Melissa Little Tells Lisa Wilkinson About Finding Hope After Tragedy
After the murder-suicide of her family, Melissa opens up to Lisa about her inspiring journey.
Three years after a heartbreaking tragedy that saw Melissa Little lose her young family to a murder-suicide at the hands of her husband, she opens up to Lisa on The Project about finding peace and the courage to move forward.
On January 4, Melissa’s husband, 34-year-old Damien, made a decision that would change their lives forever. He shot his two young boys and himself and drove off a wharf in South Australia.
It wasn’t until police called that Melissa knew something terrible had happened.
“I was notified by the police. But when you love and trust someone, you never in your wildest dreams think that they are capable of such an event as this,” she told Lisa.
While it’s a memory that will always stay with her, Melissa has now found the courage to move forward with her life – for herself, and to preserve the memory of nine-month-old Hunter and four-year-old Koda.
“It's something that I've had to compartmentalise. I've had to put that day aside 'cause that's not how I want to remember my boys,” she told Lisa.
It’s an inspiring story that attests to the power of the human spirit. In the dark times after losing her family, Melissa found solace in physical challenges -- taking on the Kokoda Trail, the place Koda was named after.
“All I had to do was walk one foot in front of the other. I would just imagine them at the top just going, 'Come on Mum … you can do this' and then I'd be marching up that hill,” she told Lisa.
Melissa’s children’s legacy continues to live on -- in a children’s book with real stories from Koda’s friends that she started to write to help his mates. Now, the book Yesterday You Were Here helps other children to understand grief.
“It's hard to hear those stories, but I wouldn't want it any other way. I want to hear those stories because, to me, that just shows that he had such an impact on their lives that they will remember him.”
For Melissa, the journey to live on with the legacy of her children continues -- but this time, with two new additions.
It was at Kakoda that Melissa met her now partner Lachy, after they were training together.
“We connected on a level that I didn't know that I guess that I was ready to trust again or ready to even find love but it might sound cliched but when the right person comes along… you just know.”
Just months after the trek, the couple found out the incredible news that Mel was pregnant. Little Lola is now four-months-old.
“It’s something we both knew that we wanted to fall pregnant straight away and have a beautiful young girl … a little sister,” Melissa said.
“I guess I will continue to survive. I will continue to honour the memory and lives of my two precious boys but I will also enjoy the moments with Lachy and Lola because one thing that I have learned is that life is far too precious and can be far too short so be present in every moment.”
If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondBlue on 1300 22 4636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.