Jacqui Clifton

On 23rd November 1997 our 10 year old son died and we lost part of our being and purpose. It was a hot Sunday afternoon, the day before harvest and father and son had been working on a truck in the hope of getting it going by the morning when the header was due to start it's slow and laboured laps of the wheat paddocks. Toby was hot and had come home for a swim with his younger sisters and me. The girls and I retired leaving him peacefully basking in the evening sun on a blowup whale. A present from a good mate at his recent camp-out birthday party. A short time later my husband passed through the house asking his whereabouts, and to tell me he was going to move some cattle on the motor bike and might not be back in time for dinner. No one knew where Toby was. Perhaps checking his yabbie traps in the water holes of the creek behind the homestead or securing his newly built raft down stream. He was a water child. He won a swimming trophy 3 weeks after starting school. I chattered on the phone and put away the washing and laid out the school clothes for the next morning. The bus leaves at 7.30am for the 45km trek to Coonabarabran, a small town in western NSW, Australia.

The Simpsons was on the television and I was thinking about dinner. Where is Toby? I called and called, then saw his motor bike and boots. Confused that he would be out in the dry summer prickles without shoes I did not know where to look. I took the ute and searched the water holes, the sheds, the cottage. Did the girls know where he might be - the last they saw him was in the pool. The pool! I could see the gentle swaying of his hair and board shorts.


Jacqui Clifton

You can email Jacqui Clifton: [email protected]
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anniversary date 11-23-97
date of post 08-13-99


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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW