No parent should ever have to say goodbye to their child, yet for the families and loved ones of Bali Nine Duo, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, this is something they’ve just had to do.

Can you even imagine this for a moment?

“Thank you” was the polite reply from Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, when Kerobokan prison officers woke them, to take them to Nusakambangan Island prison where the men will wait to be executed. “Thank you”.


Regardless of your personal views on the crimes committed by these two Australians, and of the judicial system of countries which support the death penalty, the fact is these two healthy men, these two Australians, will soon lose their lives.

There are a large number of people in Australia and around the world, holding their breath, waiting for a clemency decision, incredulous that the wheels are in motion and that this is actually going to happen.

Yet behind the story of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, are the stories of their families and friends, their parents, their brothers and their sisters. These are the people who have watched the horrific consequences of their crimes, unfold. They have lived a roller coaster of hope and despair and frustration. They haven’t been able to “make things right’ for their loved ones. And now they have to say goodbye.



As parents, with absolute white-knuckle certainty, we know our job is to protect our children. And above all we do not want to bury our babies. Nor do we ever want to have to say goodbye.

“There is an unspoken rule in our community that our children should not die before us,” suggests Sarah Wayland, Grief Researcher from the University of New England. “The information about imminent death is not the chance for their families to get a ‘head start’ on their grieving but just one more terribly tragic addition to a dark story that began the moment they were arrested.”

We can only imagine the horror the families of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have gone through sharing their last words of love and comfort. To their families, these grown men become little boys with scabbed knees, they become pimply teenagers with a lifetime of opportunity ahead of them and they become newborn babies brought home from hospital, who’s skin and hair is inhaled, who’s soft-as-a-feather cheeks are kissed, and who’s warm breath is felt.

The decisions made as an adult have been forgotten and forgiven, and precious time is spent just being together.

“The rituals of loss are individual. For some the opportunity to spend time with a loved one prior to their death allows you to say all you need to say, hug all you need to hug and resolve any tensions that might have been offered,” adds Sarah Wayland. “In this extraordinary situation these families are in, with the deadline looming but without exact details, the continual goodbyes and the uncertainty would compound their grief even before it has happened.”

As we wait and watch in dread, spare a thought for the families of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran and walk in their shoes for a moment. Feel the absolute horror of their impending loss, and the unnatural trauma of having to do something a parent should never have to do – and that’s to say goodbye.

We can step back out of their shoes, sadly, they can’t.

Image Source: Getty
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  • at least they get that chance


  • Losing a child is heart breaking and having to live with the uncertainty of looming death is even worse.


  • looks great


  • It is so sad for their families, I can’t imagine their pain.


  • I have my views on the situation and I know many are on my side of the fence, while there is a whole group on the other side of the fence. However that is not the topic of today.
    I really do feel for the family as having to say goodbye to your grandson, son, brother etc is not easy at all. I do feel that these families get a chance to say goodbye to their sons/brothers and treasure what time they do have and say what they want and need to say before the time comes
    Many of us on the other hand (me included) have lost sons/brothers and not been able to say goodbye. Not been able to treasure those final moments and be able to say one last thing, clear the air of any drama, or tell them how much you love them and how much they mean before they die. I wish I just had one chance to tell my brother how much I loved him and to say I was proud of him and to appreciate that last cuddle. I was very appreciative of the time I had with my brother and never took any time for granted and I was lucky we have some great memories before he passed. But as I marry and have children and watch them grow, it breaks my heart to not have him here. To see my sister in law give birth to a beautiful baby who I adore, yet is not my brothers baby breaks my heart. ( I sit here now typing through tears)
    I have had many loses in my life, some that were unexpected and quick and others where they were diagnosed with an illness and we had time to say goodbye. Both are difficult.
    The quick and unexpected – not having a chance to say goodbye
    The diagnosis and eventual passing – grieving as you know you will lose them and grieving again when they go.
    Death is horrible in any form. And I do really feel for these families, however I also feel for the families of those who have been affected by drugs and have lots their brother/sons to suicide, overdoses or other drug related deaths.


  • It breaks my heart to think about what all of them are going through….Whilst I don’t condone the crime, I think that to wait 10 years and watch them rehabilitate and help others before shooting them is barbaric and cruel. Their sentence should be altered to even life behind bars after waiting 10 years. Murderers get away with lighter sentences. The whole family have suffered and continue to suffer and their sentences are for the rest of their lives……


  • Sometimes I wonder what’s harder, having the chance to say goodbye and doing that and not having the chance at all.


