Posted on September 23, 2014
I recently read Helen Garner’s latest novel, This House of Grief. The book details the trial (and retrial) of Robert Farquharson, who was found guilty of driving his 3 small sons into a dam on Father’s Day 2005, close by to where I live. The text keeps close to the observation of the trial and its mechanisms, except at the very beginning where she and a friend visit the little graves, and during forensic evidence detailing tests done on an identical model of car as that used during the murders of the boy. The car was submerged in various ways, with cameras installed at different points of the interior. The tests served to show the varying rates at which the interior would have been inundated with water. At one point during the evidence given by police investigators, Garner feels that the only way that she can bear to conjecture what actually transpired in the car after Farquharson left his children to perish is to imagine the boys as silvery water sprites, kicking legs and swimming strongly through a crack in the window and away from that watery end.
We create shields to protect our hearts.
The night after I saw my father and brother drown, a vision of the fluffy cumulus clouds swooping down from the sky and snatching them from the mad brown water was what allowed me to close my eyes again. Similarly, after the Black Saturday fires in Victoria, as I lie awake in bed, my mind conjured soft white satin quilts, enclosing and shielding the victims.
Something to keep them safe from the horror, and the fear.
Reading about little boy William Tyrell, my heart and mind recoil. My mind again produces the satin quilt, to wrap him tenderly, and spirit him away from wherever he is. Since I became a mother, my heart has become too tender to bear the thought of children’s suffering. Always small L liberal when it comes to capital punishment, I now brandish my own torch with which to light the fire beneath a monster who would harm a child.
I don’t pray, yet still I beseech the universe over the fate of William Tyrell, little Spidey.
Let him be safe. Please, let him be safe….