June 18, 2010

Tragic day - the loss of Arch Richardson 1949-2010

I just wanted to let any followers here know that my ex husband of 25 years and father of my four children, Arch, was killed in a tragic accident when his car went off the road at the Mt Hutt ski field on Monday afternoon. Arch had been skiing alone all day and his partner Sharon reported him missing when he had not returned to town to meet up with her at a function, She drove out to his house, realised he was not there either, and alerted the police at 11. The ski staff starrted to search the access road, finding his body next to his car at 3.30 am, some 12 hours after he drove away from the ski field, hidden down a deep gully. If not for his date with Sharon, it would have been even longer before he was found. The car is apparently not visible from the road when driving and no one saw it go over.

Tuesday started with a visit from the police in the cold, dark hours of dawn, their torches flashing in the hallway outside our bedroom, scaring us as we woke in confusion. They asked for me, My world stopped as I fumbled to pull on a robe. I braced myself for news, chaotic thoughts and head counts of the children in my head... had my youngest son ever arrived home last night - was this it? The police told me the news... they came to notify me as official  next of kin.. my apparently not missing son erupted from his bedroom with a wail, soon joined by my daughter, and within a short time, the others arrived. We had a long wait all day while they investigated the scene, recovered his body by helicopter, transported him back to the city and finally finished at the morgue to formally identify him. Three of the children and Sharon and I went there together. It is 30 years this month since our first date... we are comfortably separated, forever united by our love and pride for our children and it is still difficult to believe he has really gone. 

We have been surrounded by friends and supported by a range of wonderful people. We could open our own florist shop...the heady scents and beautiful flowers surround us as we talk, and write copious notes and stories, sharing the music and tales that add meaning to our memories of his journey through life.

Last  Saturday our youngest son turned 19, and today is Jess's, our daughter in laws 23rd birthday, tomorrow our daughter is 25... certainly a week we will never forget. We decided to give ourselves time and space and hold the funeral next Monday and we are grateful for the chance to plan without rush.

The children have been devastated but gathered strength from being here together. We have lost track of many things and often just look blankly at each other as we realise we cannot remember what we are supposed to be doing... but no one has had to go to work or classes and the days have been filled with many small but essential tasks. Shared grief is a  blessing - and talking helps at a time when so much does not make sense and there are so many questions.

The police have been wonderful. Also, Mt Hutt as they investigate further. We may never fully know what happened. We believe it was quick.

The children have mentioned more than once after Tuesday that they want me to blog on coping with animals during that first time of grief... their presence suddenly felt overwhelming! From the moment the police arrived.. not surprisingly, we lost any usual routine,  so the cats needed feeding and hung around crying and running in to talk to us.. leading whoever was nearest to fling open doors and shoo them outside - until someone else went out and let them in again ... no one managed to actually feed them until much later in the morning. Meanwhile, the dogs didn't know which person to comfort next, but slithered and crawled between us, pressing themselves against us in turn, Saffy slobbering as usual, and both of them shoving their heads under hands, spilling drinks, demanding attention. Jessie, always a licky dog, was particularly distressed that there were so many tears to worry about trying to clean up. They both shed so much hair that the carpets started to look as if we ran a grooming parlour.... and the phone rang and rang and people poured in, filling the sitting room, while we tried to remove the dog hair getting over the furniture so they could sit down.... but there was never the time or the space to vacuum... but I hope none of it mattered... it was just one more thing we coped with, and I know that annoying as they were, I would have hated to go through it all without them!

Thank you to all our friends and workmates for their continued support... tragic and sudden death is always a shock for those left.  Only last week I read with great sadness about a fellow bloggers tragic loss of her husband in a sky diving accident ..

I have many psychic friends, and many religious ones ... but I tend to be sceptical. On Monday night I commented to my partner that I could not get warm, Huddled by the fire wrapped in a rug I was chilled and had goosebumps - I pulled up my sleeve and showed him an arm to prove it.  I presumed I was getting ill, and slept badly, finally dozing off to be woken by the police shortly after. The timing coincided with Arch being lost and alone on the mountain...  and no, I am not ill.



  1. Fi, I feel so sorry for you all. A terrible, terrible tragedy. My thoughts and love are with you. xxx

  2. So sorry to hear the bad new Fi, how awful. Thinking of you and the kids xx

  3. Condolences to you all Fi.... take care.

  4. Please accept my sincere sympathies. How sad for all of you. I have not commented for a while-no excuses, just time slips by so quickly.

    Thankfully you are surrounded by love, from you children, partner and those all knowing pets.

  5. My sincerest condolences. All I can do is say a prayer, and so I have.

  6. So sorry for your loss, for you, Sharon and all the children. I hope that Arch had had a lovely day skiing the slopes, taking in the beautiful views.

  7. A lovely post Fi. I'm glad you had each other on such a horrible day. I was thinking about you yesterday and the funeral. I imagine you are feeling very drained. Take care xx

  8. I am having difficulty expressing the depth of my feelings after reading about your experience. None of us can escape the rawness of life it seems but what you wrote is a gift of self at a time when a lesser person might be expected to shut others out. My condolences to you and your family.


Comments welcome....always love to hear what you think!


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