wings and things

“Totally and utterly stupid.”

on January 14, 2014

Yesterday morning Ming and I went to our third appointment with the lawyer and were told that the first court appearance next week will simply be a reading of the charges and an adjournment until the end of February. We were also given the video of the police interview conducted the night of the accident. Ming has been told to watch it with a notebook in hand in case he wants to change or retract anything he said.

We were going to watch it together but after he went to bed last night, I decided to watch it by myself just in case I had an emotional reaction. The interview began after midnight, the night of the accident, and went for 80 minutes and was conducted while I was waiting with my friends in the foyer of the police station. My mother was with me for the first part of the night but when my friends arrived I told her to go to the hospital which she did. By that time I had stopped sobbing more or less and Ming was finally released at 3am.

During all of those hours I had no idea how the children were and I had no idea what was happening with Ming. These were very dark hours. After the police station, Ming and I went straight to the hospital to see the children and families (except for one nephew who had been flown, with my brother, to Perth from the scene of the accident).

Well now I do know what was happening with Ming during those earlier hours. Two policemen sat on either side of him at a round table and he was questioned about every detail of the accident. Every now and then Ming’s voice caught on a sob as if he had been crying previous to the interview. He answered all of the questions honestly and politely and if he didn’t know, or couldn’t remember, that, too, was noted.

When asked to talk about each of the children, his voice went soft with emotion and a couple of times he sighed before he was able to go on with a steady voice. At no point did he attempt to make any excuses or defend his actions and when asked to state his own opinion of himself and what he had done he said, with no hesitation:

“Totally and utterly stupid.”

I am glad I watched this without Ming because of course it brought back the horror of that night and of course I cried a lot. But now I will be able to watch it with him calmly and help him make notes, although I didn’t hear him say anything but the truth so I don’t really think there is any need to add anything.

He has been charged with five counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and obviously he will plead guilty. We found out last week that the car insurance will not pay which is understandable but still a blow. I haven’t told Anthony this; in fact I told him the exact opposite because he sold some very precious shares that he has had for decades in order to buy Ming the ute on his last birthday.

And to top things off, the lawyer said that the barrister he has obtained for Ming charges $4,000 per day! I nearly fell off my chair at this almost incomprehensible amount of money and I have no idea how we are going to manage except that tomorrow I turn 55 and can access my superannuation so in that sense we are very lucky. I would have been panicking otherwise. Now I am just a bit shell-shocked!

This has already been a very long and hard journey in terms of the initial shock, the injuries and slow recovery of the children, and finally now the court case which may go on a bit – I’m not sure.

For many in my family there have undoubtedly been days of utter hopelessness and waiting so long for various splints and casts and braces to come off has been a test of endurance, not just for the kids, who have been magnificently brave and stoic, but for their parents, siblings, my mother, Ming and me.

Now, for Ming and me, there is a different kind of waiting – for the eventual sentencing. I had thought this would all be much faster and I’ve been kind of holding my breath, waiting for it all to be over, for Ming to take his punishment, and for all of us to be able to move on into our various next chapters.

Totally and utterly stupid.

Because there is no point in holding my breath – and I have been doing this for too long now, both metaphorically and physically. Breathing will become the focus of every new day and breathing will get us through the next few months of whatever and, best of all, despite the accident, we are all still breathing.

And for this I thank God, the ambulance attendants, the hospital staff, my family, but most of all I thank the five children injured for their heroism, generosity of spirit, humour, and love to Ming, me and each other.

75 responses to ““Totally and utterly stupid.”

  1. mimijk says:

    This anxiety is so palpable I found myself holding my breath as I read this…my heart and my prayers and my thoughts are with you and Ming. I am ever hopeful that this nightmare will end with a compassionate and understanding judge..

    • jmgoyder says:

      I do too Mimi – I have decided to kind of ‘step out’ of the nightmare tomorrow and try to live normally again, instead of living within the nightmare if that makes sense. Thank you for your thoughts xxx

  2. ytaba36 says:

    You and Ming are so darn strong. It seems you’ve had so many “king hits” recently. More than most of us deal with in a lifetime.


  3. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) says:

    Beautifully written and utterly perfectly phrased.

    Like mimijk, I hope this will end with a compassionate and understanding judge, but whatever the result and/or sentence/fine etc. I know Ming will bear this with dignity and maturity.

    I’m very sorry to hear of the expense and stretching out of court appearances. I know you and the rest of the extended family will support Ming (whatever the outcome).

    I will be thinking of you both in the coming weeks and wishing you well.


