Sharon Siermans' legacy: young son finds a new life after loss

ARON Siermans was sitting in the waiting room of a medical practice recently when he noticed his mother’s photograph on the front page of an old newspaper on the coffee table.

“Look at her. Isn’t she beautiful. But why is mum in the newspaper?” the inquisitive five-year-old asks his grandparents.

“That’s because she’s so special, that everyone wants to know about her and everyone wants to talk about her,” Aron’s grandfather, John Siermans explains to the youngster.

In fact, that article in the November 22 edition of The Courier, was about Sharon’s tragic death at the hands of a virtual stranger – a man she was uneasy about and scared of after just one date following their meeting on an internet dating service.

Aron’s mother Sharon Siermans was a special woman. She loved her son so much she was rarely without him. She was a loving daughter to her parents John and Denise, an adorable sister to her three older brothers, a loyal friend to many and a talented artist.

She was the shining light to everyone who knew her.

However, that shining light was extinguished in April this year when the 29-year-old was murdered in her Doveton Street South home while her young son slept nearby.

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Aron now carries the bright light that once emanated from his mother. He is the reason John and Denise Siermans – both aged in their 60s – get up in the mornings following Sharon’s senseless and horrific death.

“Our grandson gets us through the day. He is the reason we get out of bed each morning,” said Mrs Siermans.

Aron loves to wake his grandparents each morning with the catchcry: “ Grandma, Poppy, can I get out of bed? Is it 7-0-0 (7am) yet?” With that, he runs into their bedroom, jumps onto his grandparents’ bed and promptly “slides” down the hill which is his grandfather’s bent knees.

“He’s a very cuddly kid. He keeps us going and gets us through the day”

“He’s a very cuddly kid. He keeps us going and gets us through the day,” Mrs Siermans said.

But Aron’s bubbly exterior sometimes belies what the loving little boy is really feeling.

Immediately after his mother’s murder, Aron began suffering night terrors.

Even months after the tragedy, he still won’t sleep without a nightlight illuminating his bedroom.

The rear of his grandparent’s house must remain lit because he is scared of the dark and he still can’t go to the toilet at night by himself.

His fears are more than justified. The then four-year-old was in the house when his mother’s killer, Jason Dinsley, bludgeoned her to death. He woke the next morning to find his mother’s bloodied and battered body. The traumatised boy was alone when he tried to wake his mother so she could make his breakfast.

In the months following Sharon’s death, Aron has only divulged bits and pieces of what he saw and heard the night his mother was murdered.

“We don’t know what he really saw or heard, but he did say he couldn’t wake his mummy up,” Mrs Siermans said.

The court was told this week that Aron said: “Mummy screamed like an eagle when the bad man hit her”.

Weekly counselling sessions are helping Aron deal with his memories, his thoughts and feelings about his mother and her tragic death.

Also helping him through all the pain over the past few months have been the classmates and staff, particularly teacher Erin McPherson, at the Mt Pleasant Kindergarten, where Aron has been a pupil in the four-year-old class.

“They have been amazing, supportive, so much so that Erin has been filling out a book each day explaining how Aron has been coping. We then take this book to Aron’s counsellor so they can see how he’s been travelling throughout the week,” Mrs Siermans said.

Also helping Aron cope is knowing his mother is an angel in heaven, watching out for him, looking over him and showering him with love. Each night since his mother’s death, Aron searches the sky for the highest star. Once he finds it, he declares his undying love for her.

This daily routine was made nearly impossible with the start of daylight savings in October, as the night stars came out hours after Aron’s bedtime.

His grandparents then bought him a Star Teddy, which illuminates stars on his bedroom ceiling.

When Aron picks out his mother’s star on the ceiling he recites, word for word, the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep rhyme, then says: “God bless Mummy and God bless everyone”.

“(Aron) is actually coping better than we are,” his grandmother said.

“For John and I, we still can’t believe Sharon won’t come through the door with her annoying sayings.”

The Siermans lovingly describe their daughter has a patient, wonderful mother who spent all her time with her son.

“We don’t have a picture of Sharon on her own ... it was always Sharon and Aron”

“We don’t have a picture of Sharon on her own ... it was always Sharon and Aron. She lived for Aron. He was her whole world,” Mr Siermans said.

Sharon remains close to Aron’s heart and when he wants to talk to his mother, he asks to be taken to her grave. 

At least once a week he visits the cemetery where Sharon is buried and runs up to kiss her headstone.

The Siermans said the outpouring of support from the Ballarat community since Sharon’s death was helping them deal with their grief.

“We really know who our friends are ... their support has been amazing,” Mrs Siermans said.

Aron is looking forward to Christmas with his cousins Bree and Kai, visiting from Sweden. 

While finances may be tight for the Siermans, Christmas for the five-year-old has been made much brighter, thanks to the generosity of members of the Ballarat community, who have donated not only presents, but also money to make the festive season brighter for the family.

The five-year-old is also looking forward to starting primary school next year.

And what do Aron’s loving grandparents hope for in the future?

“Out of all this, we want Aron to grow up and be a fine, upstanding citizen who will have beautiful memories of his mother,” Mrs Siermans said.

kim.quinlan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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