An awkward pause greeted a stranger who asked Danny and Leila a seemingly innocent question: having no idea that three of their children had died.
“Oh my gosh, your baby is so cute. How many children do you have?”
“Wow, you are so blessed!”
It is an apparently innocent and inconsequential question that has undoubtedly been asked of many parents.
But on Saturday night, outside a hotel in Sydney’s CBD where the Liberal nightclub performance had just ended, that interaction stood out for a heartbreaking reason.
The woman leading the conversation, while well meaning, seemed not to know who she was talking to.
Holding a two-month-old baby in front of her were Sydney’s parents, Leila and Danny Abdallah, aged 37 and 44.
The West Sydney couple sadly lost three of their children in what is known as the Oatlands tragedy, after their children Sienna, 8, Angelina, 12, and Antony, 13, were hit by a drugged driver. , in February 2020.
Her 11-year-old niece Veronique Sakr was also killed in the devastating accident and their only remaining daughter at the time, Liana, suffered a head injury during the incident.
The driver, Samuel Davidson, was sentenced to 28 years in prison last year and will not be eligible for parole until 2041.
Despite the tragic situation, Leila told news.com.au that she welcomes questions about her deceased children as this is how her memory lives on.
“I’ve always been prepared for that question,” Leila told news.com.au over the weekend.
“To me, when someone asks me when how many children do I have, I only answer that I have seven children.
“When people ask more, I say that I have three [children] in heaven and four here, then people realize who I am.”
Leila even went so far as to say, “I love answering that question. [because] East [having my children] It is my greatest achievement.”
Other parents have also reached out to the Abdallahs, not knowing how to handle these difficult conversations in the wake of their own personal tragedies.
“Danny and I get a lot of calls and messages from people, especially when they lose loved ones, asking us, ‘Leila, how did you manage? What did you do?’” Leila explained.
His advice was to focus on what you still have; in her case, it was her three surviving children and her new baby.
In another tragic turn of events, the mother of seven added: “I actually have nine children.
“I had two miscarriages, one before the accident, one after the accident,” she explained.
She found out she was pregnant in August 2020, just six months after the tragedy that killed half her children.
In a strange coincidence, Leila’s pregnancy test result came just one day before Sienna’s birthday, the day the little girl would have been nine if her life hadn’t been so cruelly taken.
He broke the news to his surviving children Liana, 12, Alex, 7, and Michael, 5, who were very emotional.
Unfortunately, just a few weeks later she suffered a miscarriage.
“After 11 weeks I lost the baby,” she explained. “I didn’t really feel it… I was so numb, I was just in my heart talking to Angelina, Antony and Sienna, I was just crying because I missed my other children more than anything, my attachment was stronger with the children who lived with me.”
Earlier this year in March, the Abdallahs melted hearts when they gave birth to their new daughter.
On March 18, Leila and Danny welcomed their daughter Selina, who was born at 7:45 am weighing 3.31 kilos.
They named her Selina because it is a mix of the names of her daughters Sienna and Angelina, who died in the crash, as well as her daughter Liana, who survived.
She said she took Selina to the memorial site for her three children, adding: “It breaks my heart that that’s as close as you can be to your brother and sisters.”
However, the Abdallahs are hopeful that their newborn will give them new purpose and mark a new happy chapter for the family.
The Abdallahs emerged as supporters of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny after revealing that in the wake of the tragedy, as well as last year’s home invasion that rocked the family, the liberal couple provided them with emotional support.
Earlier this week, the Abdallah couple revealed in an interview that they had become lifelong friends with the Morrisons due to their impressive mannerisms.
“I walked out of court and he was the first person who called me,” Abdallah said.
“He said ‘Danny, nothing will replace your children.’ But it was the longest sentence for involuntary manslaughter, 28 years, that they have ever handed down. He says ‘but this sentence was a good sentence’”.
After the children’s funeral in February 2020, Jenny Morrison invited the Abdallahs to her home.
He also offered to spend the day with the Abdallahs to make sure Leila felt safe in her own home after it was invaded.
Mr and Mrs Abdallah were invited to the Liberal headquarters for the elections on Saturday night.
However, since they had just had a baby two months ago, they decided to bring their two-month-old daughter with them.
They revealed that they had voted Liberal in this election due to their respect for Scott Morrison and said they were “sad” that the Australian people did not know him as well as they did.
“He’s been in our house, he’s like family,” Danny said.
That said, they also congratulated Anthony Albanese on becoming Australia’s 31st Prime Minister and believed he would do a good job in his new role.
“Congratulations to our new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Our nation has made its decision,” they said in a statement.
“To our Prime Minister Scott and his amazing wife Jenny, you did an amazing job considering the circumstances and hardships we have faced over the last three years.
“His leadership, humility and love for our nation is outstanding.
“Thank you for being there for us during our pain. We love you very much and will always treasure our friendship.”