Australia

‘He looks like he’s sleeping, he looks peaceful.’ The police officer told us the divers found a boy’s body.’: Sister recalls baby brother’s tragic drowning, urges ‘you can never be prepared in this situation’

“We began frantically looking in the houseboat, in cupboards, under beds. I called out his name, begging him to stop playing games, hoping he was just playing hide ‘n’ seek. Looking over the river, it was so calm, but you couldn’t see a thing under the surface – it was just too murky. My mom came to the realization that my father needed to be called, to be told his son is missing. ‘It’s going to be okay; we are going to be okay,’ my mom repeated, trying to put on a brave face.”

‘Someone at school told me you’re gay.’ I couldn’t keep this secret any longer. I poured my heart out to her. I thought I’d lost my friend. Until my phone pinged. ‘I like you, too.’

“We hid, for months. People started to suspect our relationship. We were pelted with rocks while waiting for the bus. We were spat on. Soon, her mom found out. They moved her 10 hours away. I barely had any contact with her. As the train arrived on the platform, she was waiting for me.”

‘The anesthetist put a mask over my face. ‘Please help me, I’m going to die.’ She replied, ‘You‘re not going to die.’ I thought about the family I was leaving behind, and then it went dark.’

“Mom kept saying to me, ‘You’re in labor.’ I kept replying, ‘No I’m not.’ Ethan and I just kept repeating, ‘IMAGINE, imagine if this is it!’ We were so excited, and so naive of what was to come. I put my chin to my chest and pushed as hard as my body could handle.”

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