Widower's torment after wife's 'violent' workplace death
COLIN Caudell is still tormented by the smile his late wife gave him minutes before her sudden and "violent" death six years ago.
The Coolum grandfather remains racked with survivor's guilt. He still has days where he "beats himself up" and his thoughts constantly drift to his wife of 36 years.
Since her death Mr Caudell has fought for justice after his wife Suzanne was killed while working as a traffic controller on the Bruce Highway near Marlborough in 2013.
A speeding B-double clipped her, killing her instantly.
He found his wife lying in the middle of the road, face down several metres from the point of impact.
Five minutes earlier he'd given her a kiss, which turned into a joke, before she smiled and continued working.
That was the last time he saw her alive.
"Why wasn't it me? I was the one who told her to get back on the road, her 30-minute break was over," Mr Caudell said.
"I could have given her five minutes longer.
"I miss her smile, her personality. Her cuddles. I just miss being able to share life together."
Mr Caudell concedes that pain may never leave.
He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and meditates daily in an attempt to bury the demons.
"I relive that trauma every day. The events leading up, the day of, the days after," he said.
"Any time I hear a song, visit a place we went to, go through roadworks, it re-triggers all those memories.
"I remember every detail so clearly. From not being allowed to see her body, to being wrapped in a blanket at the hospital."
As part of his healing process, Mr Caudell was encouraged to put his feelings, memories and grief in print.
For more than five years he struggled with the "painful" process but has now finished a book on his life.
He will launch his book, Pick Myself Up and Dust Myself Off, on August 21 at the Coolum Bowls Club from 5.30-7.30pm.
"My intention for the book is to get further change, but I am ready to leave it to other people to do," he said.
"This is my chance to expose everything that has happened in the past six years, so people can see what has been done.
"Her death was treated as a road accident other than a violent workplace death. There's no justice for people who die on the workplace.
"And workplace health and safety have basically turned their back on her."