Amid the 298 lives lost in the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17, the hope, the potential, the dreams, futures and love, all gone, scattered across Ukrainian farmland as the world squabbles over finding out what happened, the sight of one family has come to symbolise the gut-wrenching pain of this tragedy: the Maslin family of Western Australia.
It’s a story of the cruelty of fate and a reminder to cherish the moments you have with the people you love, right here, right now.
Sailor and former high school principal Nick Norris, 68, offered to take his three grandchildren Mo, aged 12, Evie, 10, and Otis, 8, home from a family holiday in the Netherlands for the start of the new school term, to give their parents Anthony Maslin and Marite Norris some time together in Amsterdam.
Last night, the Anthony and Marite released a statement through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
It says it all. For all.
A message to the soldiers in the Ukraine, the politicians, the media, our friends and family.
Our pain is intense and relentless. We live in a hell beyond hell.
Our babies are not here with us – we need to live with this act of horror, every day and every moment for the rest of our lives.
No one deserves what we are going through.
Not even the people who shot our whole family out of the sky.
No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for our children, for Mo, for Evie, for Otis.
No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for Granddad Nick.
No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for each other.
This is a revelation that gives us some comfort.
We would ask everyone to remember this when you are making any decisions that affect us and the other victims of this horror.
So far, every moment since we arrived home, we’ve been surrounded by family and friends. We desperately pray that this continues, because this expression of love is what is keeping us alive.
We want to continue to know about your lives, all the good and all the bad. We no longer have lives that we want to live by ourselves.
So we’d like to take the chance to thank everyone, all our incredible friends, family and communities, and to tell you all that we love you very much.
We would also like to thank the people at DFAT; the local coordinator Claire and most sincerely, Diana and Adrian from The Hague, without whom we would not be here.
We ask the media to respect the privacy of our family and friends – pain is not a story.
Anthony Maslin & Marite Norris.
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