The invisibles

I was driving home from the library this morning with Harper in the back reading to herself in her non stop 2 year old chatter when I heard the news about Azaria Chamberlain. That a coroner has found, 32 years later, that it was in fact a Dingo that took and killed that small baby girl. It’s hard to imagine the pain that the family has been through isn’t it? The public way their grief was on show, the spiteful claims from everyone that she “did it”. I hope that today that some of their pain is lessened, a door shut, and perhaps some peace at last after such a very long time.

I cannot possibly fathom the pain that comes with the loss of a child. I don’t allow myself to think of it, to think of the “what ifs” the “imagine ifs”. Sometimes when I am away from my kids my mind wanders, the early hours of a morning will see it drift there, but never for long. I am blessed to have two beautiful children, healthy and well and thriving before my eyes. Who knows for how long, but here they are and for that I am grateful each and every day.

When I was a small girl one of our close family friends lost their son when he was 3 years old. Tom was non stop, a boy that ran, didn’t walk, who was into everything and was a pure delight just as 3 year old boys are supposed to be. One day he got into the fenced pool area, tripped and drowned. As a young girl, probably 7 or 8 at the time, seeing someone I knew and loved and who was just a few years younger than me die, well it was shocking. I remember having his brothers and sisters stay with us while their parents were at the hospital with Tom, sitting at his bedside taking vigil until inevitably having to turn his life support off. I remember the confusion. The pain. The sadness. The sheer weight of grief that sat upon every one’s shoulders at the time. The sound of his mother gasping with pain and grief. I remember it all.

Sunday was the 4 year anniversary for one of the little boys in my Mothers Group Lachlan who died from SIDS at the age of 15 months. I’ll never forget the confusion and utter sadness I felt when I heard the news. The “but how can that BE?” and looking at my own little girl Daisy and wondering why these things happen. Why it happens to one family and not another. The terrible sight of a small white coffin, the pain that no couple should ever have to endure. The sound of poor Jules as she heaved and sobbed into my shoulder. The taste of salt and pain. I remember it all.

What a terrible waste the death of a child is.

Today I’m thinking of Azaria and Tom and Lachlan and all the other children who aren’t around who should be. I’m thinking of their parents pain that may lessen and fade, but that never goes away. Of the cruelness of life sometimes. And of the sheer joy that children bring their parents – for some of us for too short a time, and hopefully for others, a long time to come.

I still remember you.


  1. What a beautiful tribute Beth. You’ve eloquently put into words my thoughts about the poor Chamberlains when I heard the news this morning. This is the way to remember them.

  2. No words. But thank you for this post. My daughter’s teacher lost twin babies who were born premie this year. It is the sort of pain that makes us want to look away.
    Beautiful post.

  3. Thank you Beth, that was beautiful. I am finding my thoughts filled with the What Ifs around my two little ones at the moment – I cannot imagine anything harder to cope with than the death of a child. I have been following the story of a little Sydney boy with inoperable brain cancer. Here’s to good health and long lives for all of our children.

  4. Nothing, nothing, nothing is worse than loosing a child. There is no greater love than that of a mother for her child. However, with great love can sometimes come great sadness. xT

  5. Oh Beth … goosebumps on goosebumps. I’m *ahhemm* old enough to remember Azaria’s disappearance and the media circus that followed. In my then 12-year-old mind, I was guilty of being swayed by the media which had the Chamberlains pinned as guilty from the beginning. It’s only now with hindsight and becoming a mum that I have some benchmark as to what the Chamberlains must have been through over the years. Thankfully my more mature self is not so quick to judge others … especially when that judgement is based on media reports.

