Mother of Lauren Danks, who was killed by drink driver on A11, allows grief ridden victim impact statement to be released
- Credit: Archant
The look on my husband's face as he broke down telling me our daughter was dead is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
I had never seen my husband cry before that night.
That night my life stopped, everything as I knew it came to an end.
I could not believe what he was telling me, I could only think – not my Lauren.
I was not allowed to go and see Lauren at this time. My only feelings were to see her for myself, as this could not be true.
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I just sat, totally numb. Devastated does not come close to describing my feelings.
We agreed to let our other children sleep until morning. When they got up for school we would then tell them that their sister had died. We had to tell to Kieran, 14, Bobby, nine, and Jayden, seven, their sister had died.
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I had to comfort, cuddle and support three children whilst my own world had just been torn apart. A mum is supposed to protect her children, keep them free from the danger and cruelties of the world, telling Lauren's brothers of her death, I felt that I had failed Lauren, I had not protected her, I am scared my boys will see this and they will feel I am unable to protect them now.
During this day I still hoped everyone had got this wrong. It wasn't my Lauren. She wasn't dead. She would wake up and we would all be together as normal.
The day rolled into weeks, a blur of hope, despair, tears, anger, and the question why. My heart aches and I am paralysed with grief.
The only thing which made me get out of bed each morning was that I was going to be able to see Lauren.
I could sit with her, talk to her, hold her hand and tell her I love her.
I told her how sorry I was that I hadn't protected her, and kept her safe as a mum should. My baby girl looked so tiny, fragile and sore, seeing this broke me completely.
As being with Lauren was my only focus of each day, the following weeks were a blur.
I was emotionally paralysed, only wanting to be with Lauren, believing that she had to wake up soon. All I wanted was for my baby girl to come home.
Visiting a child in hospital is hard, but you know they will get well and come home.
I had to visit my daughter at the mortuary for a limited amount of time. I had to make an appointment to see her. The lady at the mortuary was so helpful making sure I could spend as much time with Lauren as possible. She knew that the visit with Lauren was the only thing keeping me going each day. She came in over the weekend on her day off so I could spend time with Lauren. She also helped me take a handprint from Lauren.
This I have had made into a necklace to keep close with me forever.
After two long weeks Lauren was finally allowed to come home, and was taken to the Chapel of Rest.
I was given a key to the Chapel of Rest so I could go and see Lauren at any time I wanted for as long as I wanted. I no longer had to make an appointment to see my Lauren. I could go any time and be with her.
My focus in life was to get up, get my boys ready for school then go and sit with Lauren,
I would sit holding her hand, playing with her hair, talking to her and hugging her. I took things with me to show her and leave with her so she had familiar things with her for when I wasn't there.
When I had to leave I would hug and kiss my Lauren still not believing that this was real.
I would spend my day with Lauren, leaving only when I knew I needed to be home at the end of the school day.
I would then return to say good night to Lauren once my boys had gone to bed.
I placed a single pink rose in Lauren's hand as she loved getting flowers, and often had them delivered to her at home.
I placed a small tea light with her, to give her some light. I couldn't bear the thought of her being alone in the dark. Lauren's casket lid was then closed and I was able to bring my daughter home.
I just wanted all of us to be together again on that last night before the funeral. I wanted all my children with me, the six of us at home together as it should be.
Throughout the evening we spent time together with Lauren. Each of her brothers telling her how much they loved her, and what an amazing sister she was.
It broke my heart again to watch them pouring out this love and emotion to their sister, talking to her through her casket.
That night I slept on the floor beside Lauren's casket, not wanting to leave her. Knowing that I had touched, kissed and held my daughter for the last time.
Losing my daughter – Lauren, is the most unimaginable pain I have ever felt. But I have no choice – I have to drag myself through each day to give my boys some kind of normal life. My days have not changed, I first spent as much time as possible with Lauren at the mortuary, then at the Chapel of Rest, now I spend my days at the cemetery at Lauren's garden.
The loss of my daughter has totally broken me as a person and as a mum. All I want is my family back to how it was with Lauren.
As a family we refer to our life when we were all happy, when there were six of us, when we were whole. Our life is made up of then with Lauren and the now. Not only has my daughter been taken from me, but also I have been robbed of the future with her.
Lauren loves her family, she loved being part of our family. She wanted a family of her own. I will never get to go shopping for wedding dresses with my daughter, her dad will never walk her down the aisle. A mum is always a mum, but I had moved to the stage of being best friends with my daughter.
I will now never be able to take that relationship any further, to where we were both mums, I also cry for her children, my grandchildren that I will never know.
Instead of looking to a future of happy days, wedding plans, shopping for baby things, I have had to make arrangements for my daughter's funeral.
The pain and heartache, the feeling of loss, missing Lauren never goes away.
I am hoping things will get easier over time, but time will never heal the loss of Lauren.
We will have to live with this pain every day for the rest of our lives.