Family's Emotional Tribute to Darcey Freeman
YOU see her smile and it just makes it all the harder to comprehend.
Darcey Freeman, the little girl allegedly thrown to her death from Melbourne's West Gate Bridge last Thursday, is revealed today exactly as you might picture her.
Long blonde hair, a little girl on the edge of life. A little girl for whom we now ache.
She was thrown to her death, allegedly by her father, in a death so shocking it has numbed the nation.
Her family has remained silent since the tragedy but yesterday they opened up to remember a spark of life, a darling little girl named Darcey.
For the first time since her death, her family has spoken about their loss and total sense of incomprehension.
"We all feel an extreme sense of loss and emptiness," her uncle Tim Barnes told The Courier-Mail.
"We are in deep mourning."
On behalf of Darcey's mother Peta and the rest of her family, a written statement was also released to The Courier-Mail.
"We will never understand the reasons why or how," it said. "Sometimes things in life are just not fair."
Her death occurred as she was being driven to her first day at school.
Darcey's father is in custody charged with her murder.
The family would like Darcey remembered for what she was - determined and spirited, a little girl quick to dance.
"Whenever particular music came on, she'd be dancing and wouldn't even know it," another uncle, Joe Barnes, said.
"She'd be off in her own little zone."
That was Darcey, dancing with her big brother Ben, her little brother Jack looking on, smiling.
As the family prepares for a private funeral, it is those fond memories of Darcey they will cling to.
"Even though she was only four, she was determined and strong-willed," Tim said.
"She knew her own mind and was prepared to always stand up for what she believed in.
"One memory that stands out in my mind was her choice of clothes.
"She would wear what she wanted to wear, end of story - even if it meant wearing pink wellington boots to tennis."
Joe had similar stories.
"She played Auskick for one season. Tried tennis. She's given us a lot of fun. She was into everything," he said.
"She will never be forgotten. She had an effect on everybody."
The family yesterday described the outpouring of support from around the nation as overwhelming.
They said they hoped the incident would remind all parents that their children are precious and irreplaceable.
"We must now begin to look to the future," Tim said.
"Our family will strive to provide the best possible care for Peta and Ben and Jack."
The family, which has been joined by Darcey's maternal relatives from Western Australia, has also given its support to a call for a Children's Remembrance Day, similar to Mother's Day and Father's Day.
"Our family has discussed some of the issues that have been noted in the media, in particular the reference to the public's desire to hold a memorial service in memory of Darcey," the family statement said.
Joe said: "Our family has been overwhelmed by the public support shown to us from around the world. We wish to thank the public for their heartfelt sympathy and well wishes.
"We would also like to thank the Victoria Police and the staff at the Royal Children's Hospital. Every single person involved has been simply wonderful.
"Words cannot express our appreciation for the wonderful care given to Darcey during her final hours."
Words cannot express a lot of things.
Sometimes, you just have to move on - and remember the smile.
The Courier Mail (5-2-2009)
Paul Anderson/ Paul Kent