To be able to put into words the impact that the defendant's actions have had upon my life seems almost impossible but I will endeavour to shed some insight so that he can begin to fathom how his actions have changed my life completely. The choices that he made that day have resulted in this.
I do not remember the cars colliding. I do not remember the shattering of glass. I do not remember the sounds of our screams nor of the ambulances approaching. I do not remember the fumes nor the blood. I do not remember the helicopter nor the operation. I do not remember understanding nor being told what had happened but I do remember a single tear falling from my face onto the perfect little nose of my lifeless daughter in my arms.
''I have lost my daughter, my womanhood and my chance to ever become a mother naturally.''
I do remember those few moments upon waking and the love in my heart for the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. She had snow white skin, her daddy's hair, my nose, his ears. No movement. I remember my heart turning to panic and the confusion setting in. The cords streaming from my body and the blood all over my skin. I remember the look on my mother's - her grandma's - face and the devastation in my sister - her aunty's - eyes. I remember my heart racing and my mind not answering anything at all. I remember they took my baby away. I do not remember where my brothers are nor what had happened to them. I do not remember the cars colliding.
I do not remember the first week in hospital and the second is almost a blur. I remember the myriad of sorry faces coming in and out of my days. I remember being told my little brother might not make it and I remember the nights I prayed. I remember the pain of moving, the bandages, the blood and all the while my head just aching. I remember the list of my injuries being recited from doctor to nurse; head trauma, broken ribs, fractured ulna, lacerations to the bone, punctured lungs, lost vision and the "loss of my 32 week foetus".
I remember the anger at these words as she was so much more than that to so many people. And to me, she was my angel, my ultimate life blessing, the first of many we had hoped. I took such perfect care of my body knowing she was there and I loved feeling her every move. I remember the reason I was in the car that day was so that I could pick out something healthy for dinner while my brothers ordered pizza. I took such good care of her. She was my world and I was so proud to have her.
In the second week, my heart stopped. (Following surgery I found out that since the impact it had begun filling with blood and needed to be drained of close to two litres and continually monitored, returning to hospital on two occasions over this year.) I remember being rushed into intensive care again as it started to race and right before it stopped I remember thinking "I'm going to die of a broken heart". When I was unconscious I felt like I went to heaven; a white and fluffy place and as I began to settle into it, I pulled myself back out thinking of the love I have for my partner and the thought "that we can try again, don't give up, ever".
I remember waking back up that night, the extreme loneliness of the hospital and just wanting to hold my daughter again.
I distinctly remember the look on the hospital's trauma midwife's face when I made the comment that "I'm alive for a reason and I know we are so lucky we can try again". I remember her asking "has no-one explained to you what has happened?" but I do not remember understanding. I remember the doctor then sitting awkwardly next to my bed, stumbling to find the gentlest possible way to tell me the extent of my injuries.
I remember the word "hysterectomy" flowing from his mouth. My womb had catastrophically ruptured upon impact. The surgeons had to remove all the surrounding organs to clear out the remains of my womb and my body was stitched back up from pelvis to chest.
I have lost my daughter, my womanhood and my chance to ever become a mother naturally.
Your actions that day, your choices caused this directly. The fact that a car was involved should not make what you did to my daughter, my brothers or myself any less disciplined. You chose to take drugs. You chose to drive dangerously. You have directly and profoundly changed our lives forever.
I remember asking to hold her again. It had been over two weeks and I sat in a room cradling her frozen body. I kissed her and held her and apologised over and over and over again that I had let this happen. Why did I get in that car? Why did I sit in the front? Why did I live and she didn't? Why can't I swap places with her? Why did you do this?
My brothers and I were at three different hospitals. My oldest brother was out first; broken collar bone, teeth, ankles, ribs and mind. He cannot get a job, he cannot sleep without nightmares or function properly.
My younger brother was out second; he was airlifted to St George hospital with crushed vertebrae and internal bleeding. Once released he was in a back brace and could not move unaided for months. He could not even take himself to the bathroom, bend or lift a thing; let alone work or leave his bed. My mother couldn't work at all during this time just so she could care for him, and myself once released.
I was out last. I was in hospital for a month and could not bury our daughter until I was released. I could barely walk from pain and I couldn't help hold her coffin as my arm was in a cast (and remained in one for over four months). My partner had to carry our daughter, his first and only child's coffin down the aisle. You have not only robbed me of my parenthood but his chance too. He is the most loving and loyal partner and was the most proud father to be. You have broken his heart and spirit and totally changed our future.
I feel guilt and sorrow in my heart every day knowing that I will never be able to give him another child and I will never be legally recognised as a mother. The doctors managed to spare my ovaries but due to my head injuries and blood loss, despite the hormone replacement therapy I am currently undergoing, I may never be able to produce another egg and we have no potential surrogates.
Your actions have completely changed my life. I feel like a different person - mentally and physically. My happiness, my career, my self-esteem, my social interaction, my sleep, my energy, my laughter and above all, our daughter, is now gone.
I do not remember our daughter's eyes as we never got to see them. She would have been someone's best friend, someone's love and someone's mother, but you took that chance away. All we have now is a handful of photos and her little box of ashes next to our bed.
You chose to take drugs and you chose to drive dangerously. This is our life now and you gave us no choice.