Honorary Life Director - Australian Lead
1.36 am 3rd of January 2006.
That's the moment my world as I knew it changed forever. What started as a family holiday full of happy memories was now an image burned into my mind of my son laying mangled in the middle of the road, our van smashed beyond recognition and my family screaming in pain. As the "man" (and as the only one to walk away without significant injuries) my role was clear. I was the one to call family and friends, I was the one to talk to the police, I was the support for the family, but there was no support for me. I had no peers I could talk to that could truly understand.
Being a tech-savvy person, my first place to look for help was online. I scoured the internet looking for answers, looking for something to help me make sense of what has happened. My search took me to online forums for grieving parents and they were truly helpful.
Finally, I was amongst people who had walked my path. The only people who could truly understand the pain and anguish of losing a child.
My heart and my mind finally had a place where I could openly talk about Zac and the accident. I knew that I could talk about anything and everything going through my head and I wouldn’t be judged, but there was one thing missing.
All these fantastic, wonderful, lifesaving forums were in the majority populated by the mothers. Where were the men/the fathers?
Oh sure, there were a few hardy souls like myself reaching out, searching for answers; but mostly it was the mothers talking about their child/their loss. Surely, I couldn’t be the only man looking for answers, and I noticed something, the men didn’t talk in the same way as mothers.
Whilst mothers were looking for emotional support, we were looking for practical answers, something that would help us deal with our loss. So I started creating my own forums trying to get fathers talking. This being a time before Facebook, I used yahoo groups and proboards trying to reach out, but I never reached enough people.
Then I found Daddy's with Angels on Facebook. It was like everything that I had dreamed of creating. Here were fathers openly talking about their pain. We were finally able to talk about crying and know that our listeners didn’t think we were weak or unmanly.
We gave each other practical answers, not hugs, kisses and “I’m sorry”. Now, I am proud to say that I admin in that very same group. It’s been 14 years since that life changing moment, and I am now helping fathers, in the same way, I wished I could have had back then.
Nothing can ever erase the pain of losing Zac, but I choose to believe that he is somewhere smiling down at me, knowing that I am honouring his memory by helping others down this horrible journey.