We've seen the confronting TV shows where actors play outthe door knock scenario. A police officer breaks the news of a death to an unsuspecting and distraught family member, often at an ungodly hour.
The reality is much worse.
Constable Morgan de la Rue knocked on Karen Gibbons' door with the news her son Ryan was dead after the car he was a passenger in plunged 25 metres down a cliff.
She now speaks openly about the worst moment ofher life as she wants people to hear the harsh reality.
De la Rue wants to remind people that the decision to get into a car can have life-long consequences. In Ryan's crash, the driver was almost three times over the legal blood alcohol limit. He wasn't wearing a seatbelt.
Cherie Howie talks to those on both sides of the door: the mother and the cop.
Some of what happened after a police officer knocked on Karen Gibbons' door in the pre-dawn darkness of a summer's day, and said her son Ryan was dead, is a blur.
Some of what happened she can never forget.
She remembers her confusion when, barely awake, she opened the door of her Stanmore Bay home to then-Constable Morgan de la Rue and saw him holding an A4-sized printout of what she thinks was Ryan's driver's licence photo.
"My first thought was 'Why have they got a photo of Ryan?'"
She cried, of course, she says, when De la Rue then told her Ryan was dead, the 19-year-old's life over in an instant after the car he was a passenger in plunged 25m down a cliff on January 5 2011.
But she remembers little more about how she reacted, or what she said as she stood in the doorway, in her pyjamas and her dressing gown and her shock.
She can't remember the name of the Victim Support worker at De la Rue's side, or even what the woman looked like.
She can remember being made coffee as she began the heartbreaking task of calling Ryan's dad and older brother.
She can't remember drinking it.
"Things just come in and out of that morning."
Some memories remain.
As she waited the two or so hours before she could see her son's body, she remembers "waiting for Ryan to ring" or, even better, show up at the door, bearing kisses and cuddles, just as he always did when he came home to Mum.
Mostly, she waited for it all to be a dreadful mistake.
"My head was going around and around, 'It hasn't happened, it can't be true.'
I remember thinking, 'They've got it wrong. He's okay.'"
And she remembers the moment that wishful thinking came crashing down when curtains were pulled in a mortuary.
"He's lying there in a body bag, still with his eyes open, and his mouth open, so you knew he was screaming when he died. I just collapsed to the ground.
"We were all screaming because that's when reality set in. You saw it for yourself. It was horrific."
The memories are clearer for De la Rue, now a sergeant and working in Auckland's alcohol harm prevention unit.
You don't forget standing on a doorstep at 4.20am and saying the words every parent dreads, the veteran cop says.
"There's not much worse than that," he says, when asked if telling a mother her child is dead is the toughest of the many tough jobs police officers do.
On top of that, he knew of Gibbons through their shared involvement in the Hibiscus Coast Raiders Rugby League Club — he'd played, she's been so heavily involved in the club Auckland Rugby League gave her a Distinguished Service Award in 2016.
"When I made the connection back at the [Orewa] station [that Gibbons was Ryan's mum], I said 'I will do it'."
The red Peugeot at the bottom of the cliff
Night shift was almost halfway through when the call came.
It was a 1V — police code for a vehicle crash — and upon recognising the location De la Rue immediately feared the worst.
"I knew it was going to be serious."
A red Peugeot had gone over an almost-vertical cliff after the driver veered off a road within Pinewoods Motor Park at Red Beach, 35km north of Auckland.
The driver, Ryan's mate Aaron Kent, emerged unscathed and walked to his parents' campground bach.
The 19-year-old, who was wearing his seat belt, later told police the pair were driving to find a place for a cigarette when the crash occurred.
Kent was driving at at least 30km/h - the campground speed limit was 10km/h, and not paying attention as he changed radio stations, the Herald reported in 2017.
The Peugeot struck a sign and careened through a wire fence before landing on the beach, its body crumpled and mangled, the contents under the bonnet spilling on to the sand.
Kent, who a blood test would later reveal was almost three times over the legal blood alcohol limit, was convicted in March 2012 of reckless driving causing his mate's death when the unbelted Ryan was thrown from the car in the crash.
Gibbons can only wonder why her son — remembered by his friends as a stickler for buckling up — didn't do so that night.
She thinks Ryan, who hadn't been drinking, thought he'd be okay in the campground.
Understanding the cause of the tragedy was for another day when De la Rue arrived at the clifftop soon after midnight.
With his sergeant below on the beach, he took control above, keeping people away from the cliff edge and securing the scene for the Serious Crash Unit.
His logbook recalls his first conversation with Kent's parents at 1.11am, his conversation with Kent 34 minutes later, and that he informed the coroner of Ryan's death at 3.30am, nine minutes before calling Victim Support to ask for a worker to join him on his sad journey to Gibbons' front door.
As he worked through the various processes that follow a road tragedy, he kept his focus, as always, on "the job that's in front of you".
"If you think too far ahead then you tend to make a mistake, or you might miss something that's really important.
"But I know what's coming. It's in the back of my mind."
When Ryan's driver's licence shows he lives in Stanmore Bay, De la Rue knows either he or the other constable on night shift will have to tell the teen's family.
'We've got some tragic news'
It's called a 2A.
In police code it means "advisory job", and De la Rue reckons he's done 15 to 20 over his 16-year police career.
"It's part of what you do ... policing's a strange job — we run towards the stuff everyone else runs away from."
It's a task learned on the job, mostly when paired as a new constable with more senior police officers.
The apprehension on the faces of those met by the sight of a police officer on their doorstep, especially at night, is unmistakable.
So it's important to just "get straight into why you're there", he says.
