For 23 years, Frank and Barb Badger haven’t eaten at their kitchen table. It’s simply too difficult, the silence too deafening for the pair after they went from a happy, healthy, lively household with three children, to none.
“I didn’t know the creator wasn’t only going to take one, but all of my kids,” Barb said as she wept.
“It’s a very lonely, lonely life.”
WATCH BELOW: Barb Badger misses being called ‘mom’
On Dec. 21, 1995, at exactly 6:15 p.m., the couple’s entire world changed in the blink of an eye.
They were having supper at a friend’s house, but were conscious of the time. They wanted to return home and await a phone call from their children saying they had arrived in Saskatoon safely.
“A couple minutes later there’s a knock on the door and the RCMP come in,” Frank said.
“They were talking to my wife and I had a really bad feeling.”
The officers took off their hats and began to tell the couple the horrific and heartbreaking news – their teenage children had been in a collision and had all died on scene.
“I’m sorry Mrs. Badger, none of the occupants in the vehicle survived,” Barb said she was told.
Frank fell backwards, not quite comprehending what was being said and not wanting to believe his children were gone.
“They hit black ice. The car went out of control and into the other lane, hitting a truck coming from Prince Albert, Sask., and all three of my kids were killed in the crash.”
Fifteen-year-old Leora, 14-year-old Frank Jr. and 17-year-old Earl were laid to rest that year on Boxing Day.
“If you can imagine all the pain in this world put into one that’s what I felt,” Barb said.
“I felt somebody was reaching inside of me and carried my heart out.”
Barb would pass out at the hospital after going into sudden shock and woke thinking it had all been a dream only to realize the nightmare of losing her children was very much the reality.
WATCH BELOW: Frank Badger recalls the last time he saw his children
Make every memory count
This Christmas, the couple will spend it quietly together and said their unbelievable heartache has brought them closer together.
They are also urging families as the hustle of the holidays ramps up, to take the time to slow down, be present in the moment, and tell your children you love them.
“A lot of things parents take for granted, I’m never going to see,” Barb said with tears rolling down her face.
“I’m never going to see my kids graduate from high school, go to university, I’m never going to have a daughter-in-law or son-in-law and the pain of knowing I’m never going to be a grandma.”
The couple dedicate their time to help other individuals through loss and grief. They believe it was the purpose behind the loss of their children but would do anything in the world to have them back.
“There’s a lot of people I would trade places with. What I miss most in this world I miss being called ‘mom’, I miss my husband being called ‘dad’ – something so simple,” Barb said.
On Christmas Day, Frank will visit the gravesites of his children. For Barb, it’s still too much to bear.
“Love your kids like there’s no tomorrow, really look at them and watch them as they smile and the expressions on their face and take a step back,” she said.
“See what you have, the creator gave those kids – that’s your gift for Christmas.”