Last Thursday we saw the unspeakable happen in Barcelona. We watched the aftermath of another terrorist attack unfold. We prayed for the victims. We prayed for the families. We prayed that we never find ourselves in a similar situation. And we prayed that Julian Cadman, the missing seven-year-old from New South Wales, would be found alive.
Today comes the most devastating news. Julian Cadman is confirmed as one of the 13 people killed in the terrorist attack in Barcelona, Spain.
A little boy has lost his life. An Australian mother and father have lost their son. And a nation has lost hope in the belief that Julian Cadman would return home to Australia alive.
As we remember Julian as one of the youngest victims in the Barcelona attack, his family and friends remember him as their “energetic, funny and cheeky” little boy. Born in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Julian moved to Australia three years ago with his parents. A bubbly little boy with beautiful brown eyes and a cheeky smile, he loved to dance and dress up. He loved Batman and bikes. He loved playing rugby and Lego. And, like any typical boy his age, he adored his mum.
Julian’s death confirmed by officials
Last Thursday Julian and his mum, Jumarie “Jom” Cadman, were taking in the sights in Barcelona. The pair were there for the wedding of Julian’s cousin, Justine. As Julian and his mum walked hand-in-hand down Las Ramblas street, they were struck by a white van, which killed 13 and injured 130, including Jom.
Jom was taken to hospital, pleading for news of her boy who initially was just thought to be missing. Soon after, Julian’s father, Andrew flew from Sydney to Barcelona to do the unthinkable – identify his seven-year-old son’s dead body.
While the family initially clung to the hope that he could have survived the attack, they released a statement this morning confirming the heartbreaking news:
So loved and adored
“Julian was a much loved and adored member of our family. As he was enjoying the sights of Barcelona with his mother, Julian was sadly taken from us. He was so energetic, funny and cheeky, always bringing a smile to our faces. We are so blessed to have had him in our lives and will remember his smiles and hold his memory dear to our hearts.
We would like to thank all those who helped us in searching for Julian. Your kindness was incredible during a difficult time. We also acknowledge we are not the only family to be affected by the events, our prayers and thoughts are with all people affected.
We will not be making any further comments on this tragedy and ask everyone, especially the media, to give us the privacy we need to grieve away from the public eye.”
As expected, Australians are shattered by this devastating news. As a mum to my own cheeky seven-year-old boy, I cannot even begin to imagine what Julian’s parents are going through.
No parent deserves to discover their beloved little boy has died, especially in such a cruel and unfair way. No child deserves to lose his life to terrorism. No family deserves to go through this.
“What happened to that little boy”?
Like many parents across Australia and the world, my children overheard the news of Julian’s tragic death on the radio this morning. And my seven-year-old son asked, “What happened to that little boy?” Why did he die? How did he die? Could that happen to me, mum?”
These are most likely going to be questions many parents get asked today by their own curious children, who, as hard as we may try to stop it, will get a glimpse of the news or overhear someone talking about it at school.
There is no right or wrong way to answer these questions or the many others that follow. While some families will try to shield their children with a quick response and a change of topic, others may prefer to speak honestly and openly about it. The above video may provide some assistance in what to say to help your children understand upsetting news.
Regardless of how you choose to talk about what has happened in Barcelona and what has happened to Julian, take the time today to give your children one extra hug, one extra kiss on the cheek, one extra cuddle before bed.
Take the time to breathe in your child’s smell, to feel his warm body next to yours and to listen to his beating heart.
Take the time to remember Julian Cadman, to pray for Jom and Andrew, and to appreciate just how lucky we are to have our little ones in our lives.
Our thoughts are with the Cadman family during this devastating time.
For more tips on helping children cope with bad news, please see our article on Helping Your Child to Handle Tragedy In the News: How to Discuss Hard Topics with Kids.
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