ONE YEAR ON: Joy Vogel, of Mullumbimby, prepares three floral garlands to throw in the ocean.
ONE YEAR ON: Joy Vogel, of Mullumbimby, prepares three floral garlands to throw in the ocean.

Mullum mum at site of tsunami tragedy

By KERRI-ANN O'SULLIVAN

MULLUMBIMBY woman Joy Vogel was one of hundreds of foreigners who went to Thailand to commemorate the first anniversary of the Boxing Day tsunamis.

Joy lost her three-month pregnant daughter Moi, 32, and son-in-law Christian Nott, 34.

Moi, a former producer for Foxtel, and Christian, a travel photographer, were honeymooning at Kao Lak beach resort Ayara Villa when the deadly waves struck.

Just 24 hours before they disappeared the newlyweds broke the news to their families of Moi's pregnancy.

"It was a honeymoon baby," said Joy. "Her girlfriend said she wanted a baby so much in the last few years."

Joy attended a stone-laying ceremony with hundreds of others on the shores of the Andaman Sea on Monday.

However, she also chose to say goodbye to her daughter in her own style.

She knelt on the sand and folded the white scarf she wore at Moi and Christian's wedding on October 2, 2004.

On the scarf she laid three garlands made of red and white flowers.

"The flowers are in memory of my daughter, her baby and my son-in-law," she said.

"I am so glad to be here."

As she waded into the water she continued holding the articles in her hand.

She smiled, not giving thought to the 200 people on the beach where Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Sinawatra and other distinguished guests had been moments earlier.

Joy will stay in Thailand for three weeks.

"Everything is so moving. They have treated people like royalty," she said, referring to the stone-laying ceremony.

"They have thought of everything, and everyone dressed up so formally. I can't get over all the security."

She also praised the Australian Government's involvement in the commemorations.

"They have been amazing," she said.

"The social workers met us when we arrived and they have kept in contact with us. We feel amazingly spoilt really."

Joy also attended an Interfaith Memorial Service at Bang Niang, a small province in the Phang-nga Province in southern Thailand, where 5000 lanterns were launched into the sky in memory of the dead.

On December 17 the Australian Federal Police gave Joy her daughter's wedding ring, a CD Rom of her daughter's passport and a bumbag and wallet belonging to her son-in-law.



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