  6. That is such a beautiful post Beth. I too can’t imagine what it feels like to lose a child, and I hope that I never have to learn. Will hug my babes a little tighter tonight and be grateful that I have 4 such wonderful little people in my life xx

  7. Goosebumps all over.

  8. Oh, what a lovely tribute. I am crying just reading your words.
    I sometimes go to that place of wondering, and imagining the what if’s of how it would feel to loose my child. I don’t let myself go far into that place or stay long, as just the thought alone takes me into a panic stricken, heart-crushing state. No matter the age of the child, I think the sting would be enough to kill me. Our good friend died tragically 10yrs ago, when he was 24, and still to this day, when I see his parents & the heartache that’s plastered all over them, I still cry. I’m crying just writing this.

  9. I feel so sad and yet so grateful. I too try not to think of the ‘what ifs’ but they occasionally sneak in. Beautiful post.

  10. Such a heartfelt and gorgeous post. xx

  11. I can’t even think about it. Death frightens me so much already. Death of a child, is just unimaginable.

    I hope the Chamberlains can heal from this and move on.


  12. Melc_1911 says

    Heartbreaking and hard to fathom that kind of pain. Beautiful post and tribute. I am going to give my girls an extra hug today

  13. Anonymous says

    I am following the story of a little boy named Talin (Talin’s wish on face book if anyone would like to see him and donate or just share his page to help get his story and others like him out there). Talin has an inoperable brain tumor and they are not entirely sure how long he has to live! I have a son the exact same age… I often think of Talin throughout the day and sob and wonder why, wishing for a cure or a miracle. Why this little boy has come into my life I will never know but because of him each time I hold my children, I hold them a little longer knowing how lucky I am!! I stop to appreciate the small things more often and I am now in the process of becoming a make a wish volunteer… He has forever changed my life.

    What a great post Beth… Made me cry… xoxo


  14. Bawling.

  15. What a lovely post Beth. The fact that it has taken 32 years for a finding to be made. The suffering that parents go through when they lose a child.
    I am also remembering Lachie – that terrible email that came through 4 years ago with news that I just didn’t ever expect to hear from two of my very dear friends.
    Thankyou for prompting us all to remember. To take a moment to think about the parents who will always be parents but may not have their precious child with them anymore.

  16. Made me cry. Beautifully written x

  17. Tears for all those little souls that leave us too soon xx

  18. A really nice post.

  19. Such a beautiful tribute Beth.When I had my daughter I could not sleep without her cot pressed up against our bed,with the side off so I could see,hear and feel her there at all times.I could feed,tend to her and go back off to my much needed sleep knowing she was safe and sound.
    Many people judged us for this but little did they know,not only did this way suit us because it allowed us to get a good nights sleep but it gave us peace of mind.My husband in a previous marriage had lost a baby,one of twins,to cot death.The heartache I knew my husband went through and the Utter Fear we had of going through the same prevented us from having bub in another room.People should not judge others for they dont know what is the reason behind the actions they are judging.
    Thankyou for reminding me of the little bub lost and how lucky I am to have my beautiful girl.xx

  20. I am a person who thinks of the worst case scenario often ( something to do with not thinking I’m worthy of a good life I’m told) so my mind often takes me places I wish it wouldn’t. I’ve taken to not watching shows that talk of harm to children, or ones that involve hospitals. They take me down a mental path I can’t stand.

    I grew up knowing my mum had given birth to my brother & he was not alive. Apparently I used to sit on the back step, look to the stars & talk to him ( Jed is his name). Ur wasn’t until I was older I was able to ask my mum about it, how she coped, how she felt. She was brave & strong. She was tested 27 years later when my sister ( whose birthday is the same as Jed’s only a year earlier) died. This time around she isn’t brave or strong, she doesn’t cope well & I doubt she will ever be able to talk of my sister & not cry.

    Your right Beth, we never know how long we have our children for. It doesn’t matter if it’s a moment, if it’s years or if it’s a lifetime I don’t ever think its enough time.