"If it was me that's what I'd want."
Clear language also matters — there can be no ambiguity.
"I say, 'Do you know this person? Unfortunately, he's been involved in an accident and he's now deceased.'"
Clinical language doesn't mean a lack of empathy — De la Rue has cried with families after delivering tragic news.
"I've been there at times where you really do feel for the families because it's so instant and their grief is so enormous. I've shed a tear with them.
"I think it's all right to show your empathy in that way, but you still have to remain professional. You're still there to do a job."
And although bearing bad news is "always difficult", there's honour, too.
"There's always an opportunity for us to show our empathy and professionalism, the code we live by and our values. While their world is spinning, you're kind of the flagstaff in the middle they can look to ... in a way it's a bit of an honour to be that person they can rely on at that worst time in their life."
When he and the Victim Support worker arrived at Gibbons' house, their first task wasn't quick or careful language.
In typical Auckland fashion, Gibbons' house is behind another, so the first priority was making sure the correct door was knocked.
After radioing in the registration number of the vehicle in the carport, De la Rue climbed the outside stairs and raised his knuckles to the door.
"She opened it and I said 'Are you Karen? Are you related to Ryan?' She said, 'Yes'. I said, 'We've got some tragic news. There's been a car accident and Ryan's deceased.'
"She was obviously devastated. She was there on her own, so I took her inside and sat her down."
As they asked if there was anyone they should contact, De la Rue sat with Gibbons.
"I made sure she was going to be okay, health-wise as much as anything because you don't know what's going to happen at that moment."
Reporting a death to the coroner, and dealing with a crash scene, is a long process, so the Victim Support worker is vital, he says.
When De la Rue had to leave about 15 minutes later, the worker stayed.
"That's why Victim Support is so good because they have the time and knowledge to ease them into it and tell them what the next step is when it's appropriate because everyone needs different amounts of time."
As he carefully put together the file for the coroner, Ryan's family was preparing to see him for the first time since hearing the news.
And as they made their sad journey to the mortuary, De la Rue was finishing his shift.
The sun was warming a new day, and the father of two's seven-day rotation was ending in time for a family camping trip.
It was five days of escape, but still his thoughts turned, at times, to Ryan, De la Rue says.
"It was on my mind. I went off with my family but I knew when Ryan's funeral was, and I would've loved to have gone to it."
A perfect day
Twelve hours earlier, everything had been so different.
As De la Rue started that last shift, Ryan was leaving to go fishing with friends at Red Beach, the continuation of a perfect summer's day, his mum says.
Both were off work for the festive season — she from her job at Corrections, he from his school holidays-turned-permanent job installing HRV systems.
It had been a good day for her boy, who "loved being outside and always wanted to be doing things".
"We were having a hot period and they'd been out on a jet ski and swimming ... things he loved."
He'd also devoted some of the day to nagging his mum to sell the family car and "get a black one like I've got", she says.
As they cleaned out her car, mother and son found themselves working to one of Ryan's favourite songs, Bob Marley's Three Little Birds, its reassuring refrain "Don't worry about a thing, 'cause every little thing gonna be alright" delighting her youngest son.
Before he left, Gibbons cooked her son tuna macaroni — a favourite meal, and vital in his bid to reach the 85kg weight needed to chase his dream of playing professional rugby league.
The promising sportsman had already represented New Zealand in under-11 and under-19 touch, and had big dreams in league.
If he hadn't made an NRL team by the end of the year, he told his mum, he would go to England to play league with a friend.
"He was told he had to get to 85kg and all through that summer he had a plan at the gym, and a diet. He was 84kg when he passed."
Her son, who always greeted his mum with kisses and cuddles when returning home, had another habit for the person who brought him into the world.
"He always said 'I love you Mum' and when he walked out of here he said 'Love you Mum, I'll see you in the morning.' That was our last conversation."
As Gibbons settled in for a rare night in charge of the TV remote, De la Rue was having a "fairly normal" shift.
There was a firearms incident and a couple of drink drivers. A few family harm calls received their attention, and an assault job.
Then, there was a 1V.
'People need to hear the harsh reality'
More than eight years have passed since Ryan died, just under half the years he lived.
In that time De la Rue's been promoted, spent a year in charge of Warkworth police, the same again in road policing and clocked a stint as a shift supervisor, among other roles.
His own kids are entering their teen years.
Gibbons has become a grandmother, with the arrival of wee Rhian almost two years ago.
When the little girl comes to visit, she's surrounded by photos - Gibbons loves them - and many are of the uncle she is named for, but will never know.
They'll keep talking about her uncle, Gibbons says.
And about how he died.
De la Rue spoke to the Herald because he wants to remind people decisions can have life-long consequences.
"It's not always your fault. Other people make mistakes, so if you're getting into a car wear your seat belt, be careful when going through intersections, don't use your cellphone, keep to the speed limit and drive to the conditions and if your driver's been drinking, or you've been drinking, don't drive.
"Because those little decisions can impact people for the rest of their lives."
The knock on the door from someone like him is only the beginning.
"It sets in motion the grief for the rest of their life."
Gibbons, who spreads the same message through national road safety charity Brake , wants "us all to think about each other and get this road toll down".
The road toll is at 206, four deaths fewer than the same time last year. In 2011, Ryan was one of 284 killed on our roads.
She's seen the confronting TV ads where actors play out the door knock scenario, Gibbons says.
It's hard to watch. But it's harder to live, and that's why she speaks openly about the worst moment of her life.
"People need to hear the harsh reality and realise it's not just something that happens on TV. Unless you've been through it, you have no idea.
"The ads are amazing, but the reality's the worst."