Family's new arrival in face of tragedy
MEL Small had already gone into labour when she learned of the tragic fate of her sister Jodie Spears.
The 32-year-old mother of three died when the scooter she was riding was involved in a two-vehicle crash on Armidale Rd last Thursday afternoon. Mrs Small gave birth to a son, Brodie, on Friday morning.
"It was a bit of a whirlwind to have both happen within 12 hours," she said.
"My family tried not to tell me, but I found out on Facebook. I saw there was an accident near Coutts Crossing involving a scooter.
"In the end I think it was a better way to find out than to wake up from a Caesar(ean section)."
Today Mrs Spears' husband James Spears will move into his new home with his three sons, as originally planned with his wife before she passed away.
The family is trying to return to some sort of 'normalcy'. But every day remains a struggle.
"I'm surprised by the amount of people she's affected," Mr Spears told The Daily Examiner. "She's touched so many lives.
"She never had a bad word to say. She made people's lives better. She was that kind of person."
Mr Spears said his sons were each processing the loss in their own way.
"They have their down times," he said. "They've got an idea of what's happening. But on the day of the funeral it will really hit them.
"They love their mother so much."
The family said they were "blown away" by the overwhelming support shown from the community, which includes a GoFundMe campaign set up by friend James Price, which had reached $8120 at the time of print.
However, the outpouring of community support has extended far beyond the GoFundMe campaign.
"The Top Shop in Bent St, South Grafton is holding a raffle," Mrs Spears' sister Kylie Murdoch said.
"She loved Scentsy. Each time someone buys one of their special packs of six waxes Scentsy will donate $5. Kylies Hockey Club has donated too."
Meanwhile, this weekend Coutts Crossing Pre-School is holding an open day from 10am to 2pm this Saturday to raise money for the family.
The family has asked for people to wear bright-coloured clothing at Mrs Spears' funeral to be held 10.30am this Tuesday, October 25 at Christ Church Cathedral in Duke St, Grafton, followed by a burial service at Clarence Lawn Cemetery.
"To match her bright personality," her father Steve Jeffs said.
Colleagues from Woolworths Grafton will form a guard of honour. Store manager Gary O'Neill said Mrs Spears was like family for many of the staff.
"It's been a pretty sombre time for us here," Mr O'Neill said.
"Jodie was a well-loved team member. We thought of her as family, we feel like we've lost a sister.
"She had a bubbly personality that was infectious, not only for her family, her friends and for us, but for customers as well, so she'll be sorely missed."
Family friend Jim Swan, who has known Mrs Spears since she was a baby, will deliver the eulogy at the funeral. He has been staying with the family and said it had been a very difficult time.
"They'll be right," Mr Swan assured. "I'll look after them.
"I give them as many hugs as possible."