Sep 20, 2013 - VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT by Karen Anthony-Burns [Daniel Carter's Mother]

How do you begin to write a Victim Impact Statement about how the loss of your youngest son has affected your life?  Completely, every aspect, including sleeping, eating and breathing, every part of your being is affected.  How do you find the words to express this all consuming grief?  Even though it has been 3 years, every moment is easy to recall.

It started when the phone rang at approximately 2 am on Sept 19th, 2010 and a police officer asked if I was the mother of Daniel Carter and when I responded, “ yes”, he told me to come to the hospital as my son was severely injured when struck by a car as he was crossing the street by Stavros Lounge.  I immediately assumed he was hit on 2nd Ave West, and was completely shocked to realize he was hit on 14th Street, how could that be, no one drives fast enough to injure someone so severely on 14th Street. 

At that moment, I went into auto pilot throwing on my clothes and heading up to the hospital with his step dad.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe and there was a heavy weight in my chest and yes, a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  When we got to the hospital emergency room, the doctor told me he had a fractured skull and a broken leg but they couldn’t do anything about his leg because the skull fracture was so severe they wanted to deal with that first. 

They then took me in to see him.  He was so still, there was blood in his ears, and machines all around him.  I was allowed to be with him for a short time and was then taken to a room.  A police officer brought me Daniel’s personal items including his cell phone which was broken and had blood on it. 

I remember praying with the Pastor and Mobile Crisis being there offering help.   You feel just sick, there is such a weight on your chest and stomach.  I was so scared for Daniel.  I had already called his dad and Daniel’s step dad was there too.  The doctor told me they were taking him to Saskatoon and I could travel in the ambulance.  I had called his sister and brothers to tell them what had happened and had to let them know we were going to Saskatoon. 

Due to the amount of staff they needed to travel with Daniel to keep him stable on the drive, they determined that I could not go in the ambulance.  We decided that I would go with Daniel’s dad as his step dad had to make arrangements for someone to look after Daniel’s dog, Buddy.  So off you go travelling on the highway in the middle of the night, they don’t want you to follow the ambulance.  So you drive and wonder when the ambulance will overtake you, almost at Saskatoon, no ambulance. 

Oh my God, what happened, you think the worst.   We got to the emergency room of the University Hospital and told them we were waiting for our son who was coming from PA by ambulance. They had not been contacted by the ambulance yet so had no knowledge, scared sick all over again. 

A short while later they advised that the ambulance was on its way and would be there in 20 min.  It is so hard to sit and wait and you don’t know what to expect.  They let us all see Daniel again (by now his siblings were there) and then they moved him to ICU. 

What a long walk that was, I remember thinking just put one foot in front of the other.  We stayed with Daniel and they updated us on his condition.  We continued to pray that he would come through and he would be OK.  They kept us updated, there were no basic responses, machines were keeping him alive and we continued to pray that he would regain consciousness. 

Then they have meetings with you and start to talk to you about organ donation.  But wait, how can that be when we are all hoping and praying he’ll be OK.  I am crying (sobbing) I don’t want them to cut my baby.  I love him so much.  This can’t be real, it must be someone else’s life, doesn’t this always happen to someone you don’t know and become a story you read about.  We stayed at the hospital all through the day and night and didn’t leave until they were going to take him to surgery for organ donation.  Numerous friends and family came to the hospital.  We all cried and cried. 

Throughout all of this, we wondered how anyone could hit someone and just leave them lying in street, you would stop if you hit a dog, why wouldn’t you stop for a human being.  How fast would a person be driving on such a narrow street to cause such severe injury?

Daniel was a great young man.  He was just 21.  How could we possibly have to consider planning for his funeral?  His life as a young man was just starting, it should not be ending.

Daniel was a very caring and compassionate young man.  He was always very happy.  I am going to miss him coming in the house, shouting “Hello, hello, hello”.  He had such energy that he didn’t walk, he ran, he jumped and he could climb onto the roof without a ladder.   I used to tease him and ask if he would look after me when I was older and he would laugh and say, sure I will.  I will miss his hugs the most.

One very bad choice has made such a profound impact on the lives of so many people.  His siblings can’t begin to find the words to explain how this has impacted their lives.

We will not get to experience his joy of life any longer.  We will not get to share in his future, that has been taken away.  I cannot imagine what his children will be like and look like. 

Daniel’s sister is no longer a big sister; she has now assumed the role of youngest in the family.  That has been taken away.  Daniel’s brothers no longer have a younger brother.  Daniel will never meet his new nephew, Emmett.  That has been taken away.  Every family get together, especially Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and my birthday weekend are all lacking.  Daniel is missing.  It will never be the same.  We now visit Daniel at a cold stone bench in the cemetery.

Daniel shared his birthday with his oldest brother, Devin.  Devin’s birthdays will never be the same again; the sense of loss pervades every aspect of our lives. 

I spent the first year following Daniel’s death, just trying to get through the days.  I wanted to die too as the pain of his loss was too much to bear. We think of Daniel often, there is never a day goes by that we don’t speak of him and we cry.  We cry often and still miss him very much and long to see him again.

We take Daniel’s dog Buddy with us for weekly visits to the cemetery.  That is where we go to be close to Daniel.  While other people can buy presents for their children, we buy things to take to the cemetery.  This is what we have left.

When you look at me, you don’t see the pain, the disability of loss.  If I had lost my arm or my leg, it would be obvious, but you can’t see the hole in my heart that will be there forever.

Daniel Carter’s mother

Karen Anthony-Burns


 

Last updated on: 2014-03-31 | Link to this post