Today I am reflecting on a very sad day in 1983. I was living with my husband and three sons in Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. My youngest son was just a baby of a few months old.
We had been living there for about 9 months when a new family from Victoria came to town to work with the same organisation. They had four young children and their youngest was 5 years old. It was a hot December day, only a frew days after they arrived, and they went to the river for a swim, with a group of people from the church. I thought it was too hot and decided to stay behind with the baby.
The day progressed in its usual pattern until some time after lunch and there was a loud knock at the door. A local school teacher was there, obviously in shock, and said “There has been a drowning!” You can imagine my shock and horror at his words. He was quick to assure me that my other two sons and my husband were ok. He told me that it was child from the new family who drowned. Tragic. Unbelievable.
The little 5-year-old girl, had got into difficulties and was drowned. My husband and others tried to rescue her but their efforts were to no avail. They rushed her to town and to an ambulance but it was too late. Her parents were devastated. We all were.
The next day I went to visit Belinda’s parents. They were sitting outside in the shade of a beautiful tree coloured with yellow flowers. It seemed like such an idyllic scene but it was far from it. What do you say to someone who has experienced such a loss. They were thousands of miles away from any friends or family. I can still see their faces today, reflecting the depth of their pain. How could they go on living their lives as they had before this happened?
So sad! I don’t know where they are today. Their other children will have grown up and may have children of their own now. I hope so. I hope that they experience a lot of joy and comfort in their lives. They showed great courage in the face of disaster.
I couldn’t get this story out of my head today. I felt like I needed to share it, either for myself or for someone else who reads it.
All good wishes