PEI

Twin daughters thankful for support after mom, dog die in car collision

Last Saturday morning, twin sisters Shelby and Madison Bragg both told their mother over the phone that they loved her, but had they known it would be the last conversation they would ever have with her, they would have said "100 times over."

Cassandra Gould always ended their phone conversations with 'I love you more'

Cassandra Gould with her dogs Bambi, left, and Henri. Both dogs were in the car when Gould was killed in a collision on Saturday. Only Henri survived. (Submitted by Madison and Shelby Bragg)

Last Saturday morning, twin sisters Shelby and Madison Bragg both told their mother over the phone that they loved her, but had they known it would be the last conversation they would ever have with her, they would have said it "100 times over."

Cassandra Gould, 49, died in a two-vehicle collision in Primrose, P.E.I., later that day. The driver of the other vehicle, 32-year-old Jason Mullin, was taken to a Moncton, N.B., hospital where, according to a family friend, he is recovering from life-threatening injuries.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

Gould's two dogs, Black lab-Newfoundland mixes named Henri and Bambi, were in the car with her. Bambi, just over a year old, died in the collision. Henri, 12, is staying with a family friend and receiving treatment at a Montague vet clinic. He will go to live with Shelby in Moncton.

Father died in August

Because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, the twins, who both live in New Brunswick, hadn't seen their mother since August at the funeral for their father, Paul Bragg, in Sackville, N.B. He died of cancer at age 59 on Aug. 10, the twins' 26th birthday.

Shelby said her mother, who lived in Montague, had just received a promotion at the call centre where she worked and was her happy, jovial self when they spoke on the phone Saturday morning.

Shelby Bragg, left, and her twin sister Madison, right, remember their mother Cassandra Gould as a skilled seamstress who loved to laugh and joke. (Submitted by Madison and Shelby Bragg)

"At the end of the call she always does this thing where we tell each other we love each other but she'll go, 'No, I love you more' and then you say, 'No, I love you more' and you do that for a couple minutes until one of you gets sick of it and hangs up. Normally, we hang up because she'll keep going all day."

The twins are encouraging everyone to call their families and say I love you.

"I know sometimes they can be annoying but it's worth it," Shelby said. "If I knew mom was going to die at 49 I would have let her know 100 times over."

They transferred me over to the officer and that's when he told me, 'I have some bad news for you.'— Madison Bragg

Gould is being remembered as a skilled seamstress who specialized in making flags. She loved to laugh and joke, the twins said.

She moved from New Brunswick to Lower Montague two years ago to be close to the beaches. Madison suspects she was coming home from the beach with her dogs at the time of the accident. 

Gould's car had a distinctive P.E.I. decal on the back windshield. Someone had recognized it and contacted the twins. At first, all they knew was that she had been in an accident.

"We called the hospitals and we had a friend looking in the hospitals for us who lives in P.E.I.," Madison said. 

"After awhile I did call the RCMP and they transferred me over to the officer and that's when he told me, 'I have some bad news for you.'"

Community support

Though they have never lived on P.E.I., the twins said the Island community has been supportive and assured them their mom had not died alone. 

"We were afraid that she was alone and scared," Shelby said.

The world can seem really really cruel when you lose both your parents in 10 months but when people are so kind it helps a lot.— Madison Bragg

"They were able to tell us that she wasn't alone. There were lots of people around. I had one lady let me know that her daughter was one of the first on the scene and she held mom's hand until the ambulance came. So that was comforting to know. We really, really appreciated that."

Madison agreed.

"The world can seem really really cruel when you lose both your parents in 10 months but when people are so kind it helps a lot."

A funeral for Gould will be held June 25 from 1-4 p.m. in Sackville.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the funeral costs, as well as expenses to help transfer Gould's belongings to a storage unit in New Brunswick until they decide what to do with them. There will also be ongoing vet costs for Henri.

A GoFundMe page has also been set up for Mullin, who was a sous chef at the Inn at Bay Fortune. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shane Ross is a former newspaper and TV journalist in Halifax, Ottawa and Charlottetown. He joined CBC P.E.I.'s web team in 2016.

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