WHERE’S THE DECENCY?
Leave the poor man alone.
That’s what I thought when I saw the pack of vultures descend on Alan Bond less than 24 hours after finding his beloved wife dead in the swimming pool.
Diana Bliss was a tortured soul who’d twice tried to kill herself.
“We spoke to her last week and she seemed brighter, and we were all hoping for a miracle. Instead we got this,” one of her friends told me yesterday.
Losing a loved one is deeply traumatic. In the case of suicide, it can be almost unbearable.
So imagine what it was like for Alan Bond (pictured left with Diana on their wedding day in 1995), leaving the house for the first time since the tragedy, to go to church on Sunday morning.
This is how it was reported on the PerthNow website:
“He struggled to find the words to explain.
“In the end, Alan Bond – the man who, during one of the country’s most “colourful” careers has never been short of a quotable quote – answered simply: ‘I lost my beautiful wife.’
“That was all he had.
“The media had gathered outside the house Alan Bond shared with his wife Diana Bliss in the Perth suburb of Cottesloe yesterday, hoping for some insight into her sudden death.
“The former tycoon sought solace in his local church before joining his family to mourn her death.
“Looking distraught, and frailer than he should for his 73 years, he appeared to be overwhelmed by the crowd awaiting his return.
“Asked how he was feeling, Mr Bond paused and appeared to struggle for the words, before saying softly: ‘It’s so new. I lost my beautiful wife.’ “
How dare a journalist accuse a grieving man of not being his usual quotable self.
Is it any wonder he was “overwhelmed” and looked “frailer than he should”.
The first question asked was this: “Mr Bond, how are you feeling?”
Talk about Special Subject the Bleeding Obvious.
Later that day, Mr Bond’s daughter Jody Fewster said the family would “appreciate a little bit of privacy at this time”.
When I started in journalism 25 years ago, a news director gave some salient advice.
“If you’re doing a death knock, make sure you do it within 24 hours. That’s when they’re at their most vulnerable,” he said.
As newsreader Jessica Rowe wrote on The Hoopla last October, “Often the shell-shocked family would be told that, by talking, it might prevent the tragedy happening to another family”.
Sometimes, we’d couch it in terms of a ‘tribute’ to the deceased.
This is morally reprehensible.
People in the first stage of grief are desperate to talk to someone – anyone.
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