In an interview with a local paper several years ago Ray and Janet Chapman talked about the aftermath following the death of their 14 year old son Jake in 2009. Ray described how the death had ‘turned our lives upside down’ and ‘in the early days, I was in a state of shock’. He said that ‘you put barriers up to protect yourself, your family and close friends. The trouble is if you don’t let those barriers down, you become like a pressure cooker. Sooner or later something will blow, what the Trust counsellor does is like a release valve’. Janet added that ‘it is easier to talk to a stranger because you know talking to family and friends will upset them. Without the charity I think I would be a mess. The counselling takes the burden away because you can talk and it is in total confidence’.
They have kindly agreed to look back now in 2015 and reflect on their experience five and a half years after Jake died.
Janet & Ray Chapman – June 2015
It all started on that fateful day – 27th December 2009. We got a call saying our son Jake had been involved in an accident. We were taken to the hospital by the police to discover that Jake had been killed in a road traffic accident………our nightmare then began.
We actually discovered The Road Victims Trust by accident, as after reading some of the literature received from the police, it advised us to go to a solicitors. Ray went to local solicitors in Baldock and the lady he spoke with there asked if we had been in contact with RVT……………up until this point we had never heard of them. The lady then phoned RVT and spoke with the Trust and gave her Ray’s details. The Trust then called Ray and arranged to come and see us both, and so our RVT journey began.
We started out with weekly visits from our counsellor every Friday morning. There were tears and laughter. She let us either talk or cry about Jake………..she also told us that neither of us were to blame and that nothing would change what had happened and the “what if” culture would not bring Jake back. Where there was darkness and despair in our lives, we began to see a glimmer of hope…….this took at least 6-12 months. Also during that first 6 months we had the inquest, which she supported us with and attended, taking us to the court house. We had continual visits from her for about 2 years during which time we could actually talk about Jake without bursting into tears. We all then came to a mutual agreement that we were now able to carry on with day to day life, but were also told that we could contact RVT if we felt that we were not coping.
Without the valuable support of RVT we do not know where we would be now.
This is a wonderful, supportive organisation that we will be eternally grateful to.