A single moment has the power to change any life, forever. This is a story about what happens next.
On 1st March 1999, Dom Frawley was a rural general practitioner, providing medical care to a few hundred families through a small cottage practice. He and his wife Maggie were due to deliver their fourth child any day. Dom worked daily with people at their most vulnerable: sick, powerless, and often fearful or distressed. His job was to help carry them through.
By nightfall on 2nd March, Dom and Maggie were the ones needing help. Their newborn child was critically ill, flown by helicopter to an intensive care unit in Sydney. The baby’s life rested in the hands of Dom’s former colleagues.
Malachy had a major heart defect, making him a ‘blue baby’. His family were forced to experience the medical system from the patient side, walking with Malachy in a prolonged struggle with severe disability.
Fear for the future stalked enjoyment of the present. Drawing on Maggie’s love, his passion for philosophy and innate optimism, Dom navigated a slow path to equilibrium. A deep father-son bond developed, enriching the lives of both.
Malachy’s heart disease inspired Maggie and Dom into activist roles with “HeartKids”. Their involvement with the cause risks dominating their lives.
Meanwhile Malachy had taken up activism for the HeartKids movement and became an inspiration amongst his peers, and to many who crossed his path. The burden of heart disease brought a certain type of meaning and definition to our lives. All the while we had to balance the cause against the needs of three other children, and the demands of work and daily life.
Then Malachy died. Life changed again.
The carefully built framework of family life, Dom’s beliefs and ability to cope came up against life’s irresistible, final challenge.
Malachy explores the bond of love between a parent and their child. It is a reminder of how treasured and important all children are. It is also a story about living with the agony of loss. The story touches what it means to love and be loved, to stare down hostile fate with a sense of humour, and to embrace life with courage and resilience.