My name is Mel Parsons and I am a singer and songwriter. My personal experience with Victim Support a few years back was the catalyst for me to lend my music and story in the hope that I might be able to make a small difference to someone else.
In 2007 I was traveling in Canada with my partner of 6 years when we were involved in a head-on collision on the highway in which he was killed. I still have trouble describing the horror of that day, and those that followed. A hugely traumatic time. My memory from around this time is hazy, but I do recall a Victim Support person meeting me back in NZ, and extending a warm hand and kind ear during the time of funeral preparations.
Needless to say this was a terribly sad time, and the sudden-ness and shock of it all meant it took a long while for things to even sink in for me. One of the memories I do have however, is that every week I would get a phone call from my support person, who at that time, I thought I didn’t need. I have a loving family and great friends after all. As time went on she continued to check in on me. Everyone else seemed to be getting on with their lives, while mine was frozen - I felt like I was living a nightmare.
Anyone who has experienced grief of any form knows that it sticks around a lot longer than people see. I remember often feeling too much of a burden to talk to friends, and even family, and so especially as time went on it was a lifeline to get a call from a complete stranger who I didn’t have to pretend too, who really cared, and was willing to sit on the end of the phone and listen for as long as it took. This contact was so key and I have so much gratitude for the people and the systems in place that enabled this to happen. After a while the calls were every month, and then every few of months and I think the last contact I had with her was about a year after the accident.
The fact that I don’t remember her name perhaps gives some insight into my state of mind during that time. I sustained mild memory loss, and suffered some serious anger issues, not to mention being plagued by what I now understand to be ‘survivors guilt’.
Now four years down the track, I am well and happy, and consider myself very lucky. Lucky to be alive in the first instance, but also lucky to have come out of a terrible experience learning so much - a greater understanding of people, a deepened sense of empathy for others and an appreciation for the things that really matter in life.
The reason I am sharing this personal story, is because if it helps even one person who is experiencing grief or a traumatic experience it will be worth it. Please have hope that even though it is a long, hard and sometimes terrible road to recovery - things will get good again.
I will be forever grateful to Victim Support and the wonderful work it’s volunteers do, they really made a difference to me.
Mel Parsons x
Things Will Get Good – Mel Parsons