  4. Julie, I really hope this sorts out well.
    Stay strong!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have never been more proud to call you my daughter, than reading this blog. Your courage and utter disregard for your own pain and needs, leaves me speechless. You will want to block this comment, but I need a chance to say publicly, that to be the mother of such a person, is the greatest privilege of my life.There has not been a moment since this nightmare accident, that you have thought of yourself, and the needs of the injured children has almost exceeded your terror about what might happen to Ming. I know you will some day reap the rewards that are due to you, and that is my prayer. Mother x

    • jmgoyder says:

      Mother, what you say here echoes the way I feel about you and your support has been my strength throughout. In fact I was just thinking why hasn’t she emailed me back – Mummmmmyyyyyyyy! You have made my day and I can’t wait to see you tomorrow to celebrate my superannuation ha! I am proud to be your daughter – Jxxx

  6. You and MIng will get through this. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and the children who got hurt and their healing.
    Diana xo

  7. How many of us have done something totally and utterly stupid on the road and gotten away with it. Ming’s story is a wake up call for us all. Hope the costs can be kept to the absolute minimum.

  8. Judy says:

    As you anticipate whatever the judgment will be, I somehow have a feeling you will be very surprised by what actually happens. It will be unexpected. I feel you are very special and somehow mercy will find its way back into your life. Soon, you will be able to put this entire horrible episode behind you.

  9. I just read what your mom wrote and with her beautiful words and as you know, her mother’s love, there is nothing that I can say that will give you any greater support than what your mom just gave you. As I was reading, I didn’t realize that I was holding my breath until you wrote just breath, excellent advice. Breathe and bask in your mom’s love and support and you will be fine. Everyone needs their mom.

  10. Beautifully written, as another commenter said. You are a strong lady, and my heart goes out to Ming!

  11. Terry says:

    How frightening this has to be for you and Ming. I don’t really have any advice except if you ever believed in God, pray harder, trust longer, and take deep breaths. In the tornado of life, there is always a rainbow shining in the end. God bless and of course you can email me anytime my friend

  12. I don’t understand the relationship to lawyer and barrister over there but that amount of money sounds outlandish, even for Beverly Hills costs, which I’m familiar with. That on top of all the hardship and heartache this whole situation is causing to all involved seems cruel. From what you wrote, it sounds like Ming did a really good job with the interview. Now, joining in with the good thoughts that he doesn’t go to jail which would also be cruel and to my thinking completely unnecessary. Love, Paulette

    • jmgoyder says:

      I’m in unfamiliar territory with the legal stuff so am having to trust we are in good hands. The lawyer is the guy we mostly see whereas the barrister is the one who will speak for Ming at the second hearing I think – I need to find out! She is the one who is so expensive but apparently one of the best.

  13. The ‘waiting’ is the worst aspect now… the kids are on the mend and forgiveness and support given…. but the waiting and also of course the cost of the barrister… I’m not going to tell you to forget things for now or not to worry, because there’s not way that you really can….. but I hope you and Ming have times when you can be distracted from it all…. Diane

  14. Trisha says:

    It breaks my heart to think of the heavy burden that Ming is bearing right now. And you, oh how hard it must be to watch your beloved son face all of this. My heart goes out to you both.

  15. Here’s hoping the judge considers his honesty and regret. Thoughts with you as you navigate the challenges ahead.

  16. viveka says:

    Julie, just love your mothers comment!
    You and Ming will do this journey, it will make you tighter … and things will turn good in the end. An experience you both could have done without … but life takes us down the strangest paths and they are not always that easy to walk – not even if we have company. Even if I’m a believer as such, I believe that things happen for a reason and the answer will come to us … in time.
    Such a beautiful written post – and you have written it with your heart and your soul.

  17. janeslog says:

    Can Ming not get legal aid as he has no assets as such yet and does not have an income?

    I don’t understand why they need to go through this lengthy process. Money for lawyers, I suppose. It’s unfortunate that to get access to the legal system you need to practically sell all your assets. Very unfair.

    My lawyer relations stay in exclusive areas of Edinburgh (Murrayfield and Barnton) in houses worth over 1 million pounds. Their children go to the top private school in Edinburgh (George Watson’s College). I don’t think they are any cleverer than I am, but they make their sizable income trading on the misfortune of others.

    • jmgoyder says:

      We thought of legal aid but because of the serious nature of things got advice from a friend about the best lawyer for this kind of case. The lawyer himself isn’t charging as outrageously as the barrister and I am just hoping we will only need her for a single day – the day in court at end of February.

      • janeslog says:

        Lawyers know how to charge. The barristers in England went on strike last week because the legal aid budget was being slashed. Some said they only earned 32,000 pounds a year, which is less than I earn. Believe that if you can. More like it was what they earned in a day!

        Funny, I don’t live in a 1 million pound house despite earning more than the 32,000 pounds they claim to earn.

        In Scotland barristers are called Advocates.

