First Christmas without them
The grieving parents who lost their children after a drunk driver ran into a group of kids walking to get ice cream in Sydney’s west, have opened up about how they will deal with their first family Christmas without them.
Danny and Leila Abdallah spoke at an event to raise money for charity, Feel the Magic, which aims to help children who are grieving the loss of someone special.
Their son Antony, 13 and daughters Angelina, 12, and Sienna, 8, were struck on a footpath in Oatlands alongside their cousin Veronique Sakr, 11 in February this year after a drunk and drug-affected driver, Samuel Davidson, crashed into them.
A fifth child was left in a critical condition and spent 80 days in hospital but survived, while two other children were also injured.
Mrs Abdallah said holidays have been difficult to cope with since the tragedy occurred and this Christmas Eve would have been Angelina’s 13th birthday.
“That’s why we named her Angelina, which means ‘little angel’,” she told the event on Thursday night.
“Christmas is a very hard moment for us … We’re just trying to be ourselves and focus on our healing of mind, body and soul.”
Mr Abdallah said that while this holiday season will be difficult, he was determined to bring “joy” to his three other children.
“We’re trying to have our Christmas as it was last year so they can at least feel that joy,” the father-of-six said.
“Even if we don’t feel that joy because we miss them (Antony, Angelina and Sienna), we’re trying to do it for our kids.”
He said his kids were in the “best possible place” after losing their siblings.
“My heart is broken. I have no motivation,” Mr Abdallah said.
“It's painful but I can’t let them (my wife and other children) down … They’ve given me that purpose to wake up every morning.
“You need to build a trusted team around you to get through grief because it’s something you can’t do on your own.”
Mrs Abdallah told the audience she had began attending church daily, exercised six days a week and surrounded herself with positive people to help her cope with the loss.
Veronique’s mother Bridget Sakr — who also attended the event — said her faith, hope and having a purpose to live and look after her son got her out of bed each day.
“Knowing our children are in heaven. They’re alive. We just can’t physically see them but they’re with us all the time,” she said.
“I have a family to support and be a role model for and there is hope for all of us to see our children flourish.”
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