Pregnant woman pens letter of thanks and gratitude to mother of three who died while shielding her during hostage crisis

 

By Dave Andrusko

 The closest of friends: Julie Taylor, left, and her friend Katrina Dawson, right, were both trapped in the Sydney cafe siege. While Ms Taylor, who is pregnant, survived, Ms Dawson did not.

The closest of friends: Julie Taylor, left, and her friend Katrina Dawson, right, were both trapped in the Sydney cafe siege. While Ms Taylor, who is pregnant, survived, Ms Dawson did not.

Last week, we posted a story short on details (there were few at the time) but long on emotion. Katrina Dawson and Julie Taylor were close friends and during a hostage situation in Sydney, Australia, Dawson had died shielding Taylor who is pregnant. It was a tremendous display of courage and friendship on Dawson’s part, who, herself, was a mother of three children under ten.

Subsequently Taylor penned a letter of gratitude to her friend, which the Daily Mail published and we are reprinting at the end of this post. The letter speaks for itself, so let me just add a few comments about Taylor’s emotional letter.

She writes, “My husband and I have been told that our unborn baby is healthy and unharmed by this crisis. If all goes well, and there is no reason to think that it won’t, we will give birth to a precious baby in a few months. Although it is an emotional time, we are trying to keep ourselves healthy so that can occur.” Thank goodness.

But Taylor lavishes the highest personal praise on Dawson:

Katrina Dawson was the most wonderful person I have ever met. She was my closest friend, a role model and confidant. Her bravery and strength was, and continues to be, a comfort and inspiration for me. She invested every moment of her life in her friends and family, and will be greatly missed by everyone who has known her. My thoughts and sympathy are with her family, whom I have come to know and love.

And symbols mean a lot, the letter makes clear. Speaking of the “overwhelming display of public support for everyone involved in this crisis, including me,” Taylor writes

My own visit to the Memorial at Martin Place [where the hostage-taker took 18 people captive for more than 16 hours, two of whom died] gave me a strength for the coming weeks which I thought that I might not have, as have the messages and kindnesses that have been sent to me by everyone I know and many I don’t. It is good to know that none of us is alone.

I thought of the observation of Lauren Hill’s dad. Lauren is dying of brain cancer but her courage and steely determination to play in a college basketball game—and raise $1 million for research to find a cure for her disease before she dies—has been a message of hope.

“There’s always been a lot of good people out there but just the overwhelming-ness of how many good people are out there,” Brent Hill said. “That’s the thing that really opened my eyes.”

But the Daily Mail’s Daniel Piotrowski includes a reminder that Ms. Taylor is missed by her grieving family:

Tens of thousands of posies and handwritten messages have been placed at three sites across the plaza, in what has been dubbed ‘Sydney’s floral heart’.

Among the messages was a note written by Ms Dawson’s youngest daughter, Sasha, which said simply: ‘I love you mum. Love Sasha’.

The following is Julie Taylor’s letter to her friend Katrina Dawson, as printed in the Daily Mail:

Although words cannot describe the events of the last few days and the feelings that I have towards the survivors and victims of the Martin Place siege, there are a few things I would like to say.

Katrina Dawson was the most wonderful person I have ever met. She was my closest friend, a role model and confidant. Her bravery and strength was, and continues to be, a comfort and inspiration for me. She invested every moment of her life in her friends and family, and will be greatly missed by everyone who has known her. My thoughts and sympathy are with her family, whom I have come to know and love.

I would like to pay tribute to Tori Johnson [the manager of the café who also died]. Although our acquaintance was forged under the worst imaginable circumstances, I feel privileged to have known you and I will always remember you as a kind, considerate, level-headed and courageous person. It was clear to me how much you loved your family, and how much compassion you had for everyone you met. I am grateful that you were with me throughout our ordeal.

To the other hostages, thank you for the support and consideration that you gave me throughout our time together. I will always be grateful to you.

Thank you to the police, ambulance staff and health professionals at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, who helped us throughout 15 and 16 December and afterwards.

It is difficult to be positive at a time like this, but there are two things which provide comfort to me. The first is the overwhelming display of public support for everyone involved in this crisis, including me. My own visit to the Memorial at Martin Place gave me a strength for the coming weeks which I thought that I might not have, as have the messages and kindnesses that have been sent to me by everyone I know and many I don’t. It is good to know that none of us is alone.

Finally, my husband and I have been told that our unborn baby is healthy and unharmed by this crisis. If all goes well, and there is no reason to think that it won’t, we will give birth to a precious baby in a few months. Although it is an emotional time, we are trying to keep ourselves healthy so that can occur.

I thank members of the media for their respect of our privacy in this difficult time, and ask that you continue to do so.