THE family of Trinity Bates have spoken for the first time of their struggle to cope with the eight-year-old's death, and their gratitude to the community for its overwhelming support.
Just more than three months since the little girl was found dead, grandmother Kerry Hanlon said sometimes she still woke up in the morning and thought her grand-daughter was in her home.
Then she realises the one thing she wants in the world she can no longer have.
“Some days you don't know how you're feeling,” Mrs Hanlon said.
“All you know is what you want isn't going to be there.”
Trinity, lovingly called Trin or Trini by her family, was found dead in a drain pipe about 50m from her family's Walker Street home on February 22.
Mrs Hanlon said her grand-daughter was a “perfect, lovable, caring” child.
Trinity was “daddy's little girl” and followed her father Damian Bates everywhere she could.
“She even loved going to the dump with him,” Mrs Hanlon said.
As tears streamed down her face, Mrs Hanlon, known as “Nanny” to family and friends, said she was still remembering things from the first few weeks following Trinity's death.
“It's worse than a nightmare,” she said.
“You wake up and do think it's been a bad dream.”
The raw emotions mother Amanda Clarke was feeling prevented her from answering many questions about her daughter.
But she said the community's reaction as the news spread was amazing.
“Their support, thoughts and kindness have been absolutely unbelievable,” Ms Clarke said.
She said her daughter loved music, and because Ms Clarke is an “'80s baby”, Trini grew to love songs like Footloose and Jesse's Girl.
Mrs Hanlon said there were too many good memories of her grand-daughter to name a favourite.
“I guess the last few months it's been hard for the memories to surface sometimes,” Mrs Hanlon said.
“She was just perfect.”
Mrs Hanlon said she felt like nothing was “real” anymore.
“I just feel like a big chunk of our family is gone.”
The pair said they appreciated the gestures from countless strangers who left flowers near the scene, and people who brought them baked food and other comforts in the first surreal weeks following Trinity's death.
As they travel their paths of grief, about 20 family members also decided to get a permanent physical reminder of their little girl.
A tattoo with Trinity's name and a small pink butterfly, the 8-year-old's favourite colour, flashes on Mrs Hanlon's wrist as she talks.
Ms Clarke reveals an identical tattoo on her arm.
The pair agreed Trinity's 19-month-old sister Mylee was what got the family through the days following the murder.
“She's the reason for getting up in the morning,” Mrs Hanlon said.
Mrs Hanlon said Mylee would always be told how much Trinity adored her.
“When we're stronger we'll make sure she knows who Trin is,” she said.
“We have to take it one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time.
“Sometimes we don't get up at all.”
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