Saying Goodbye

I was watching the news on the television early this morning before the children were awake, as is my custom. Sitting there, sipping my coffee, listening to the journalists discussing running lists of what was going to happen later at the funeral of poor Daniel Morcombe and estimating the crowd numbers, I suddenly heard a sound behind me.

There stood Riley, in his red Spiderman pajamas, half-buttoned up the front, hair wild and askew, looking aghast at the television and the photos of that other sweet-smiled boy as they were flickered across the screen.

Swearing silently to myself, I prepared myself for questions, because, lord, my son loves asking them.

“What happened to him?”

“He was taken, darling.”

“And then what happened?”

“He died.”

He closed his mouth, clamping his jaw together in a way I recognise as his way of suppressing being upset. His brow furrowed, trying to articulate another question.

And when it finally came, it slayed me.

I didn’t know kids could die,” he said.

Turning away so he couldn’t see the tears I blinked away, I took a breath and looked back into his eyes.

“They can. It’s possible,” I said.

I reached over and rubbed his arm and asked what he would like to eat for breakfast because I didn’t know what else to say or do.

He picked this for me yesterday. I took this photo just after he presented it; there is his shadow, in the background, as he stood in front of me waiting for a response and my thanks. And today I think of another family whose son is tragically no longer with us, a child unable to present a flower or spontaneous token of love to those who are lucky enough to be there to receive it.

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Karen Andrews is the creator of Karen Andrews. This is one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country and is a two-time finalist in the Best Australian Blogs competition. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Is an exercise junkie (when she finds the time).


  1. B + M + L x 2 says

    Oh K, that just made me cry :( It must be so difficult for our kids to understand this crazy, sometimes cruel, world of our’s – I find it hard enough being an adult!! And that poor family has gone through hell for all these years, I hope they can find some peace soon…

  2. says

    Karen, I can’t imagine how much of a challenge it is to answer these kinds of questions for a young person, or how much it breaks your heart that you have to.

    I can’t stop thinking that Daniel would have been 23 this year. The strangeness of this poor child frozen in time… His parents must’ve been through hell the last however-many years.

    Such a sad case, well done for writing it so well.

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