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Grieving mother shares heartbreaking tribute to children on ‘first day of school’

A distraught mother took to Facebook earlier this month to share a touching but heartbreaking tribute to her children, all three of whom were killed by a drunk driver four years ago.

Jennifer Neville-Lake, of Bampton, Ontario, lost her children — 9-year-old Daniel, 5-year-old Harry and 2-year-old Milly — on Sept. 27, 2015, according to Good Morning America. That day, her parents were reportedly bringing them home when she learned that they had all gotten into a serious car accident.

“[My parents] were running late and I was getting annoyed,” she recalled in an interview with ABC News shortly following the accident. “But when 5-o’clock hit, I was like, ‘This is really late for them.’ I tried calling their phones and they didn’t answer me. I flipped on the news and I saw the crash and I said, ‘That’s my van.'”

Neville-Lake then contacted the police and was told to see her parents and children. Upon arriving at the hospital, she found out that Daniel and her father, Gary Neville, had died. Her other two children were airlifted to another hospital, where they also died after losing brain activity. Only Neville-Lake‘s mother, Neriza Neville, and the children‘s great-grandmother, Josefina Frias, survived the crash. 

“I remember saying to the doctor, ‘All of my children? All of my children are gone? This can’t be true,” she said in 2015. “Our lives are pretty much over because our whole family has been taken.”

This month, Neville-Lake visited her children‘s graves and honored them by placing lunchboxes on their tombstones to mark what would have been their first day of school. 

“Grade 8. Grade 4. Grade 2. Or rather, should be!” she wrote on Facebook. “These were their lunch bags for their 2015 school year. Milly’s was designed by her Kuya’s — they worked together to make it for her whilst she sat on my lap and tried to grab her Kuya Harry’s hair. His hair was getting long and she liked to pull it bc he would squeal. The boys took their lunch bags to school and Milly took hers to her music class and when she would spend Fridays with my dad. Our family’s first day of school because of a drunk driver.”

The post has since received over 100 comments, many from people who offered their condolences.

“I am so very sorry for your heartbreaking loss,” one person wrote. “No words, just sending you love and prayers.”

“I cannot begin to imagine what you have gone through mama, and I have no words that can ever make your pain diminish even one bit but I wanted to reach out and send so much love your way, many thoughts and prayers,” another replied.

Neville-Lake has since been trying to help instill confidence in children who have experienced trauma through her nonprofit organization Many Hands, Doing Good.