The year 2018 has had more than its share of profoundly shocking, shameful, gut-wrenching, heart-smashing, news stories.
The murder of two teenage children Jennifer and Jack Edwards, a 13 year old girl and her 15 year old brother, in their Sydney home by their estranged father John Edwards in June is chief among them.
The death of their mother, Olga Edwards, in Sydney on Wednesday compounds a devastating tragedy.
— Kym Druitt (@kymdruitt) July 6, 2018
Their address was supposed to be hidden. They were home from school and they hovered in their rooms as their own father wielded a gun. He turned it on himself after he had taken their lives.
Their mother, Olga Edwards, returned from work that evening not to her home but to a crime scene. To the most horrific scenario even a bystander could possibly witness, let alone a parent. Both of her beloved children were dead.
On Wednesday evening, six months on from that trauma, police confirmed Olga Edwards was found dead at the same address.
Such devastating news about Olga Edwards from Sydney today. Our deepest sympathies to all those close to Olga and her children. https://t.co/QRN19gGLa3
— DV Vic (@dvvic) December 12, 2018
It is a tragedy with no end. It is inexplicable and fathomable at once. How does a person recover from what Olga Edwards was forced to endure?
People have – certainly – but is it difficult to imagine why that might not always be the case? Hardly.
It was evidently completely unbearable which is the awful, brutal point of familicide. John Edwards ultimately got what he wanted: he destroyed Olga Edwards’ life.
Olga Edwards had "lost all trust and hope" in police and a family law court system that ultimately failed her, says Rosie Batty https://t.co/vTc9q3xQLV
— The Sydney Morning Herald (@smh) December 12, 2018
Back in June, the day after Jack and Jennifer were killed, Tracy McLeod Howe, told Women’s Agenda this type of violent crime is the ultimate abuse of power.
“It’s about destroying the thing most precious to this woman and that’s her kids,” McLeod-Howe said.
In so doing, he ruined her life. As Jane Caro observed, it is murder once removed.
It’s murder at one remove.
— Jane Caro (@JaneCaro) December 12, 2018
Olga Edwards might not have been murdered by her ex-husband but she may as well have been. Hers is another life destroyed by domestic violence. And it is yet more proof that ending a relationship does not always end the violence or the abuse: too often it escalates it.
It is being reported that Olga Edwards could not bear the idea of celebrating Christmas without her children. It is not an idea she should ever have had to entertain. That she did will remain one of the saddest occurrences of 2018.
To everyone who knew and loved Olga Edwards and her children Jack and Jennifer, there are not enough sympathies in the world but please know your loss is being felt profoundly and this family won’t be forgotten.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.
In an emergency, call 000.