Kerry Lucas recalls the moment she lost her precious baby boy Leo.
The Adelaide model and triathlete had taken the sleeping five-month-old for a jog by the River Torrens in his stroller when she was momentarily distracted by her phone.
In that split second, the unimaginable happened – the pram silently slipped into the water and Leo drowned.
Blaming herself, devastated Kerry was overcome by self-hatred. Believing her heart would never mend, she simply lost the will to live.
‘I was supposed to be protecting my son,’ the 41-year- old says. ‘I couldn’t face getting out of bed. I completely shut down. I had nothing to live for.’
Not even devoted husband Wes Legrand, 38, could reach her.
‘I was pushing Wes away. He was basically knocking on a door and there was no answer.’
Four months after the tragedy in December 2006 there was a tiny chink of light through the darkness – Kerry discovered she was pregnant.
‘It made me feel hope there was a future with joy in it at some point,’ she says. ‘But I was very up and down. There were still very many dark hours.’ However, knowing there was an innocent life growing inside her, Kerry reached a turning point.
‘You can’t just shut down. You have to get started again. Your heart has to start beating, you have to move on. You’re exhausted some days but you have to keep going.’
With the gentle encouragement of her mother Beverley, Kerry gradually found the strength to get out of bed, open the curtains and nourish her body.
‘The glimmer of hope was above me all the time,’ she says. ‘The wheels slowly started turning.’
Sadly, Kerry and Wes’ relationship continued to spiral.
‘Parents grieve indefinitely, but they also grieve very differently. In the moment, you don’t see that. You just resent this person because they are not making this pain go away. I resented Wes because he couldn’t fix it,’ Kerry explains.
‘During the pregnancy, we separated and I moved in with my mum. He needed time alone to grieve.
‘My mum shared my grief and my pain, and she was there on the hardest days. She saw me at my worst and still loved me.’
Even when her daughter Angelina Belle was born in February 2008, Kerry was racked with guilt.
‘Holding Angelina, I felt vulnerable. Did I deserve this?’
Kerry describes her daughter as her ‘saving grace’.
‘Angelina gave me new breath again. I felt like I was drowning.’
For the full story, see this week’s New Idea – Out now.
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