Nova Scotia

Widow struggles to raise ill son after Halifax crash

A Mount Uniacke woman whose husband died in a car crash is struggling to care for her sick toddler son and keep their home.
Nash Hanson looks at photos of his father. (CBC)

A Mount Uniacke, N.S., woman whose husband died in a car crash is struggling to care for her sick toddler son and keep the family home.

Deahna Hanson, 26, lost her husband Jeff on June 10.

She was heading out with Nash, their 15-month-old son, when a chaplain and police officer came to her door. They told her Hanson, 27, died in a single-vehicle crash on Horseshoe Lake Drive in Halifax.

"I just remember screaming and holding my son," she said. "It was devastating. It's your whole life just gone in one second."

She said it had been just an ordinary day. "I saw him three hours before and the last thing he did was pick up his son, kissed him and said I love you. He said goodbye to me and he left. And then someone came to my door telling me that he was gone. It's hard to believe. It's still not real," she said.

Toddler has kidney disease

Since then she's been in survival mode. Her son Nash was born with hydronephrosis as well as posterior urethral valves, which caused a stage 4 reflux in his right kidney, causing it to go into complete renal failure.

He has one kidney because doctors removed the other to save his life. He needs constant care and is prone to infection. She doesn't send him to daycare. "I can't risk him contracting anything because the risks are too big," she said.

He's too young to understand what has happened, but he misses his dad.

Harder still is watching her son waiting for dad to come home. 

"Almost every night at six o'clock he goes running to the window, waiting for his car to come up the driveway. He knows he's not here," she said.

Hanson finds it hard to go outside, because everybody wants to talk about it. 

"Jeff was a very private person, and there's no dignity in death. I've found that," she said. "We were together since we were fifteen and sixteen; that's eleven years. I was honoured to be his wife."

Friends, family fundraise to help

Hanson is caring for Nash full time. The family had no mortgage insurance. "We were kind of idiotic. We thought we were too young, that's not going to happen to us. And it did," she said.

Jeff Hanson was a volunteer firefighter. He had some insurance money that will cover them for the summer.

"It's just difficult. It's hard to tell people that you might not be able to afford your home. It's hard to tell people that your son is sick. It's hard to tell people that you don't know, because you don't," she said.

Hanson's friends are fundraising so that Nash can continue his treatment. They hope they can help the family keep their home. She plans to return to school to retrain so she can work to support Nash.

The firefighters Jeff Hanson worked with are holding an auction at the Uniacke and District Fire Hall on Aug. 10 at 5 p.m.. They're also taking donations online.