Grief on the road: losing Lidia, two years on

Grief on the road: losing Lidia, two years on

Two years ago, Brake volunteer Iris Yee's partner Lidia Zoetemelk was killed by an HGV while riding their scooter. To mark the anniversary of her death, Iris shares a little of her experience of being bereaved by a road crash.

May 23, 2015. It's two years on after Lidia was killed in a road crash on our 50cc scooter. She died one month before our civil partnership, six weeks before we were due to leave London to move to Australia, and after eight amazing years together. It's been a difficult week leading up to this day. I've experienced all the old grief emotions of loneliness, isolation, sorrow, depression, anger and hopelessness. I've had feelings of not wanting to live anymore and thought about different ways to kill myself because I don't think I can live life without her. All these emotions are so exhausting.

This is one of many Dear Lidia letters I wrote in the first year after she died. I would never wish upon anyone a visit from the police to break the awful news I heard on this day.

Thursday May 23, 2013

Dear L,

I don't understand what happened today. In fact, I don't understand anything. Two days ago, we were sat at Lewisham registry office, giving notice for our upcoming civil partnership next month. I felt excited about our wedding.

Last night I was trawling through your emails and found one you missed from Virginia. She was writing to confirm our de-facto partnership visa was approved. And you had indefinite leave to remain in Australia. It was late when I read the email, around 11.30pm. You were fast asleep. I woke you suddenly, yelling, "did you see this email from Virginia". With a slow grogginess you woke up, "the visa has been approved". We laughed and hugged and talked until 12.30am, before going to sleep.

Today has suddenly become a blur. I can't remember if I kissed you goodbye when I left for work this morning. I didn't tell you "I love you", but I know, you know I do. When I got to work, my phone battery died. I didn't bring my phone charger, and no one had a spare. I said to my colleague, "I hope there isn't an emergency today because no one can get hold of me".

As I walked out of work today, the police were waiting for me. It might have been close to 6.30pm, I don't know for sure. They wanted to have a word with me. I thought I was in trouble. As they brought me into a room, I felt like saying, "it wasn't me". I was not prepared for the news they had. You were dead, killed at 1.03pm today. "I'm sorry, what did you say?''. I went out of the room, "Linda, come here please. Lidia is dead!" I didn't want to believe it, "are you sure it was her?" As the facts emerged, I just went numb. I left the room. I paced back and forth. I came back in. Are you sure it was her? "Black jacket and helmet? Yes! Turquoise coloured mobile phone cover? Yes." What happened? "She was hit by a truck".

One hand on my head, two hands on my head. Crouching down against the wall. And anger, so much anger. I wanted to throw the chairs across the room, and rip the water fountain out of the wall. Then the tears came, fast and furious. "What do you mean she's dead? We're about to move out of London, the visa was approved yesterday, we're getting married next month?!"

Pure anger and hatred. I looked up towards the sky, ''Why did this happen, what have I done wrong?" Someone up there hates me!" Well I hate you too!"

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