Four beautiful young lives were taken away when a drunk driver mounted a footpath in Oatlands, Australia: The Abdallah siblings Sienna 8, Angelina 12, and Anthony 13, alongside their cousin Veronique Sakr aged 11.
The Abdallah family are Lebanese living in Oatlands, the place of the heart-breaking accident. The four children who passed away at the scene were going out for ice-cream with their sister Leanna Abdallah, aged 10, who suffered minor injuries, and two other relatives who are also siblings.
Charbel Kaskas, aged 11, is still fighting for his life while his sister Mabelle, aged 12, was released from the hospital around a week ago. The drunk driver who hit the seven children recorded a blood alcohol level of 0.15, which is three times the legal limit.
Sienna, Angelina, and Anthony Abdallah's funeral took place on Monday, February 10th. Thousands of mourners filled Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral in Harris Park where everyone prayed for the souls of the kids and for their bereaved parents, and said their farewells.
A cross of rosary beads made of pink and blue balloons, symbolizing the innocence of the departed little ones, rose above the attendees dressed in white and holding roses of the same color. A very touching scene honoring the souls of the kids.
To the sound of the drumbeat played by students of King's School, Anthony's school, the mourners went inside the church. The mother, Ms. Geagea, took to the stage and stood right over the three white coffins, where she asked God for comfort.
One of these coffins had Kobe Briant's NO.24 LA Lakers jersey, written on it: "Playing In Heaven." That was Anthony's wish, to play a game in honor of Kobe Briant, the basketball legend who had passed away a couple of weeks ago; as Anthony's father recounted in an earlier interview.
In that interview, Anthony's father said that his son had shared with him that wish on his last day before the accident. Mr. Abdallah also spoke of his daughter Angelina as 'his little helper' and of Sienna as 'his little Diva and actress.'
His daughter Leanna is still recovering from her wounds, but she was present at her siblings' three-hour triple funeral. Inside the church, seats were full of people who complied with the family's wishes and wore white shirts, as a celebration of life.
Classmates, family members, friends, workers from Danny Abdallah's construction company, neighbors, and even strangers who wanted to support the family attended.
Members of the Lebanese community, from all walks of life and who had no connection to the Abdallahs, were also present and sharing the family's sorrow.
In previous interviews, Dany Abdallah advised people to drive carefully and spend time with their children, while his wife Leila stated that she forgives the driver who took half her kids away from her. While the funeral was public, the burial of the children was performed in a private service.
Another service was held for the cousin, Veronique Sakr, on Tuesday, February 11th, at the chapel of Santa Sabina College at Strathfield. Veronique's funeral was also attended by a high number of mourners.
Her mother, Bridget Sakr, arrived leaning on Leila Geagea, and she paid tribute to her daughter with the sweetest, most heart-breaking words.
She said that Veronique was smart, wise, and someone people can rely on. "I've always wondered why Veronique never got attached to materialistic things," the mother said, "but now I know."
This is indeed a major tragedy hard to recover from. May the parents and family members find some comfort in their faith and may the four kids rest in peace.