  21. A friend in High School passed away totally unexpectedly. Several years later I went out with her brother for a few months. That family were so injured and broken apart it made me cry every time I visited. I cannot imagine the heartbreak of losing one of my children. To have media scrutiny like the Chamberlains have had would make it all the harder. I love your beautiful words Beth, a fitting tribute. xxxx

  22. I remember Lachlan every June too. Like you, I’ll never forget hearing that news. xx

  23. Lovely post Beth. Such a good reminder to appreciate what we have, at the same time as remembering those who have loved and lost.

  24. Makes the issues in our lives seem so trivial when you realise you are fortunate enough not to have experienced the loss of a child. I remember the day I had my girls, the same friends who introduced my husband and I, lost their son at 20 weeks gestation. Here we were elated with the joy of having two healthy little girls, only to find out hours later this tragic news occurred on the floor above me. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
    Lovely post Beth, hope all the little souls can feel our love xx

  25. I’m so grateful for two healthy children – I was in a situation once where I thought I was losing one so I appreciate the fragility of life so much. Life can be so cruel.

  26. What beautiful words.

    Every time I find myself amazed at my little guy, my ‘worrier’ mind thinks back to moments of grief that life has handed me and I find myself realising ‘The thought of losing this precious soul absolutely terrifies me’. The loss of a child must surely be THE most horrifying reality on the face of this earth. I’m thankful every day for the little people in my life.

    Such a heartfelt tribute Beth. Here’s hoping the Chamberlain family can move forward.

  27. Such a beautiful post Beth x

  28. A beautiful post.

  29. For someone who has lost a child you have captured the emotion so well….I’m at work and I had to step away half way through, compose myself, and return again later (when I felt stronger!). A beautiful tribute…

  30. Beautiful words. My mind often wanders to the dark side, too often to be healthy, probably. Instead of wondering why she’s sleeping so long and if she is still breathing I should turn my attention to being grateful that she is there. I simply cannot fathom the loss of a child, and my heart goes out to all those who are going through that pain.

  31. This post is so lovely. Such a difficult road and one you wish none has to take. Those poor parents.

  32. Beautifully expressed Beth.

    There’s no word for a parent that loses a child. A child that loses its parents is an orphan. A husband that loses a wife is a widow. But yet there’s no word for, what is known as, the hardest loss.

  33. What a beautiful post.

  34. Anonymous says

    I cried in the car today when I heard the news about Azaria. Just as a parent and fellow human being. The turnaround in Australian public sentiment is incredible too. Thank goodness.

  35. I always try to remember this when my kids are driving me to absolute distraction. 2 friends from high school lost their teenage children, one in his sleep (they think he choked on his own vomit somehow) and another from an asthma attack. How they must wish for one more hug, one more kiss and here I am complaining that my kids are tired, grumpy and jumping on my last nerve.

    It’s called perspective I think….

  36. I love that you remember him every year, his Mama and Dada will never forget and I bet it means a whole bunch that you still think of their little boy and remember how special he is.

  37. I also remember a little boy called Tom who died four days before his second birthday. He was born two months after my son and should be turning six this year. His parents moved away very quickly after he died, too many painful memories and a deep need to run as fast as they could, away from the shock and the pain of losing their beautiful joyous baby. Because they aren’t here anymore and beacause I know how much he loved the trees and the birds and the water that surrounds our home I try to think of him whenever I am walking through the bush or climbing over the rocks to jump into the sea. He lived here too and he loved it. I remember him and so does this beautiful place.

  38. I cried today for the Chamberlains when I heard the news. That – finally – they are believed. I can’t imagine how horrifying it must have been to seek help only to have it turn on you. Like a never-ending living nightmare, I imagine. I thank the universe I haven’t had to deal with such an incomprehensible tragedy. But I have seen its face. When I was 16 I was in a big children’s hospital recovering from the successful removal of a brain stem tumour. The baby in the bed next to me didn’t make it. I’ll never forget the sound that came from his mother – it wasn’t human. Or perhaps it was the most human sound I’ve ever heard. Your post made me cry, too. xx

  39. A truly heartfelt & beautiful post, Beth. My daughter Molly died 12 years ago at the age of four months. You never ‘get over’ something like that, you eventually learn to live again and you carry your love and the memories with you for the rest of your life, wherever you go. I know it will mean a lot to your friends that you have remembered their son today. Sometimes people feel it’s best not to talk about a child that has died, but something as simple as hearing their name spoken out loud can mean so, so much.

