IT is just after 19:00 on a peaceful Saturday evening in Hout Bay.

A man walks down a quiet stretch of Harbour Road and sees two cars approaching in the distance. The tranquillity is brutally interrupted when a Golf and a BMW race furiously past him – one of these full of screaming children.
The ensuing crash that echoed through the bay was going to change a handful of lives forever. A few heartbeats later and Garth Abrahams (40) and his wife Lucielle (38) were sitting in the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, waiting for news on their darling seven-year-old daughter – Demi.

The accident happened just a few blocks from their house, so they were summoned to the heartwrenching scene of devastation. Garth saw the BMW wrapped around a tree and six severely injured occupants – five of who were young children.
Every now and again images of the paramedic working on Demi flash before his eyes, but he tries to focus on all the good memories he has of his daughter.

He had bought her a cake and pink fairy stickers for her birthday just three days before her death … She was so happy.
Garth’s friend is talking to him while he sits in the waiting room, but he’s in a trance. He remembers how Demi only recently learned to swim, the way she looked at him and Lucielle with her big eyes – searching for their approval.
That fatal Saturday morning in March, 2010, Demi sat on his lap and he gave her a tight squeeze: “How much do you love your daddy?” he asked, and she responded, “A thousand million times!”

Garth and Lucielle sat in the Red Cross hospital the entire evening, and then on Sunday the doctor told them that Demi would not be coming home.
Lucielle collapsed to the floor and the Abrahams’ lives changed forever.

One year later and the other children in the BMW all healed, and the 21-year-old driver has pleaded guilty in court.
While the Abrahams family awaits judgement, People’s Post went to their house to hear how they are coping with their loss. They are still struggling to come to terms with Demi’s absence.
Lucielle says numbly: “For the next five months, it felt like I could only get one hour of sleep a night. I went on anti-depressants, but still I struggled to sleep.”

Garth says he watches her every night and sees her grappling with continuous nightmares.
“Her body goes into shock while she sleeps. When I come home from work then I fear what lies ahead. In the beginning there was no light or warmth in the house. There was nothing …”
The two boys – Brad (12) and Jesse (15) – will be in their rooms.

Lucielle continues: “We didn’t eat for a year. The kids are also nervous to come home …”
Garth admits that it’s the same for all of them: “I knew I would have to make my family smile again. I had to bring laughter back into their lives. So when I’ve had a little job then we would go out for dinner or something.”
He basically stopped working after the incident. Garth is a building contractor, but since the work has dried up, he says the family has plunged into a terrible debt.

Both the brothers also have flashbacks of that awful night, but each member of the broken family cope in their own way.
It is especially difficult for Lucielle, since she always had wonderfully intimate mother-daughter moments with Demi. Every morning was magical and filled with laughter.
The family finds solace in God, as Lucielle explains: “If you don’t have some kind of faith, then you will go insane.”
She says that the repercussions of Demi’s death were felt all over Hout Bay.

“It was the biggest funeral this place has ever seen,” she says, before adding tearfully: “But I am left with this big empty space, and I don’t know how to fill it … I haven’t found peace. In the beginning, whenever it is cold and rains at night then I worried about my little girl in the wet ground…” Her solace lies in her husband and other children.

Garth and Lucielle also go to support groups, and speak to other parents who lost one or more of their children, but the hurt never goes away.
Every so often during the interview Garth or Lucielle breaks down in tears and their pain envelopes the room.
“My baby is waiting at that gate,” cries Garth. “Even though there is so much evil in the world, I must try to carry my family and friends, in order that we can all get to that gate.”

A few days before Demi died, she drew a picture and hid it in the telephone directory.
It was discovered later.
Demi drew five girls and a boy standing next to a tree. She was only just starting to write, but the words “Love you Mom and Dad,” are clearly legible.

The tragic repercussions of speeding has forever jaded the lives of the Abrahams family. The glue of their family, and Demi, the light of their lives, was taken away from them, and they know that it would take a lifetime to completely overcome their sorrow.

***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE AND PHOTO WERE PUBLISHED IN PEOPLE’S POST, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. NEITHER MAY BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – PEOPLE’S POST, MEDIA24.***

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