The Byrne Family

Have you ever wondered what the emotion is when you open the door at 3am to find 3 police officers standing there?

You know as soon as they say your name that something has happened, you just stand there stunned and for a brief second you wonder what has happened and to whom. You know whatever they say, it won’t be good news.

You ask them in, and then without delay, you are told that your youngest daughter has been killed in an accident. You are informed of the details (those that are known at that time) investigations are underway and you learn more in the ensuing days/weeks ahead. The police are caring, sympathetic and understanding as they give the facts, “Your daughter, along with 3 others, has been killed in a Motor Vehicle Accident.” They explain that she was killed instantly when the vehicle she was a passenger in collided with an oncoming truck. The following morning, the news on every channel is covering this tragic start to an otherwise October long weekend.

My daughter was 23 when she died, she left behind 4 young children who at that time were Liam 4, Aiden and Tyson 3 and Zac aged 2.

Thankfully, the children were not with her at the time of her death.

My daughter lived a lifestyle that no woman should endure. An abusive partner made her life difficult and when I was informed of her death, in a strange way I felt relief that she would no longer be subject to abuse. The grief was overwhelming on so many levels.

No parent should have to say goodbye to their child nor should a child lose their beloved mother – it just isn’t right.

Explaining what had happened in terms that a 4 year old could understand broke my heart, knowing that these boys would never feel her hugs again, that their future children would never know the love of a paternal grandmother. The grief and the impact of her death would be felt for generations to come.

In 2014 Liam will turn 8. He has a memory of his mother which he holds dearly. We often talk about her child hood and make every attempt to keep that memory alive. Due to the young age of his siblings, this is more difficult.

The boys now live in separate homes with Liam and Zac living with me and their grandfather, while the twins live with very close friends of the family. The bond between both families is so strong that we consider ourselves all related.

One of the most difficult and heartbreaking decisions I have ever made was to split the boys up. I needed to realise my physical capabilities as well as the financial necessities of raising 4 very young children.

The lifestyle that my husband Neil and I had, disappeared in a millisecond and was replaced by a tight budget and a lifestyle filled with homework, sport and entertaining boys. Suddenly our income was dramatically reduced as I gave up work to look after the kids and the things we took for granted were gone and replaced by the love and needs of these beautiful little boys. A lifestyle, I wouldn’t change for the world.

Linda Byrne

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