Empty Space

We had been a family of 3 ( a Mom, a brother Henry and a sister Alecia) for 8 years before Daniel was born.

When I discovered that I was pregnant against all medical odds it was a very unexpected but most awesome surprise.

For Henry and Alecia to be getting a baby brother or sister was a dream came true and when the sonar confirmed that it was a boy, we named him Daniel.

Daniel made us complete. A perfect unique happy family of 4, and we often thought and discussed how we couldn't imagine life before we had Daniel. Life without him looked so empty, a remote existence from our past and definitely not a place that we ever wanted to go back to. Our future always included a Daniel. It had to, losing Daniel wasn't an option for us....but on 6 January 2009 our biggest fear and the worst thing that could possibly happen to us became real. Daniel died and we became a family of only 3 again - the saddest most hopeless feeling ever.

Daniel Delights

Daniel adored (in no specific order):

01. His family (Mamma, Neni, Lecia)
02. Playing Monsters Inc on the PC (his niekie nak)
03. Talking on the phone with Mike
04. Gunter and Michelle's fish pond
05. Mickey Mouse Club House
06. Rainbow Rob story book
07. Hiss Eeyore blanket (ie oe bersie), Winnie the Pooh pillow and a bottle with warm milk
08. Painting including painting fingers and toes with nail polish...Tracy :-)
09. Schae
10. Reading stories with Hendri and also when they make up their own stories
11. His Teacher Elize and his Noddy friends from his school The Little School House
12. To pretend there is a monster and then to hide under the covers of his bed
13. Driving around with his mom sitting in his red car chair
14. The Spur - not to eat ...to go play
15. Balls, balloons, blowing bubbles and blowing out candles
16. His dad and other half brother and sister, Josh and Erin
17. His wooden train set and even better when he received the blue Thomas locomotive to go with it - a gift that came all the way from Germany, from a very dear friend Stefan
18. To make things go up in the sky
19. Spending hours in the bath with Alecia
20. Nursery rhymes and songs...Old Mcdonald, Twinkle Twinkle, ABCD

This list is by no means complete as Daniel loved life too much to confine his delights to a list of 20. Just to be in his presence was pure pleasure and I feel deprived of my happiness and joy, having to continue my life without him.

Gifts Of Love

I went back to Daniel's grave today - the first time since his funeral on 13 January 2009.

I looked at the little mountain of red ground - a fresh grave in the children's section of the cemetery. My child's grave. I cried for him and for all the other parents that also had to bury a precious child in that same piece of earth. It is a place where the air is filled with sorrow, a place where love and pain combine.

My mother's instinct and desire to give to my child has not subsided. My heart find it impossible to accept that I will never have an opportunity to give anything to Daniel again. I couldn't go empty handed and took for him stones and coloured crystals.

He loved nature...water, stones, sea shells (one of his symbols), mud, the sea, mountains, animals. He also loved to bring special gifts to me, treasures he found when playing outside....a flower, or a leave,maybe a piece of wood,often stones and on special days I would bring me feathers (one of my symbols). I would smile and say thank you to him, hug him and hold him close to have a moment where our only awareness would be of the deep love we share for each other.
Dearest Danny,
I dream of you at night and wake up only to find your place next to me on my bed empty and cold. I miss you with all my heart and all my soul and will always love you.

Eulogy For Daniel

Daniel Hugo Starbuck
2 March 2005 - 6 January 2009

With wisdom way beyond his years, Daniel was a
super special little boy with his own unique sense of humour.

His unconditional love for his family manifested itself through
the complete joy and happiness he brought into every day life.
Daniel was a silent uniter of people. He bridged divides.

Daniel loved things whole and uncluttered.
He had a clear idea of what he liked and wanted -
there were no grey areas for him.

There are no words for the void that has been left
by your untimely departure from our world.
Daniel, you are loved and missed forever
and in our souls until we meet again.

You were the centre of our universe
and life will never be the same again.

Too Young To Die

I wish I knew that Daniel had a father who would a betray the love, admiration and trust of his son in the worst, most severe way possible but I didn’t know that. I believed that Daniel was safe at his father’s house, that they are taking care of him without fail, that he was as precious to his father as he was to me.

Daniel died while he was visiting his Dad. There are so many contradicting versions of what really happened that day. I have many unanswered questions and a strong feeling of unease about the alleged sequence of events. There are however some sure facts:
Daniel drowned in their swimming pool

The pool is unfenced and was left open without cover or safety net

Daniel was alone outside or he was on his own inside the house with free access to the pool
His dad wasn't at home after specifically asking me to fetch Daniel in the afternoon oppose to the morning as he wanted to spend the day with his son.

When Daniel’s father and his wife eventually arrived with Daniel at the hospital, my son was already dead

His dad called me at work crying, telling me that something terrible has happened, that we have lost Daniel. The phone call that no parent ever want to receive. A few seconds, a few words and my life changed forever.

I live in a different town and the 2 hour drive to get to the hospital felt like days. It was an emergency for me to get there as soon as possible as in my heart I believed that there was still something I, as his mother could do to bring him back to life.

At the hospital I walked into the room where Daniel was laying – on his own only covered by a thin sheet. He was perfect and beautiful but so cold and I went to ask for a blanket to put over him.

I kissed him, stroked his hair, comforted him with my words and presence. I was filled with a complexity of feelings, all mixed up, a very intense painful strange combination of disbelief, anger, sadness, hopelessness, unreality, physical pain, devastation, confusion.
The day when Daniel died.