Stay safe and warm everyone!
In honor of a friend who’s best friend’s daughter, Bella, died. I am so sorry….
With his elephant toy in one hand and his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pyjamas on, little Connor Elliott Graham simply wandered off into the night after Christmas.
A 10-hour-search on Thursday by police, the State Emergency Service and hundreds of locals eventually located the four year-old’s body in the Clarence River, just metres from his aunt and uncle’s home on Chatsworth Island, north of Grafton.
His parents, Caity and Dave Graham, woke on Boxing Day to find that Connor, who was autistic, was not in his bed.
They had put Connor, his baby sister Matilda and baby brother Alex to sleep on Christmas night and checked on them at 3.30am because Connor had woken at 3am the previous night.
When they checked again at 7am, the boy was gone.
His aunt, Kim Macfarlane, said the fly screen on his window had been pushed out and his toy elephant was found on the bank of the river close to her home. They searched the back and front yards before running down Chatsworth Road, screaming for help.
”We were out on our front verandah first thing this morning and the family came bolting up the road, just frantic, running in and out of every house asking if we’d seen a little redhead boy,” neighbour Robynne McKerracher said.
The community of about 150 immediately mustered boats, cars and torches to search the cane fields and swampy rivers that surround the area.
The PolAir and Westpac helicopters joined the search, along with the dog squad, Royal Life Saving volunteers and 29 SES members.
A photo of the red-haired boy was shared thousands of times on Facebook, and Ms Macfarlane pleaded for help to find her ”beautiful nephew”.
”We are beside ourselves with worry,” she posted.
However, just before 5pm, the family’s worst fears were realised when Connor’s body was found in the water.
Inspector Brendan Gorman from Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command said: ”We believe the child left the premises of his own volition.”
What a wonderful legacy Mason is leaving behind….
Yesterday, we got home and thought something tragic had happened. Lizzy had put her hamster’s cage on the kitchen counter so that Jake (the hamster) wouldn’t get cold. The kitchen is the warmest room in the house. When Liz got home, she immediately noticed that one of the side tube holes was open on Jake’s cage, our kitten, Loki, was sitting beside the cage and Jake was nowhere to be found. Lizzy was heartbroken, sobbing and we didn’t say it, but all of us thought Loki had just had a Jake sized snack. We went to PetSmart and bought another hamster, whose name is now Mary, and despite the newest addition to our family, Lizzy still cried herself to sleep, worried that she would never see Jake again. Then today Lizzy was standing in the kitchen, and who do you think waddled out from under the stove. Today is a happy day. Mary needs a new cage though, because I sure don’t want a hundred little hamster babies. Miracles do still happen. Sometimes they seem so small, but to a ten-year-old girl who is all to familiar with the realities of death, this reaffirmation that something so small and defenseless could survive a stalking kitten who thinks he’s a tiger, a four foot drop to the floor and a cold night under the stove without food and water was a pretty huge, happy miracle.
Sometimes, in the horrible chaos of trying to give your children gifts that you can’t afford we forget what the day is really about. Thank you, God, for sharing your son with me.
This year is going to be a hard year, both financially and emotionally. Truthfully, I am not even sure how we are going to manage it. I have spent the last few weeks just literally in a fugue of depression wondering how things ended up so tight and stressful this year. I know there isn’t anything I can do about it. I can’t pull money from the air, I can’t rewind time and bring Mason back, I won’t be able to show everyone how much I love and appreciate them with gifts and mementos. It just isn’t going to happen this year. Instead, I just want to tell everyone that despite the fact that it feels like my life has slowly been spiraling out of control for the past several years, and this year seems especially overwhelming, I’ve just got to lift my voice and rejoice in the gifts that I’ve been given. I have a wonderful family, a strong, faithful husband. I am the mother to an angel in heaven and a beautiful daughter on earth and two step children that I love like my own. I have friends across the world that have lifted me up, kept me in their prayers and given me strength. In the darkness, the smallest light shines like a brilliant star. Thank you all for being part of that light. Thank you, God, for letting so many lives touch my own. I am grateful.
Our names are Johnny and Brittany. We made this page to try and raise money to put a fence around our yard to keep our kids from darting off toward our neighbors’ ponds. We have a 4 year old(Madi) and a 19 month old(Alyssa). The reason we need a fence is that whenever we go outside Madi runs toward the pond. She has Autism and loves water but doesn’t comprehend danger or give any reaponse when we call her by name. Usually it’s just Brittany home with the girls while Johnny is either at his dr appointments or helping out with the church so the kids don’t get to go outside very often. Madi and Alyssa love playing outside, but its so hard to handle both of them out at the same time because they both run off in different directions and where we live we really worry about rattlesnakes too because they also like to go into the field and woods every chance they get. Things have been really
hard for us the last 6 months because Johnny has been out of work on short term disability (he only gets 60% of his wages) and because its considered “unearned income” (although he payed the insurance for it for nearly 13 years through his job) they cut Madi’s ssi check from $710 to $75 per month. We’d been trying to save what little we could for a fence, but we’ve had to use the money to pay our electric bill. We’re trying to put together fundraisers in our area to raise money, but we have few supportive family members or close friends who are able to help. If anyone can donate we would really appreciate the help. Thanks — Johnny&Brittany
Terry Dewayne Smith – July, 2013