Stevie-Lee Weight, aged 15 (centre), Cassandra Manners, aged16 (right), Josephine Calvi aged 16 (left)
Read the beautiful article about Stevie-Lee here.
...because on Saturday night six young people in Mildura were killed. They were walking at the side of a country road, a car came around the corner, skidded in the gravel edges of the bitumen road. Five were killed instantly, the sixth died later in a hospital in Adelaide and two are in hospital seriously ill. Our Victorian government agonizes over its road toll. Victoria is a small but populous state but, even to me who comes from northern Australia, the toll seems horrendous. Although Queensland is so worried that it is at the moment in the middle of a summit with its community to try to find new ways to address the issue.
When young lives are taken, it is haunting for those left behind - particularly when young people are taken en masse instantly. Grief descends like a pall on the affected community. The grief of family and close friends - words are unable to describe. I think of their friends left behind. Grief is difficult for us all to articulate. How then do the young understand, work out, articulate their emotions? The funerals are yet to occur. I don't know these people or this community - but my love and concern and empathy go out to them. My heart aches for them.
My heart also aches for another family. An aboriginal family. A man who now carries a burden beyond comprehension and sits in a jail cell far away from his family and his community. I feel for his mother and his partner who don't understand how one they love is in this predicament. Above all, I am filled with love, compassion, and concern for two little children who are victims too. They were in the car with their father - a father who, perhaps, they may never know, at least in the way we understand fathers should be in relation to their children. What stories will they know about what happened last Saturday night? Will their father's burden become their burden as they grow to maturity?
Life is the ultimate creativity. The lives of all these children were fully of energy and promise - until Saturday night when the opposite of creativity - destruction - came upon them. Those who died will be remembered as ever young, ever beautiful. What happens with those who survive? Destruction leaves its scars - always. May our compassion for all of them be ongoing so that life can be creative and joyful for them once again.