ON THIS DAY - A YEAR AGO TODAY
By Stacey Randall
Sunday 22nd April, 2007
I'm sitting at the table trying to put pen to paper.
Today I've stayed at home trying to deal with my thoughts which are constant, which will just not go away. They play over and over relentlessly, never stopping even for a second. Unlike this time last year I've chosen to stay locked away inside, I don't dare go out.
This time last year my nightmare began. If only something inside me, if only I had a sixth sense that could prepare me for the unimaginable, painful journey I was about to partake in. If I knew what was ahead I would never have ventured outside this house.
Well I'm home today but you are not here.
Sunday 23rd April, 2006
You and Dylan took Dalton to football today then watched car racing on TV in the afternoon. I'm so glad that you boys spent some quality time together.
Jaide and I went to my brother's place. About 5.00 pm you rang to see when we were home for tea. Jaide was having fun playing with her cousins so I decided to stay for a bit longer much to your dislike. Everyone was going to good old Hungry Jacks so that's where Jaide and I went. You hated take away, especially when the kids had it.
Jaide and I came home about 8.00 pm, you were already in bed. You worked so hard and had to be up early so I was not surprised that you were. I can still hear you grumble and say ''I'm tired and have to be up early, I'm going to bed!'' You always stated that your life consisted of working and going to bed. God, I wish I could hear those words again.
I sat up watching TV, what I was watching I have no idea. A while later you stumbled out to the kitchen to get a drink, banging doors as you went by and being as loud as you could. You didn't have to say anything. That was your way of letting me know that you were annoyed that I didn't come home earlier and spend time together with you and the kids.
You were asleep when I went to bed. I didn't hear you get up in the morning, I didn't wake up. Jaide would normally get up with you, but that morning she didn't. You went to work and just like that you were gone.
Little did I know as I slept that life as I knew it was about to change and the unimaginable, painful nightmare had only just begun.
Monday 24th April, 2006
I took Jaide to Jack in the box with some friends and their kids. Dalton stayed at home to have some peace and quiet as he put it! I didn't need to ring you for anything as there was nothing much happening, it was just another ordinary day. Besides I'd see you when you get home.
After Jack in the box we went to Stratco to look for some handles for the kitchen doors you had just painted. I couldn't find any and wasn't in the mood for handle hunting so we left to go to the car.
I think it was about 12.30 when my phone rang, it was Chaz. I cant remember the exact time, I don't want to remember.
I answered the phone and it was Dylan. He said that the trench had collapsed on Dad. That he tried to get him out but when he reached him he wasn't breathing and couldn't feel a pulse. I asked if the ambulance was with him, Dylan said they were trying to revive him now.
My mind is going a hundred miles an hour. Ok Stacey, if the ambulance is there he will be fine. People are resuscitated all the time. You're a nurse you should know that. Chaz will be fine there's no way he can be that hurt. But why was Dylan crying. I have never heard Dylan cry like that.
It cut through me like a knife, I couldn't stop shaking. I think it took 3 phone calls to Dylan for me to comprehend how to get to Brandis Road. So I could find the way, Dylan said he would wait on Main North road. Please God, please make sure he is alright, please let him be ok. No, stop praying he'll be fine. Just hurry up and get there.
Jaide asked me what was wrong with daddy. I reassured her, ''It's ok sweetie we are just going to see daddy at work. I think he might have hurt himself but they will take him to the hospital and he will be all better.'' She just nodded. Then there was silence all the way there apart from the music playing on the radio.
We finally saw Dylan sitting up against a fence on Main North road, Munno Para just before Curtis road.
Dylan got in the car and directed me where to go. Apart from that there was just silence.
When we arrived at Brandis Road there was so much commotion. A helicopter was there, media people SNEAKING around, police and an ambulance. Dylan and I quickly got out of the car and I rushed over to the ambulance. I'm so sorry Jaide that I left you sitting in the car alone. I didn't mean to leave you like that.
...It's okay, calm down Dylan was waiting for me on Main North Road. But he wouldn't have met me there if you were alright, he would never have left your side.
I think it's been about 30 minutes from the time Dylan first rang me. Why is the ambulance still here, it shouldn't be here. I need to see you Chaz but I don't think I want to because I know the ambulance shouldn't be here.
''Can I see Chaz'' I asked.
''I'm sorry but Chaz has died, he wouldn't have suffered, it was quick. We did everything we could but it was already too late.'' was the reply.
''He's dead, what do you mean dead, he can't be!'' I blurted out.
''I'm really sorry...'' came another cold reply.
Oh my God you can't be. Why didn't I pray on the way here. Maybe you would still be here. How could this happen, why you??
Oh my God your kids, you love them so much, they are your world. You would never leave them like this, you would never leave them without saying goodbye. I'm so sorry Chaz that I didn't spend time with you yesterday. All you wanted was for us to spend time together. You left for work this morning and now I've been told you are never coming home again.
I walked somewhere, where I can't recall and broke down. I rang my friend Zoe so she could come and pick Jaide up. Our poor little vegemite princess, not once did she ask for you. She didn't know what was wrong but sensed that something was not right. Dalton, he's at home waiting for us to come home. What the hell do I tell him? How do I tell them that you won't be home tonight or the next night or the one after that?
Sue, Bianca, Nat and Danni we're all here now.
It was unbearable to see each of them find out what happened. This must be a dream, it can't be happening to us. What did we do to deserve this?
One of the work safe guys told us that it will be some time before the area is deemed safe before Chaz can be brought out of the trench. That we could go home or wait to identify you. Identify? What is there to identify? There was no question as to who had been buried alive.
This is too much to comprehend.
Bianca, Nat, Danni and myself patiently sat on some shoring near the collapsed trench. Not to identify you but to see you. The collapsed trench? It was unrecognisable. It was just a mound of dirt. Why can't they just hurry up and get you out of there.
I think it was after 5.00pm before you were finally brought to the surface. I turned away as you were carried to the top in a stretcher. I caught a glimpse of the outline of your body, you were covered in something dark. After that I cannot remember. Sometime later the tent that you were taken to was dismantled and you had already been taken away.
Why have they taken you like that, we have been waiting here to see you.
''I'm sorry there must have been some miscommunication but Chaz has been identified by an Adciv employee'' said the police officer.
''But we were told to wait here so we could that's why we have waited all this time.'' I said.
''I'm sorry but they decided it may not be appropriate for us to see Chaz as his appearance may have been too distressing for us to see'' he replied.
So just like that you were gone. No chance to hold you one last time. No chance to kiss you goodbye.
Just like that the unimaginable, painful nightmare had already begun.