Family thanks city after tragedy
NOTHING will ease the pain or the tears for Cleide dos Santos as she buries her soulmate in Warwick this morning.
But the Brazilian-born mother-of-three would like to offer her heartfelt gratitude to the people of her adopted city for their generosity and compassion during her grief.
Her husband, Paulo Bento dos Santos, was killed in a motorbike accident on the Warwick Allora Road a week ago.
The body of the 45-year-old meatworker was discovered by family friends on Tuesday morning.
For his wife that was when the nightmare started: alone with their three children – Paulo Henrique, 20, Bruna, 15 and Karla, 12 – in a country where she barely spoke the language.
She was a devastatingly 14,500km from her homeland, with no family support, and minus the very man who led their overseas adventure.
Through a friend she explained Paulo's dream of raising his children in Australia.
He loved the safety the country offered, with no bars on the windows or high fences around the houses.
He wanted his children to be educated and find jobs they loved.
Permanent Australian residency had brought him closer to his dream.
But Paulo's sudden death shattered his family.
It was Paulo who had tackled the weekly grocery shopping, who'd paid the rent, dealt with school queries, earned an income.
So this week Cleide found herself struggling to handle police inquiries, explain her family's situation to a real estate agent and comfort her grief-stricken children.
But the food parcels left on her doorstep, the generous gifts of money to help cover funeral costs, the kindness of police offers and property managers, and the compassion of complete strangers have left her overwhelmed.
It was “far, far more than expected” she explained through her friend Danielle Peres.
Her husband's mates from the abattoir turned up to tidy the backyard.
School principals rang with their condolences, professional counselling services offered their support and charity-minded locals phoned to see what the family needed.
For Cleide it was an “amazing” outpouring of support from a city where she'd often worried she didn't fit in.
Yesterday she said people's compassion made her feel part of the community.
She described Warwick as beautiful, and a place she'd like to stay and raise her children and fulfil Paulo's dream.
No-one will hold her to it. But as workers from Warwick and Oakey abattoirs down tools to pay tribute to a fun-loving and generous man and offer their support, the dos Santos family should know they are very welcome.
A service for Paulo Bento dos Santos will be held at the Slade School Chapel from 11am today. His family in Brazil will watch the service via the internet.