A New Year’s Thought

It was another tragic early morning news story, a disastrous incident which seems to resonate even more strongly at this time of year: two young lives lost on the road overnight. I took a little more interest, because the incident occurred in Altona, close to home, even closer to work; one tends to pay a little more attention when fatalities occur on in your neighbourhood.

My youngest son, 17 year-old Luke, sent me a text message later that morning. One of the boys killed was a school-mate who sat next to him in class. The other was a year older, and had just finished VCE. I could tell by the tone of the message that Luke was upset. His older brother arrived home to find him in tears.

What do you say to assist your son through such a terrible time? The best I can do, I suppose, is let him know that his mother and I am here for him.

Tomorrow, Luke will usher in his final year of secondary education by attending a requiem mass at his school. Meanwhile, the families of those boys will enter the new year attempting to deal with a loss unimaginable.

At this time of year, when most of us are rightfully celebrating, spare a thought for those among us who are dealing with a devastation so incomprehensible. When you celebrate the new year tonight, hold your loved ones close. Enjoy every moment with your friends. Life is precious, and can be taken away so easily.

Let’s look forward to a bigger and brighter 2016. Happy New Year.

About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Jennifer Muirden says

    A powerful and timely piece, Smokie. Take care and here’s to harnessing a healthy and harmonious 2016 for humankind.

  2. It is little wonder that the ancients thought that the Gods were capricious. We I was 17 I had a new drivers licence and was given to driving the 8 km and back to kill the boredom. My parents could not understand why I would grab the car keys and just piss ff. I am not sure myself. perhaps it was because I was about to leave it all behind, off to University. Perhaps I earned to leave the nest. One summers day I was driving back from the beach. A green Kingswood flew past me. I knew it was Neville. Nev was a year above me at school, the only child of an older couple. He was an apprentice at the sugar mill. Doubtless he was in hock on the vehicle. On a cadet bivouac he had enlightened us on how you could use a french letter more than once if they were stored properly. He was on his own in the car as it passed me. He had a girlfriend. She was a pretty girl from a poor family. They were all red heads with shocking freckles. I don’t remember her name.
    As I neared the town I could see a huge cloud of dust. He wasn’t that far ahead of me. Nev had obviously hit the dip at Bells creek too fast. By the time I got to the Kingswood there was nothing much left of it and even less of Nev.
    He wasn’t a mate just a bloke I knew.
    I rarely think of him. But I know it killed his mother. As for the red headed girl God only knows.
    Tell your boy to remember his mate,.

  3. Well said Smoke. Lots of things scare me. Stories like this amongst them.
    Happy 2016 to you and yours. Hope i get to enjoy plenty of ales and laughs in your company.

  4. Chris Rees @4boat says

    Oh no, very tough for him and tough for you too. I would say to mine in this position; you never know when your time will be up. The best way to honour your mate’s memory is to use your time well, and try to make a positive difference to the people you meet. And of course drive to stay alive.

  5. Cat from the Country says

    Young men think they are indestructable!
    They are not.
    They bleed and feel like the rest of us.
    I sincerely wish cars could be made safer as young men don’t/won’t take care or slow down,
    Yes .Love your family and hold them close.
    They are precious and can never be replaced.
    My son just posted on facebook rhat he stopped for a nap in a shady park.
    I thank God he has never worried what people say if/when he stops

  6. Saw that smoke. Too horrible. Every Dad’s nightmare.
    Best wishes to you and your’s

  7. I work in road safety. We get an email every morning with the fatals. It’s awful. They are all awful.

    My thoughts are with you and your boys.

  8. Dave Brown says

    Thanks for sharing, Smokie. People used to fixing stuff it’s so bloody hard when presented with a situation you can’t fix. Hope your lad & the school community can come to terms with it as the new year progresses.

  9. Peter Fuller says

    Chilling story, Smokie. Your Luke is fortunate that he has the family he has, as that gives him a fighting chance of coping with this most dreadful of challenges.
    Our only remotely comparable experience was with the mate of our youngest (who is now 34) who decided that life wasn’t worth living. Simon was having by his standards a tough time then, trying to understand his place in the universe, but muddled through. I umpired with the dead boy’s dad some months later, just a broken man trying to do his best – one day at a time.
    I thank the fates that I survived my own teenage and early-twenties’ acts of stupidity, and that somehow my boys made it to responsible adulthood unscathed, in spite of my manifest deficiencies as a parent.

  10. Luke Reynolds says

    Tragic. Can’t comprehend what the families are going through. Life is precious.

  11. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Smokie all of the knackery wish your family all the best,yes just provide support and remind every 1 that no 1 is indestructible driving is a privilege not a right and is dangerous

  12. Sorry to learn of this, Smokie.
    These waters run deep.
    All the best to all affected.
    A moment in time frozen forever.

  13. Trucker Slim says

    Thanks for this Smokie, you are right to raise the reminder that as we enter another year we should pause and take in how much our loved ones mean to us. Cheers

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