Parents Of Children Killed In Oatlands Tragedy Speak Of ‘Heart-Wrenching Pain’
Daniel and Leila Abdallah, lost three of their six children last week when an alleged drunk driver mounted a curb at Oatlands and ploughed into a group of seven children walking on the footpath.
Siblings Antony, 13, Angelina, 12, and Sienna, 9, all died at the scene along with their cousin Veronique Sakr, 11.
Three other children were injured, including one who was in a serious condition in hospital.
Condolences for the two families torn apart by the tragedy were held on Friday night at the family's church Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral in Harris Park in Sydney's west.
Ahead of the service, the Abdallah family released a heartbreaking statement, describing their ordeal as an "unimaginable tragedy; unfathomable beyond all description."
"Our children are our reason for living," the family said on Friday afternoon.
"Bringing them up in accordance with the ways of God, teaching them to love, affording them every opportunity and nurturing them into positive and impacting young men and women was, and is our life’s purpose."
The Abdallah's said they were at a loss to begin picking up the pieces "so that we may be effective parents to our three remaining angels."
"It is our hope that through this, all will know that no matter the pain or despair, God will be a safeguard through this dark valley."
Each day that passes is a day closer to the day we are reunited with our angels. We will look toward this moment; not backwards at yesterday’s pain.
The parents said they also forgave the driver accused of being behind the wheel of the car on Saturday night.
Samuel William Davidson, 29, was arrested over the crash and charged with 20 offences. He remains behind bars and is due to face court again in April.
Many mourners were expected to attend the condolences service at the family's church on Friday after a number of other services were held for the children in the last week which saw hundreds gather to pay their respects and pray alongside the families.
And in a special request from the Abdallah family, mourners were asked not to wear all black or colours to the service on Friday.
"As this is a celebration of life, Leila and Danny have requested for everyone attending to wear black and white," a social media post sharing the message from the couple read.
The funeral for Antony, Angelina and Sienna Abdallah will be held at Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral on Monday.
READ THE FULL STATEMENT FROM THE ABDALLAH FAMILY BELOW:
On Saturday the 1st of February 2020 at approximately 7.50 pm, our entire world came crumbling down with the senseless loss of three of our six children, Antony, Angelina and Sienna.
A fourth child was also killed; our cousin Bridget Sakr’s daughter, Veronique.
To begin to encapsulate or express the heart-wrenching pain and sorrow we are experiencing in this time would require endless words of despair. This is an unimaginable tragedy; unfathomable beyond all description.
Our children are our reason for living. Bringing them up in accordance with the ways of God, teaching them to love, affording them every opportunity and nurturing them into positive and impacting young men and women was and is our life’s purpose.
What is life without your children? How and where do we begin to pick up the pieces so that we may be effective parents to our three remaining angels?We start with forgiveness.
We forgive the driver that killed our innocent children. His actions will be met before the earthly and heavenly judge. We have decided, in our hearts to forgive him – for our sake, for the sake of our children and more so for Christ’s sake.
Our faith in Jesus Christ remains the foundation of our family and we believe it will continue to help us through this difficult time. Each day that passes is a day closer to the day we are reunited with our angels. We will look toward this moment; not backwards at yesterday’s pain.
As we’ve tried to make sense of the past week, the world too has been shaken by this mortifying event. It is our hope that through this, all will know that no matter the pain or despair, God will be a safeguard through this dark valley. He is in control, and eternity sits in the palm of His divine hand.
Our life here on earth is but a vapour in comparison to His eternal plans, and the purpose God holds for His children.
We would like to thank our family, our friends, our community, and so many others from across Australia and the world, for the overwhelming support we have received.
We are humbled and strengthened by the outpouring of love from each and every one of you.
Please continue to join us in prayer during this time. This is a very heavy cross that we’ve been chosen to carry, but it is through God’s love that we keep going.
May the Peace of God through Jesus Christ be with us all.