They've had their dad taken, their childhood taken, their financial security taken, their way of life taken . . ."
Jack had his 12th birthday recently and Libby will turn 16 next week and is preparing to go to her first school ball.
"Ross would've just been: ‘Wow, that's my baby girl and look at her now.' "
The tears still flow at the Blair house as Jeremy and Libby have contemplated a future without their dad, and Karyn struggles to find a way to make their pain stop.
"Who wants to listen to their kids cry themselves to sleep at night, who wants to hear a 14-year-old boy say ‘Dad's never going to meet my babies'. That sort of thing shouldn't even enter a 14-year-old boy's head."
Ross was the person Karyn would grumble to at night, the person who grumbled back, the one who made it better, who made it worse and who held her in the dark times.
"I've lost me bestie, really," she said. "It's all just gone because it's too hard to look."