The Malta Independent 17 January 2020, Friday

'Thank you Gozo for accepting my son' – mother of Hungarian teen who drowned in Marsalforn

Friday, 12 August 2016, 08:40 Last update: about 4 years ago

My sons and I had been planning the holiday for six months. We had been preparing for months, imagining what it would be like to spend a whole month here. We had been to Malta before; we wanted to explore Gozo this year. Who could have known that in this amazing place all our excitement would end in such a tragedy?

The last photo on my son’s mobile phone was taken at half past four in the afternoon, about a hundred metres from the place where he would die at seven o’clock in the evening. There is no sign of danger in the picture.

He spent a few hours there with his younger brother that day. We had been going swimming there for the past two weeks. On that day they were lounging in the sun, chatting, enjoying the sunshine, the water, spending time together. My son’s heart was full of joy and hope. It didn’t occur to him that he could be in any danger.

He just wanted to have one last dip before dinner. He didn’t know anything about currents, whirlpools, about the power of the sea. There’s no sea where we are from. We don’t know what it is like here, we just visit once a year, hoping to enjoy the sun, the wind, and the water.

To die in the sea, for us, is something that happens to other people.  

This summer brought a huge loss for our family. My son died, and my younger son will carry a tremendous burden in his soul for the rest of his life. As for me, I have lost a piece of my heart.

Two days after the tragedy, we returned home because my children couldn’t stay here. The search for my son’s body couldn’t proceed, the weather made it impossible for the authorities to continue. It was after a week that I received the news that they had found a body that could be my son.

Some asked me back in Hungary how I could return to this place. I told them that a piece of my heart is on the island. I can’t wait to go to it.

And since then, it is not just my son that connects me to this place.

There are no words to express thanks for all I have received from Gozo in the past weeks. I need to give thanks to many for all the support I have been given.

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to the authorities, because, while they searched for my son for days, they never uttered a hurtful word against him or cast an accusatory glance in our direction. They spoke of him with respect, treating my feelings with respect.

We all make bad decisions throughout the course of our lives. At times, these can cost us our lives. On that day, my son made a bad decision and it fills me, who loves him so much, with gratitude that you never judged him for it. Every moment of that time, you were compassionate, considerate, and helpful to me. 

Thank you, Gozo, for all the prayers and kind words spoken for my son and for me.

I would like to thank the taxi driver in the white car, who recognized me as I walked, dazed, on the road with a sad bouquet of roses, and drove me to the cemetery. I am grateful for his words and for the embrace. I would like to thank the young man who brought water for my flowers.

Thank you to my friends who, during those two weeks, invited me into their homes, offered me a meal, let me, a stranger, into their lives. Thank you for watching out for me and for working to ease my pain. Thank you for all the therapeutic hugs.
Many thanks to Fr. Norbert Bonavia MSSP in Zebbug for allowing me to stay at Dar Stella Maris. Thank you for the quiet and for the attention that surrounded me there. Thank you for burying my son. It was incredible to hear Fr. Norbert Bonavia MSSP speak the strange words of the prayer with which he let my son go on his way.
I would like to thank the hospital staff for letting me hold my son’s hand one last time. It was an indescribable feeling to hold him, just one more time.

I would like to thank Mr Alexis and Csilla Papp from the Maltese and Roman consulates, respectfully, for their help.

My deepest gratitude to Bishop Mario Grech, who offered to lift the burden of the burial costs from our shoulders and who greeted me personally to offer me solace. To this day, I cannot believe all this has happened to me.

When my son’s father and I decided to bury our child in Gozo, our primary concern was to lay his body to rest as soon as it was possible. We didn’t want to disturb him, dragging him after his days of drifting by transporting him further.

Today, I’m convinced that there is no better place for him than Gozo. A tremendous amount of positive energy from a small number of individuals gathers here.

Kind thoughts of kind hearts merge above the island with the wind and the sunshine. It is a mystical and special place, full of love.

Thank you, Gozo, for accepting my son.

You have soothed me, and my son is the anchor that ties me here forever. I have friends here now and I have a deep respect for the inhabitants of the island.

All I went through in Gozo after the death of my son has strengthened my heart and made me a better person. I hope I can give back all the love I got from you to someone who is suffering as I have suffered. I hope I can help with the sincere love you have helped me with.

My loss cannot be replaced, but it gives me comfort that my son has touched so many souls. I hope all that has happened to him will contribute to making this world a better place.

Angela Murinai

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