It is not often that a perfect stranger shares one of your deepest human emotions with you. Grief is most often an intensely personal storm of emotions that those around can see, but not feel. Today an entire city is grieving together, experiencing the pain and anguish of loss as a community.
At about 10.30am on Tuesday December 9th, 2.5 year old Sam Trott, wandered through an open front door and into the street outside his home and disappeared. The door had been left ajar by tradesman walking in and out of the house. Within hours hundreds of people, emergency services and civilians alike were walking the streets and doing grid searches, hoping to find the little boy before sundown. Tradesmen, businessmen, stay at home mums and everyone in between came out to offer assistance.
Sam is autistic and does not respond to strangers, making the search that much more difficult, with a little boy possibly determined to hide. Sadly as the sun set he still had not been found, but search and rescue persisted long into the night with people from neighbouring homes and suburbs walking the streets with torches and emergency personnel never giving up.
The next morning, hundreds of volunteers from all walks of life, many taking the day off work, showed up to begin a co-ordinated search effort in the hopes of finding little Sam alive. In a devastating turn of events, within an hour of the search beginning, the tragic news began to filter through that he had been found by police divers in a lake close to the family home.
Now as a community our hearts bleed for the loss of Sam, today not only one family cries, but many, many families. Our entire city came together as a group in search of a lost little boy, as a city we called his name, sung his favourite songs and pleaded with him to come home safe. Now as a city we shed tears for a life cut short so unnecessarily.
I cannot speak for his family, our entire cities grief rolled into one must still pale in comparison to what they are feeling. For them the light at the end of the tunnel may be much further away than it is for us. For those of us who’s lives will go on after this and hopefully one day for Sam’s family also, the light at the end of the tunnel restores our faith in humanity. In the midst of one families pain, an entire community committed to helping them, perfect strangers, simply stepping up to assist someone who was in need. There were no questions or hesitation, we just did it!
Pictures from yesterday show hundreds lining up to help, people were turned away because the SES just couldn’t co-ordinate the amount of people that wanted to get involved. Those that couldn’t help stayed to look after those that were, bringing water and food to tired, emotional volunteers.
Now the whole of Perth is making efforts to acknowledge the little boy whose life was cut so tragically short. Christmas lights displays now bear his name, candlelit vigils have already taken place and the whole city is fundraising in lieu of flowers for the Autism Foundation of Australia.
As we grieve it is with the fear that this could happen to any family. We are all looking at our own children and hugging them just that little bit tighter as we shed a tear for a mother who can no longer hold her son at all.