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Devastated Lynsey Turner opens heart about loss of little son Jackson after Boxing Day crash last year

'Jackson got an Xbox last Christmas he never even had the chance to play with it'

By Lisa Smyth

The mum of a little boy killed in a car crash last Christmas has told of her agony one year on - and appealed to motorists to take care on the roads.

Twelve months after losing her precious son, Lynsey Turner has described her daily torment in an effort to spare others from her crushing grief.

Jackson Turner, who was just seven, died in the early hours of December 27, 2015, after he was involved in an horrific accident on the Old Carrick Road in Newtownabbey.

Lynsey's life was shattered forever just hours after she celebrated Christmas Day with Jackson and his sister Ally (5) at their home in Carrickfergus.

The siblings had spent Boxing Day with relatives and were returning home to Lynsey when they were involved in the crash.

Lynsey said: "If there is one thing I would say, it would be to ask people to slow down and take care on the roads.

"Ally still remembers the accident, she still has nightmares, and likes me to be sitting next to her when we are in a car.

"If people could just come into our house and see what we are like, if they could just talk to Ally for half-an-hour, they would be much more careful.

"We all take so much for granted, we are all so caught up in Christmas, but all it takes is a moment for everything to be destroyed forever, and it isn't worth it.

"Our lives will never be the same, Jackson has left a hole that can never be filled, he was such a big part of our lives."

Lynsey (38) has struggled every second of every day to live with her devastating grief, but she has continued on for the sake of Ally.

"Time doesn't make it any easier, it probably makes it worse," she added.

"Every 27th of every month is hard, it just feels more real and it has been hard with Christmas and the anniversary coming up.

"I have been trying to tell myself that Christmas is just 24 hours and it isn't any different to any other day. I suppose I can cope with Christmas because I have Ally and she is so excited, although she has mentioned the fact that Jackson won't be here.

"There are days when I can get on with things and there are days when I just go to Jackson's room and talk to him, it makes me feel closer to him.

"But I can't cry in front of Ally, it's not for her to see.

"Everything is so different without Jackson, everything is so grey, it doesn't matter how much colour there is with Christmas, I just can't see it.

"Jackson loved Christmas so much, he loved picking Christmas presents, it was his time of the year, while Halloween was mine. As soon as Halloween and my birthday were over he would start the countdown for Christmas.

"He picked all the decorations for the tree and he would put the star on the top, and this year I just couldn't bring myself to put them up, so Ally and I went out and picked new ones.

"Jackson would open his presents with me on Christmas morning and he would never really get time to play with them before he and Ally went to their dad. They would just stay where they were opened until they came home and they would go through them all when they got home on Boxing Day.

"Jackson got an Xbox last year and he never got to play it."

Lynsey wasn't planning to do anything special to mark either Christmas or the anniversary of the crash.

Instead of spending money on memorials to Jackson, she makes donations to Helping Hand - a charity that supports the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, where Jackson passed away.

"Other people, family and friends, let off balloons and do things like that, and if that is how they want to remember Jackson, that is fine by me.

"But it isn't for me, I prefer to donate money in his name. I want to keep his name alive, I want to see his name on something.

"I like spending time in his room, and I found his Christmas jumper and hat from last year recently.

"His Lego is still exactly how he left it, he was so particular about it, he knew if anyone moved it.

"It's still lying in piles on the floor, I can't bring myself to move it."

Christmas this year has been made even more difficult by the death of her mother Lynda at the end of September as a result of ovarian cancer.

She found out she was terminally ill shortly after Jackson's accident.

"Jackson's crash was on Boxing Day and he was kept alive by machines but it was so important to me and his dad that he didn't die on Boxing Day," said Lynsey.

"Mum loved Christmas and she knew it was going to be hard for us, so she made us all promise we would celebrate it and gave us all instructions. I don't make plans about what I am going to do, I play things by ear.

"It doesn't seem like a year ago, everything still feels so fresh in my mind.

"I still have nightmares, I still have panic attacks, and I can go for days without sleeping until I finally get some sleep because I am so exhausted.

"I have tried everything, I'm not a big one for medication so I have tried exercise, yoga, but none of it seems to work for me.

"I put on a brave face for people and people tell me how brave I am, but I'm not, I just pretend I'm okay. I have to be for Ally."

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