Tsunami sadness lingers for O'Brien family
By ZOE SINCLAIRzoe@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
GLADSTONE mother Sunee O'Brien will never forget the loss of 21 family members in the tsunami which devastated their Thailand village a year ago, but the first anniversary has brought some healing relief.
Husband Trevor O'Brien and daughter Kimberley remained in Gladstone while Sunee returned to her village, one of the areas worst hit in Thailand, to remember her family with a memorial service. 'She went looking through corpses for three weeks after it happened and proved what a strong person she was,' Trevor said.
However nightmares have haunted Sunee until recently and it was felt the journey would be too emotional for Kimberley.
'She'll never get over it completely but 12 months on the memorial service will be very important for the healing process.'
"When we talked to her last night (Sunday) she was coping OK and after today it will be a big release of pressure.''
Trevor said the rest of the village and the remaining members of the family would all help each other through the time.
'Everybody helps everybody,' Trevor said.
In that spirit Trevor and Sunee were supporting a niece and another girl from the village who were only two of about 140 orphaned after the tsunami.
Kimberley hoped to visit her orphaned cousin, Dear, next year and at 12 years old empathised with Dear's situation.
'I think she's kind of struggling at the moment,' Kimberley said.
'Because I'm the only one (only child) in my family, she's like a sister to me.
'She's pretty special.'