First Xmas without Darryl
A boy’s gifts speak of his own gift — a caring, loving nature
DARRYL Holmkvist had carefully hand-picked Christmas gifts for his parents Paul and Juanita, big brother Warrick and little sister Courtney.
Just before he died in a tragic motorcycle accident on his family’s Majors Creek property on December 20, the 13-year-old spent a day shopping with his mother, buying gifts for the family with his own money, earned picking mangoes on a near-by farm. It was his first paid job.
With mixed emotions, the family opened their gifts on Christmas day.
Little sister Courtney, 5, got a fighter fish, brother Warrick, 15, a deodorant pack and a pair of thongs, his mother a pamper pack, and for his father Darryl had bought a vehicle sleeve for his beloved car.
‘‘They were all practical items that will be well used,’’ his father said.
Darryl’s Christmas presents were waiting for him underneath the tree — the family opened his remote control car, portable DVD p l a y e r , c l o t h e s a n d motorbike gear and have set them aside.
Darryl was a hard worker, who loved his family and the outdoors.
The 13-year-old was killed after his Honda CRF 150cc motor bike hit a tree on the property off Clark Rd at Majors Creek.
One week later Darryl’s parents, brother Warrick — his best friend — and sister Courtney are trying to piece their lives back together after their first Christmas without him.
Mr Holmkvist, Warrick and his girlfriend Jade, and Courtney witnessed the accident that killed Darryl.
Mrs Holmkvist was working at the time.
Darryl died of major head injuries caused on impact.
The family picked up Darryl’s ashes yesterday and brought him home, where he will stay.
Mr Holmkvist said his son grew up on motorbikes — he loved them and was a more than experienced rider. Like most farm children, Darryl learned to drive e a r l y and c o u l d r i d e motorbikes and drive cars, tractors and boats by the age of eight.
Darryl’s parents taught him the value of a strong work ethic early.
The new bike that he died on was a reward for the countless hours of unpaid work he’d done around the house and on the farm since he was tiny. He was also chief babysitter for his little sister, and was often called on by his parents to keep an extra eye on her at weekends, never begrudging the ‘Mr Mum’ role.
His parents gave Darryl the bike about four weeks before the accident and it q u i c k l y b e c a m e t h e teenager’s pride and joy.
‘‘It was for all those jobs they’d done and never been paid said.
‘‘He had been promised a bike for years and this time he got a brand new one.
‘‘He was a top little kid, he was really starting to get somewhere in his life,’’ Mr Holmkvist said.
‘‘He was loved and was just a pleasure to have around.’’
Mr Holmkvist said the youngster was also a whiz in the kitchen.
‘‘He could cook a mean chocolate cake.’’
The family is now taking it one day at a time, but Mr
for,’’ Mr Holmkvist Holmkvist said the whole family missed Darryl deeply every day; the tears flowed regularly.
‘‘(Courtney) still hasn’t got the full understanding of what’s happened. She says she misses her brother . . . she cries,’’ Mr Holmkvist said of his young daughter.
Mrs Holmkvist said every day was a battle. She has lost her appetite and feels as if she can’t cry any more tears.
‘‘People say they know how you feel, but no-one can know how it feels until it happens to them,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s nothing like they show in the movies.’’
But the family would pull through the pain together, Mrs Holmkvist said.
H e r s i s t e r , R o b y n Cussons, has been with them since the accident, reading the eulogy at Darryl’s funeral.
‘‘I don’t have children of my own, these are my children,’’ Ms Cussons said.
Darryl had just finished his first year of high school and was set to start Year 9 at William Ross High School.
Mrs Holmkvist said the Majors Creek and Woodstock communities had exceeded all expectations, rallying around and proving a pillar of support. Community members have dropped round cooked dinners, flowers, groceries, presents and messages of support each day.
Mr Holmkvist’s family, who live in the region, had been a godsend, helping him and his wife and children immensely.
Family friends drove long distances to be at Darryl’s funeral, with hundreds who knew him, last Saturday.
SHARING THE PAIN . . . Courtney, 5, Paul, Juanita and Warrick Holmkvist with Robyn Cussons