  18. FlaHam says:

    Julie, While I am sure it was very painful to watch and rehash those memories of that nigth and to make them like new again. It was very important for you to watch it alone, not because of the tears, and the frets, but to let you again confirm in your mind what a man Ming has become. I know you were very proud of him as you watched, as you see him take full and completely responsibility, as you watched the strength of his character flow. That much have been totally uplifting. You have a wonderful son, no matter what the judge does, Ming is paying the price from his heart and soul. Take care, Bill

  19. I’m sorry but I still can’t get that your mentioning that the insurance company will not reimburse for the truck. Say what??? Isn’t it what insurance is for? In the US, where insurance companies LOVE to rip off people, they will pay for damages, whether you’re at fault or not, as long as you have the right coverage. Why would your insurance company be any different? Don’t drunk people who wreck cars still get coverage? Why would reckless driving be any different? Am I missing something?

  20. I admire Ming’s responsibility. It’s a rare person who doesn’t make a “totally and utterly stupid” decision as a young adult. For heaven’s sake as a much older adult even. It takes maturity and good character to own it. Good on him Julie.

    And your mother is a beautiful sort isn’t she?
    Very powerful post.

  21. ksbeth says:

    wishing you both a fair and kind resolution. you have all suffered way more than enough.

  22. Reading about that night, I couldn’t imagine coping – all I can say is you’re a way stronger woman than me Julie though I know that doesn’t help at all, and I’m sure you’ve heard it over and over.

    Thinking of you and hoping it doesn’t drag out – the whole legal system leaves so much to be desired!

    Hope you’re enjoying your birthday – my beautiful eldest’s also 🙂 xx annie

  23. wouldn’t it be wonderful if the legal system could look not at the case but the people? ming is such a sensitive and bright young man who has learned from this and incarceration would just be a waste of resources. i send you love and hugs

    • jmgoyder says:

      Jail is the worst case scenario so I am not even going to contemplate that (except in the back of my mind just in case). We are hoping it will be a fine, loss of his licence and community service. Hoping hoping hoping! Thanks Sandra xxx

  24. tootlepedal says:

    Breathing is good. Things like this sit on your stomach like lead and weigh you down dreadfully. Breathing helps.

  25. cecilia says:

    FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS..and it is not going to be fast. sigh.. onwards and upwards then, what a thing to watch.. what a thing to experience.. all my love.. c

    • jmgoyder says:

      We are mainly dealing with the lawyer and hoping we only need the barrister for the main court case – obviously I need to do some research as this is all so unfamiliar. Thanks Ceci!

  26. I am not surprise that Ming was honest and admitted he was in the wrong and acted just plain stupidly

  27. Denise says:

    Look at you – still finding reasons to thank God in the middle of it all. I get it, I do; and you are an inspiration and a treasure. And I have I told you what a great kid Ming is? I’m not just saying that. His spirit comes through loud and clear when you write. Your relationship with him comforts me. I think it’s because the reality of your closeness confirms mine with Philip, if that makes any sense.

    So glad to have met you, my friend.

  28. elizabeth says:

    (((Prayers and hugs)))

  29. janechese says:

    good to be prepared and know all the details, though I empathize how tough it was and will be. Get lots of rest. And I wonder why lawyers have such reputations? Hmmmm…

  30. I have been through a couple of civil court processes; totally different circumstances, yet nevertheless both fairly draining affairs. I wish you courage and patience.

  31. Judith says:

    The idea of Ming going to court just depresses me. I’ve been keeping my fingers crossed, and I was hoping you’d have some answers by Jan. 22. But anything official seems to take forever, so I should have known better. I’m glad you’re breathing and that you and Ming are so positive. But then, you always are. I’ll cross my fingers again:)

  32. I dare say Ming is no longer ‘totally and utterly stupid’. So sorry this has dragged out for so long. Dealing with courts and lawyers is something I hope never to deal with. And charging $4,000 a day! For how many days? Truly an awful situation. I send you thoughts of peace and strength. (((hugs)))

  33. My dear Julie, my heart breaks for you again. How dreadful to have to keep re-living it. And yet, perhaps that will help in the end – as humans, we tend to obsess over the big events in our lives until we are obsessed-out. Perhaps this long waiting period is just what is needed – though it may not seem like it now, when it is as if it will never end. Once it is all over, you, Ming and your family will have closure, will have had time to process everything; and be ready to move on.

    And how proud you must be of Ming, facing his responsibilities and actions like a man. Many another teenager would have been blaming everyone but themselves.

    You and Ming are in my thoughts every day.

  34. I’ve just seen the date on this post. I read today’s (21st Feb) post and then noticed this post title at the bottom and thought it was yesterday’s post, which I had somehow missed.

    I’m sorry it took me so long to read and respond. I hope you know that your readers all care about what happens to you and your family, and we are all praying for a fair judge and outcome. I don’t think any punishment will supercede the responsibility Ming feels for what happened. He is a son to be proud of.

  35. Sorry to keep banging on – I forgot to say, send my love to your mother who, like you, knows how to do her job properly. xx

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