The day the music died on a Co. Wexford farm…
Diane Banville lost her husband Kevin (33) in a farm accident outside New Ross, Co. Wexford, in 2014. The couple had been married just 11 months and had two sons: Ryan (2); and five-week-old Cillian, who was born on Kevin’s birthday on February 11.
On March 17, 2014, however, the music died in the Banville home when Kevin lost his life after a bale fell on him while tending to his cattle.
That day began as an ordinary day and because it was St. Patrick’s Day the Banvilles had planned some family time and decided to go to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New Ross in the afternoon.
But it wasn’t to be; by the time the parade began in Kevin’s hometown a terrible tragedy had occurred on the Banvilles farm.
A day like no other
Meanwhile, the couple had been up early that morning planning the day’s festivities and tending to their children.
Diane recalled how Kevin would get up in the mornings and watch Fireman Sam with Ryan and that morning was no exception – the young suckler farmer was up at the crack of dawn with his little son watching Ryan’s favourite TV programmes together.
But, unbeknownst to Diane, it was the last time she would see her husband alive.
“I rang Kevin’s phone to see if he wanted some lunch but he didn’t answer and I just presumed he was busy,” she continued.
“At around 2:00pm there was no sign of Kevin and I thought maybe he was running late.
“But at 3:00pm when I tried his phone again and couldn’t get him – I put the two boys in the car and drove down to the yard where Kevin was working.”
When Diane got out of the car her worst fears were realised – Kevin was lying on the ground. A bale had fallen on him – he had died instantly.
How life changed that day
As Diane says herself: “Our whole lives changed in that split second.”
Looking back now she recalls how when she woke up that morning her main concern was getting a photo taken of the family of four.
But, because that day took an unexpected turn, instead of organising a family photograph Diane found herself choosing a coffin in which to bury her much-loved husband and deciding on psalms and prayers to recite at his funeral mass.
“It was a whirlwind – to think how suddenly your life can change and you have no realisation; you’re just on autopilot,” she added.
“There is so much loss – the immediate loss; the loss of the future; the loss of the boys’ dad; the loss of a partner.
“And then there was the farm – it was a business and needed to continue.”
‘It can’t be fixed’
Diane, meanwhile, pointed to how farm accidents are “non-discriminatory”.
It doesn’t matter if you are a child or an older person; they happen and they can happen to anybody.
She also says that when a loved one dies in a farm accident life in the aftermath becomes all about “re-adjusting and learning to fit it”.
“Life then is about re-adjusting and learning to fit in; in my case the family went from two incomes to just one,” Diane continued.
It’s then that you realise the impact financially and emotionally everything is having on you.
“It’s like watching the ripples just spread out – and it’s ongoing; it’s not fixed in a month or two, it’s for the rest of my life and for the lives of the two boys as well.
“It can’t be fixed and it can’t be changed.”