  • Praying for all involved in this, as there is no winners there is only heart broken families.


  • Drugs became a product of civilisation and how scholors view it based on their study. It seems that democracy also impact society in bad ways when their is no other alternative because of what they called, ” law”
    Saving lives is the ultimate goal for any human and especially those who pronounced leaders. As Christians believes that forgiveness always allow life over dead as the master gave his life to save us all regardless of who we are and what we believe. The one word that sum us all is “HUMAN” and that differentiate us from all other living organisms.
    If anything we want to leave in our legacy, the question need to asked, ” How many lives have we saved and how many we have destroyed?”
    At the end, we all died somehow but who we are to judge our brothers and sisters of what they do and believe? Hope Indonesian President will reflect and remembered by his children and families as a saviour of lives and a creator of peace. NOT a destroyer of human souls.

    • I like another MoM member am not going to give my personal opinion on the matter, as I believe it has created a lot of vitriol with the division of for and against in Australia. I agree with MOM 94378, in that I can’t imagine not having the chance or having the chance to say goodbye- both would be gut wrenching. MOM 127889 I believe a great leader leads by example. The Indonesian president has offered monumental amounts of money to get Indonesian prisoners around the world off death row for similar offences. I don’t know if he will be remember as the destroyer of souls, but I think that people will certainly question his double standards and not just because of these current executions.


  • I understand a lot of people are saying “commit the crime, do the time” & that they knew what they were getting themselves into. Did they though? Didn’t we all think that we were invincible at age 19, do you really think at that age that they could have fully comprehended what they were getting themselves into? I totally agree that drugs are killing more & more young people everyday & that more needs to be done to warn our children against the dangers of drugs. But the lengths that this two young men have gone to to rehabilitate themselves & to help alot of other young people better their lives, I truly feel that the barbaric way in which their lives are about to end doesn’t quite fit the crime. Perhaps I’m just talking as a mum who could not imagine what their families & friends are feeling right now.


  • According to the news report by AFP earlier this morning for which foreign minister Ms. Bishop was offering Indonesian government a prisoner swap deal, wish the deal succeed.
    It seems that is the final try, if not and may be one more chance, Mr. Abbott and Ms. Bishop can try to contact president Xi and Putin seeking possibility if they would like to be the mediator of the presoner swap may help to succeed this deal.
    Don’t expect the Indonesian government will value the lives of their nationals leading to have this swap done.


  • My heart bleeds for these families. Yes they committed a crime but I don’t believe in the death penalty. Its barbaric. No one as the right to take a life. I hope and pray that something can be done to stop this.


  • Mannie, our hearts are bleeding as we go through the day and trying to feel the pain endured by these young men,parents , friends and siblings. People become better citizens, through education and experience in their lives. These young men have proved to the world that they can make a change for themselves and those that are in need. These are the perfect examples to use to educate others.Executing them is a loss to the parents , families and friends but more importantly to a country like Trigger Indonesia if they are maintains that drugs is a problem. These men can be used to educate the drug users. Unfortunately Trigger Indonseia has showcased to the world that it’s not about drug curbing or rule of law but exercising their powers in inappropriate situations with two defenceless, helpless individuals that have made a terrible mistake but now fully reformed.Australian government and the AFP will have to do everything they possible can as this is part and particle of Australian Government in the light of theAFP failing to protect it’s cutizens.AFP should be taken to criminal court and sued for their role played that now U.S. claiming the lives of two Australians. Goodbye my Dear friends and families that are grieving.I hope the Loard will intervene to Chanew the mind of this heartless, cold blooded man who is giving the orders to pull the trigger, Mr President Widodo. We she’ll never visit your country. We she’ll ensure all aids and trade are shelved until you stop this heartless stance.


  • These men were babies that were held in their mothers arms and as a mother it is unimaginable to think of your child being executed. Indeed; they committed a crime and they are prepared to do the time for their crime. Indonesia lobbies for their own people to be set free and to not be executed in other countries; however they show no mercy to foreigners in their country. The arguments do not make sense and smack of hypocrisy. I pray for these families at this traumatic time.


  • praying for their families during this tough time


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