Like most people the shock of the tragedy that unfolded with the Walsh family here in Adelaide has taken up a lot of my mind the past couple days. I don’t know them personally but the impact and horror of the event has been huge for many reasons but one that I had forgotten about for a long time.

Many many years ago in the middle of the night my family was pulled into a domestic dispute between a neighboring family – some  10 houses up from us. We had never met them until 1 am that evening a mother, and daughter landed on our doorstep bloodied, hysterical after escaping from being held hostage by their son and brother in a violent rampage.

You can’t imagine the terror as they described in half sentences their experience and the fact that their dad and husband was still in the house with him. The story is graphic and long but ultimately and tragically the son took his life in front of us all that night.

What I will never ever forget are the words out of his precious dads bloodied and tear stained face:

It’s ok, that’s not my son – it’s ok that’s not my son – it’s ok that’s not my son

And I believed him in every sense of the word.

When tragedy and grief hits at such horrific and unfathomable lengths like the Walsh family, it is so natural and common to need to know the truth because we feel by understanding it might help. Speculation, rumours, heresay and the media will start piecing together a picture of WHY and what the TRUTH was.

But does why matter? Even with all the facts it still won’t make sense because like my neighbours the ramifications far outweighed details.

The truth is a different matter and to be honest it’s a very simple and basic one.

In one evening, extreme circumstances paved way to:

A father losing his life
A son losing his life
A mother and wife losing her life
A daughter and sister losing her life

One by death – the others, life as they knew forever. In a moment a family of four ultimately became a family of two.

That’s the truth.

I remember after our experience visiting with the family and it being very important to them that we knew how much they loved their son, that he wasn’t a monster, that he was their boy and whoever “he” was that evening was not him.

My prayer for the immediate family is that each one of them receives the care, attention and unconditional love that they need.That somehow somewhere the road of pure pain is lessened through random acts of kindness and love from any human that comes into contact with them. That their truth remains of an amazing man, father and partner that cannot be distorted or misconstrued by anyone’s opinion or words. That what happened in this one evening says nothing about them as a family, a tragic event that is possible in any amount of suburban homes sadly with a variety of “ingredients”.

And for Phil, may you rest in peace knowing in those final moments…

That was not your son.