  40. Anonymous says

    Beautiful post Beth. Yes it would be hard for the Chamberlains’ hopefully they will have some sort of closure. Within my own family we have lost two small children, my sister had a beautiful girl who was born not breathing and my wonder niece who lost her little girl (16 months) just over twelve months ago to a heart defect. I never play the ‘what ifs’. Thank you for this post. xxx

  41. I have seen firsthand the pain of one of my best friends loosing her child at 4 years old. I was there in his last weeks days and hours and there just after he passed. I will never forget the sorrow. It will never leave me. Unimaginable pain. Thank you for this post Beth. Yesterday was 5 years since his passing and it’s nice to remember that we have not forgotten them xx

  42. Oh geez lady, this is a lovely post. It devastates me whenever I hear of a child passing away or being cruelly taken from the world. Their names almost ring out in my head, haunting me always. Azaria is one of those. As long as I can remember, that family has been on trial… what a shocking place to be, a horrific ordeal for all of them. It’s hard to know where the grief ever truly ends for families like them, I don’t think it does. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t feel overwhelmingly grateful for my two boys. And like yourself, I have witnessed the kind of gut wrenching pain of a family ripped to pieces by the death of a child. I still think of Kayla often. She passed away in November last year, same age as Angus. None of the little angels will be forgotten xoxo

  43. It is a terrible waste – a deficit. Azaria Chamberlain would have turned 32 this year, she was a few months younger than me. I’ve gone on to have 3 kids, marry, travel, buy a house … live a full life. It is impossible to fathom the hole her death has left in that family. So tragic, and to be strung up by the media and accused of the baby’s murder? I wonder if Lindy Chamberlain still believes in God?

  44. So beautifully written and expressed. Our thoughts are with them all.

  45. Raising my morning coffee in tribute to all the invisibles. Well said and beautifully expressed

  46. Beautifully written. My husband and I suffered the loss of our first born son charlie, who was stillborn at 28 and a half weeks. like many others, we know first-hand how it feels to lose a child, and that it never goes away, and having another baby after Charlie was so difficult and frought with fear. I have always wondered what if, even now that they are grown up, and still feel the need to ‘protect and keep them safe’. Thanks for your blog, you captured it beautifully. I read on fb this morning one of my friends and her friends discussing Lindy Chamberlain, still deciding she was guilty and saying that her mothering was suspect in taking Azaria camping and not looking after her! I couldn’t believe it and was so shocked. I know with Charlie there was nothing I could have done to save him, yet the guilt I felt and still feel that i could not keep him safe, never leaves me, as I’m sure it is with Lindy and Michael. They also said her motive is compo! Well, damn, if I’d had to go to jail and put up with 30 odd years of this utter bullshit I’d want compo too. I have read though that she wants no money. At the end of the day though, Lindy and Michael know the truth and we should let them grieve and give them our love and understanding – not further judgement!

  47. well done Beth – I love you blog beautifully written .

  48. I’ve lurked here for a long time, but never commented. I think today is the time to out myself. This was beautiful, and I want to say thank you.
    I keep a blog, though I never thought I fit in to the regular blogging crowd, as my blog is about my baby who died, and I guess a lot of people don’t want to read about that. She was my first baby, my introduction to motherhood was harsh and cruel, as there was no baby to mother. She was stillborn at 41 weeks. I miss her terribly.
    Anyway, I just want to again say thank you, and hi! I think your blog I fabulous and I won’t be so quiet from now on!

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