The family of Maree Innocenti is still dealing with the grief of her death in a car crash 20 years ago.CHLOE WARBURTON August 20, 2014 3:53am
Chris, Ross, Pauline and Mark Innocenti want to remember their sister and daughter Maree, who died in a car crash 20 years ago today.
Two decades on, the Innocenti family still feels people’s reactions about their daughter and sister Maree, who was killed in a car crash.
‘‘Even now when her name is mentioned, people don’t know what to say,’’ mother Pauline Innocenti said.
Maree Innocenti was 23 when the car she was in hit a tree near Tallarook on August 20, 1994.
She was travelling to Melbourne with her boyfriend, who was driving, and Maree was flown to hospital in Melbourne.
Her boyfriend survived the crash, but Maree died soon after it.
Pauline received a call from the mother of Maree’s boyfriend and called Seymour police, who confirmed Maree had been airlifted.
‘‘We drove down there and went to see the doctor and he said, ‘We lost her’. I remember thinking, ‘I know she’s small, but she’s not small enough to lose’ and then I realised what he meant,’’ Pauline said.
‘‘We wanted to see her, but it was like ‘dead man walking’ at that hospital. It was the longest walk down that hallway .
Years later, the Innocenti family — brothers Ross and Mark, who were 21 and 16 when she died, and younger sister Chris — is still living with the loss of Maree.
‘‘Family and friends are the ones that have had to deal with us — it’s hard for them too,’’ Ross said.
Life has moved on around them in a lot of ways and Pauline said many people avoided the family for a long time after Maree’s death.
‘‘People would cross the road to avoid you. I remember chasing a lady around a supermarket because she’d seen me and turned the other way and I wanted to make her say ‘hello’ to me,’’ she said.
‘‘They say things like, ‘It’s God’s will’, or, ‘Karma’.’’
Mark said going back to school after his sister’s death was difficult.
‘‘I was only 16 — my friends were a bit stand-offish,’’ he said.
‘‘But once you start acting like you used to, they were okay. Sometimes people would say, ‘You’re lucky she’s not a vegetable’.
‘‘You think it won’t happen to your family, then when it does happen you realise you’re not indestructible. Road trauma doesn’t discriminate.
‘‘You don’t realise how alone you are until after the funeral. Everyone goes on with their lives. It’s like, how does the world go on now? Everything moves around you.
‘‘But people have an amazing ability to cope. I only knew her for 16 years, but she had a huge impact on me.’’
The family no longer eats roasts on a Friday — it was the last meal they shared with Maree, for Mark’s 16th birthday.
The Christmas tree has not gone up for almost two decades — it was always Maree’s job to decorate at Christmas time. Birthdays and weddings are difficult. Maree’s father never went to the weddings of his nieces.
He died five years ago at 60.
‘‘Maree was our big sister — she did everything for us,’’ Mark said.
‘‘You wonder what she’d be like, what kind of person she would be, and what family she would have.’’
‘‘It’s a constant reminder. You see kids down the street with their mum and you think, ‘That could’ve been her’,’’ Ross said.
Maree had moved to Melbourne and was excited because she had found a unit.
Her clothes were packed at her home in Shepparton and when she died, family members had to go through and unpack them so they could find an outfit for her funeral.
‘‘She would’ve loved her funeral though — police had to stop traffic for it,’’ Pauline said.
Maree was well known for her humour and good nature, and for working at Lovell’s Newsagency — she even starred in one of its television commercials.
Her family still has a copy of the commercial, along with the blooper reel that came with it.
Pauline said Maree’s dramatic ways had stuck with her.
‘‘She wore iridescent socks. She would staple the hem of her pants. She was Maree. She was the biggest sook in town, she was good at crying and slamming doors,’’ Pauline said.
‘‘She was the ringleader. She was good fun, she was well known. Chris never really knew her, Ross has got kids, they ask what kind of person she was.’’
‘‘We talk about her often. Not in a way that you feel crappy and cry, but you laugh about her. We want people to remember her too,’’ Mark said.
‘‘The world’s biggest problem she could solve, but when it came to the little problems, she’d get upset.’’
Today, the family will remember Maree 20 years after her death and hope people who knew Maree will take time to remember her as well.
Most importantly, the family hopes sharing its story will give an insight into grief and help others understand how to treat someone who has lost a loved one.
‘‘We don’t want sympathy, we don’t want pity,’’ Pauline said.
‘‘We want people to know, even 20 years down the track, it’s still the same. You have the nights when you go to bed and it’s all you can think about.
‘‘We’re in a club we don’t want to be in, we can’t get out and we don’t want any new members.
‘‘She was my daughter, I should’ve been able to look after her.
‘‘You become hard — the worst possible thing has already happened.’’
A $22 million investment into developing the Nagambie region was announced this morning.
The Tungamah Football Netball Club has completed a fairytale season to clinch the Picola and District Football Netball League South East Premiership with an emphatic 106 point win over the Katamatite Tigers at Tungamah.
Billed as ‘Fabulous Flowers and Fine Food’, Tatura’s Anglican Church Parish had a successful fundraiser on Thursday, September 4.
Public consultation has started to allow electrolyte drinks to carry health claims despite their high sugar content.
Rochester Salvation Army volunteers are annoyed people are dumping unusable items outside the op shop.
Don’t write Ky off yet, says coach ahead of preliminary final
Seymour event packs out St Mary's College on Saturday night.
Star Tocumwal defender took her club's A grade best and fairest award last weekend, adding to her 2014 PDNL medal.
Mia Mia Cricket Club is about to field its first cricket team since 2001
Moira Shire councillors describe the municipality’s finances in a ‘‘fair’’ financial position, despite missing performance targets and a financial sustainability indicator falling into ‘high-risk’.
Minor premier Moama rose to the occasion in Saturday's Murray Netball League grand final, beating the Rams by 19 goals.
Water purchase costs rose by 27 per cent in 2013-14, the latest Dairy Farm Monitor Project has found.
More than 320 000 foxes and 1500 wild dogs had been eradicated under the bounty scheme in the past three years.
- Motorcycle ride raises money for cancer charity
- Leukaemia patients come together to support Light the Night Benalla
- Permit sought for a clay target shooting range at a disused quarry at Baddaginnie
- Acclaimed pastry chef returns to Benalla
- Benalla resident on journey to help others with mental illness
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.