Heartbroken mother returns to scene of crash that killed son (8) last year
'The kids talk about it in detail and it breaks my heart to know they have those memories'
A heartbroken mother will today return to the scene of the crash that took the life of her eight-year-old son, one year on from the tragedy.
Sarah Hanna (33) has not been able to face going back to the road where her son Adam was killed, since his death on this day last year.
But she hopes that the sad anniversary will mark a turning point for the family and that going to the place where he died will help her to begin to come to terms with her terrible loss.
Sarah was walking six of her nine young children down the Loughill Road in Cloughmills to meet the school bus on November 11, 2014, when a car knocked them over.
Little Adam Gilmour was killed instantly.
Sarah and her other son Ryan (6) were left lying unconscious.
Ten-year-old Kyle left her hysterical sister Bethany (7) and brothers Reece (8) and four-year-old Tylour behind to run for help, after unsuccessfully attempting to rouse her mum and two little brothers.
Sarah told the Belfast Telegraph: "I remember nothing about that horrible day.
"I don't remember getting up that morning or the last time I saw Adam.
"They say the stress and trauma have affected my memory, but I know for sure that I was pushing Tylour in the buggy as usual and the kids were walking in a single file in front of me as they always did.
"The first thing I remember after the crash was lying in hospital and my sister telling me that Adam was gone.
"I didn't understand what she meant, I didn't know what had happened and it didn't sink in at all, it still hasn't. The worst thing about it is I know the kids remember it as clear as day, they've talked about it in detail and it breaks my heart to know they have those memories."
Sarah, who lives in Cloughmills with Adam's dad Stephen Gilmour (44), suffered a fractured neck and a fractured back, while Ryan broke his femur.
Sarah was wheelchair-bound for six months and now relies on a crutch to get around, but nothing compares to the pain of losing her son.
She said: "If I could have taken Adam's place that day I would have, he was far too young and taken too soon.
"There isn't a day goes by that I don't think of him, whether it's when I set out an extra plate at dinner time, or when I'm shouting on the other kids and I accidentally include his name, every new day comes with its own heartache."
The devastated young family had to move house following the horror crash because Sarah couldn't bring herself to go up the Loughill Road again.
"There was absolutely no way I could go back after what happened to Adam," she said.
"We went to stay with my sister in Cloughmills village and with every day that went by I was more and more sure that we couldn't go back up to the house.
"The thought of going past where it happened made me feel physically sick."
Now the family have moved so that Sarah doesn't have to face the tragic scene every morning and her children can get the bus to school more safely.
But today, on the anniversary of Adam's death, Sarah has decided to go back to the scene to pay tribute to her son.
"I want Adam to know I'm thinking about him and I want to be brave for him too," she said.
"We have all been living day-to-day, and when the tears come we support each other.
"The kids will comfort me and when they get upset, I remind them that they will never forget wee Adam, I tell them they have the memories and the pictures of him and that he'll always be in their hearts."
But Sarah is still so consumed by grief and shock that she can't even bring herself to look at her son's pictures, which have been moved to Adam's granny's house for safekeeping.
"When I see pictures of Adam, I remember that they are the only way I can see him now and it breaks my heart, I'm not ready to accept that, he should be here with us."
Sarah said Halloween, birthdays, Christmas and family days out are the worst and that while her other children enjoy themselves, she thinks of Adam's absence.
"The hardest thing for me to accept is that Adam's death was so preventable," Sarah said.
"I spent weeks begging staff at County Hall to send the bus up the road to get the weans and the impression I got was that 10 minutes each way was too much to ask.
"Now my Adam is gone and I fully blame the fact that I had to walk the kids down that road.
"It would have been better in summer but the cold, dark winter mornings were treacherous, if only someone had listened to me."
Sarah made contact with TUV MLA Jim Allister just weeks before Adam's death to complain about the education board's decision not to provide transport for her children but tragically, and despite Jim's best efforts, nothing was done in time to save his life.
Sarah said: "Obviously, I warned that something could happen but not in a million years did I think I would be burying my son because of it.
"I told Jim I was afraid someone would skittle us off the road.
"Now the other kids have to live with losing their brother. They miss him dearly and the trauma of the crash has really affected them. I will never get over what happened to Adam, I don't think any parent can get over burying a child, but I do hope that seeing that road again will help me turn a corner.
"I hope that this time next year I will be able to remember Adam as the beautiful wee boy he was, the wee boy who would have grown up to be a hard-working farmer. I hope I'll be able to look at his pictures and go to his grave and think about him without my heart dropping."
An 18-year-old man was arrested over the crash and was later released on police bail.
The family have set up a special page for people to share their memories of Adam on a website called Gone Too Soon