How I lost my wife
On 1 February my wife was walking to a second-hand bookshop where she was due to stand in for the normal book shop helper. Her route crossed the main Derby Ring Road at a point where there is no pedestrian crossing. The view both for pedestrians and drivers is not bad. There are about 10 seconds between a car appearing round the bend and reaching the crossing point if travelling at the allowed 40 mph, and there was no evidence that the car that hit her was travelling too fast.
She was within a yard or so of the central reservation when she was hit. She suffered numerous limb fractures but the most serious damage was to her brain where extensive haemorrhaging had taken place. This was made clear by the MR scan. Her brother and two daughters and I were all there. The surgeon told us that, over time, he could mend her bones but not her brain. As a result we decided that we should “let her go”. The medical accoutrements were removed and I think that the staff expected her to die then. But she didn't. She was moved to a side ward where we would all have more peace. She was unconscious from the time of the accident until her death.
Next morning I lifted her wrist to feel her pulse, as I had in the evening. At that moment the nurse said, "she has gone". I like to think that that last contact with me allowed her to let go. We are all sure we made the right decision. Pat and I had discussed “living wills” (that say “do not strive, officiously, to keep alive”) but hadn’t actually written them.
At the inquest, which wasn't until August (!), we thought it was pretty clear that the driver was not “driving with due care”. She was a young driver with her boyfriend beside her. He said at the inquest that they were discussing the flat that they were to start sharing the next day. How easy it is to picture the situation - one all of us fear, but, by the grace of God, has not led to an accident. The CPS decided to prosecute her for driving without due care. However, after delays that I won’t bother you with, she decided to plead “not guilty”. Two days were booked for the case over a year after the accident. Later, the CPS solicitor in charge of the case contacted me to say that, on further discussion with the coroner, she thought the evidence was not strong enough to be sure of conviction and that she had decided to drop the case.
Lucy and I were glad, because we could not see what good it would do. The driver had learnt her lesson and the one penalty that we thought might help - to be required to have more driver training - could not be applied. Lucy and I had a long and helpful meeting with the CPS solicitor at which we discussed much more than just the accident. Afterwards I did just wonder whether the solicitor also felt that to continue the case would be unnecessary for the driver’s education and a waste of resources.