How parents found hope after MH17 crash
THE parents of the Maslin children, who died when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was downed over Ukraine, have revealed they contemplated taking their own lives following the tragedy.
Perth couple Anthony Maslin and Marite "Rin" Norris lost their three children, Mo, 12, Evie, 10, Otis, 8, and the children's' grandfather Nick, when the aircraft was shot down by a Russian missile on July 17, 2014. All 298 people on board, including 38 Australian citizens, were killed.
Speaking publicly for the first time about their immeasurable, Mr Maslin and Ms Norris told the ABC's Australian Story it had turned their lives upside down.
"Our world as we knew it was absolutely over in that moment and we just started to say, 'when the world ended' and that's how we refer to it now," Ms Norris told the program.
"Where we were was hell."
The couple contemplated taking their own lives in the hours after the plane was shot down, they revealed. But they decided that wasn't an option they wanted to take, mostly because they didn't want to inflict their pain on anyone else.
"Where we are now is a different place, and what we feel we owe to the Australian public is to let you know how we got to where we are now," Ms Norris said ahead of the five year anniversary of the tragedy next month.
A "web of love" created by friends and the local community gave them the strength to continue, according to the pair.
And the birth of their fourth child - two years after the disaster - brought a "tiny amount of peace" back to their lives.
"We started to think about the possibility of having another child quite soon after the world ended, because it was a tiny little glimmer of hope that our life might not be continuously and forever just loss," Ms Norris said.
"When I found out I was pregnant I was obviously happy but also worried, because I had known how to parent three children but parenting one little one who would live in the shadow of this tragedy was a pretty daunting task."
Their daughter Violet was born in May 2016 and is now three years old.
"I'll never forget holding her in my arms and feeling just a tiny little moment of peace that I hadn't felt for so long. It was just like, oh wow, a little bit of peace has come into my life," Ms Norris said.
Mr Maslin told the program the spirit of the couple's three eldest children lived on in Violet but that she was her own person.
"She's not Evie. She's obviously not the boys and she's a real little force of nature herself and each night I tell her I love her just as much as her brothers and her sister and that they all love her, too," he said.
Mr Maslin added: "I am the father of four beautiful children and that's a lucky guy in anyone's language. You might not be able to see three of them but that doesn't mean they aren't here.
"So, yeah, they are here right."
An international investigations team found in May 2018 that there was "convincing evidence" that MH17 was shot down by a Buk-TELAR missile from Russia.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has vehemently denied any involvement.
Family friend Rebecca Fiore-Leach said the couple believes others will benefit from their example.
"They just want to show people that if they can survive what they've survived, other people can also survive what they are going through," she said.