Jessica Falkholt’s family laid to rest after Boxing Day crash
FOR friends and family, it was the Lars lag. And it makes the pain of their loss that much deeper.
There was the time it took to drive somewhere, then the many extra minutes added to allow for the caution Lars Falkholt employed behind the wheel.
So the bitter irony of his death in a horrific head-on smash that also took the lives of his wife of more than 30 years Vivian, and their 21-year-old daughter Annabelle was not lost on the mourners spilling out of Concord's St Mary's Catholic Church yesterday.
They were gathered for a final farewell, as the sole surviving family member, Home And Away actor Jessica Falkholt lay in a coma at St George Hospital, unaware of her terrible loss.
The family had been travelling home to Sydney on the Princes Highway near Sussex Inlet on Boxing Day, after spending Christmas with relatives in Ulladulla, when they were hit head-on by serial traffic offender Craig Anthony Whitall. He was travelling home from a methadone clinic in Nowra and also died in the crash.
White lilies adorned Vivian's and Lars' brown coffins, with their daughter's white coffin sitting between, decorated with pink flowers.
Annabelle's devastated boyfriend of three years Jordan Brohier was one of her pallbearers as it was carried out of the church following the service.
He broke down in tears and was hugged by friends as Annabelle was placed inside a white hearse.
"The irony of this tragedy is Lars was such a careful driver," Vivian's younger brother Paul Ponticello said. "Whenever asking how long it would take to drive somewhere I would suggest an average for a normal driver and then add some additional time for the Lars factor. We always had a good laugh."
Mr Ponticello said their three deaths on a highway "makes absolutely no sense".
"Lars and Vivian were both immersed in the girls' lives and appeared to be inseparable," he said.
"We take comfort they are together and always will be. Vivian, Lars and Annabelle you will always be in our hearts forever."
For Annabelle's best friend Brittany Macchetta the absence is one marked by silence.
"She loved to laugh and did so very much in her 21 years. The sound of it is something many of us will carry for the rest of our lives," Ms Macchetta said, breaking down into tears. "She was an incredibly social person who loved spending her days off catching up with her friends for dinner or going out clubbing."
Ms Macchetta remembered travelling through Europe together. "Annabelle had a passion for travelling and was constantly thinking of which cities and countries she could visit next," she said.
"It seems that when we finished high school studies her love for overseas adventures grew stronger. "
She said her friend had an innate magnetism that would never be forgotten.
"Annabelle was someone people were drawn to.
"Her radiance and kindness allowed her to form bonds with people that last years," Ms Macchetta said.
She ended her eulogy with a quote from Harry Potter - a series she and her friend both loved: "The ones that love us never really leave us."
Mourners heard how Vivian's parents migrated to Sydney with their children from Sicily for "a more prosperous life".
Lars, who would have turned 70 last Sunday, worked as a mechanic in Sweden before moving to Australia in 1981 where he worked as a Qantas engineer until his retirement.
He married Vivian in 1986 and the pair then welcomed eldest daughter Jessica in 1989 and Annabelle in 1996.
"He adored his three girls and was never happier than when he was with them," Mr Ponticello said.
"Lars could repaint the girls' bedrooms, service their cars, then cook dinner for everyone all in the one day, that's the sort of guy he was."
The Falkholt tragedy took place during a horror Christmas holiday period in which 29 people died between December 15 and January 2 - almost double the figure for the same period a year earlier.