A mother's grief
The driver of the car that crashed on the Great Western Highway in 2010 and killed local resident Candice Falls and her unborn child was sentenced to two years and nine months prison at Penrith Local Court last week.
In the tragic car accident, 19 year old Candice was thrown from the vehicle that had split in two when it struck a power pole and was robbed of her short life almost instantly - leaving a family shattered and thousands of friends heartbroken.
Candice' parents, Sylvia and Darren Falls and brother Kurt Falls were at the Court for the verdict. Sylvia Falls gave me a copy of her Victim Impact Statement, which I have taken some excerpts from and printed below. Sylvia hopes that her words of grief may serve as a deterrent to young people who think they are invincible.
Editor's note: This is not easy to read and some people may find this distressing. It the very raw account of a mother's grief at losing her only daughter.
"I'm not sure how or where to start - or if you can possibly ever understand my loss.
When you dream of having your first child, a beautiful baby girl - Candice - then the nightmare, the surreal moment when you are told that your daughter has been killed in a horrific car crash! No, no not Candice!
That moment the blood ran out of my body, my heart stopped, it's like something eats you up, not understanding or comprehending, screaming, yelling, crying, losing all control.
The nurse saying "I'm sorry she's gone." All at once gagging, vomiting and howling.
Then Kurt, her brother asking me where is Candice, and having to tell him she has passed away and watching his face change colour. How to ease the pain, it seems impossible.
Then the police presence, and the need to go to the morgue to identify my daughter. Once again it's not happening, how do I do this? With a brave man beside me, my friend Ross, the door opens and with a glance I know it is Candice. Getting closer I'll never forget the look on her face. This image haunts me daily. It is as if she is angry at me and at that moment I wish I could take her place. Placing my hand on hers, kissing her, feeling her so cold, sobbing... I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I don't want to leave. I'm not supposed to be doing this, it is not right. My God she is only 19 years old, she has her whole life to live. I cannot comprehend going home without her. If only I could have taken my own life and let her go free.
My life will never be free of pain. The hurt of being so angry, not knowing what to do with my life. As her Mum, time doesn't cure the pain, I am filled with this forever. My thoughts are constantly of Candice. I wait for her birthday date, the moments we should have had together. My life thrown into turmoil. I now will never have what every parent takes for granted with my Candice.
My life also ended that day, it is never, never going to get better. My heart is broken and no one can mend it. I miss her love; her and nothing else will change that. I'm sure of that because the pain, anger and hatred is a hunger I engorge on every moment, it kills me so much. I try to dream every day to have her back and then life could go on.