Thursday 29 September 2016

The Buckleys are stuck in a nightmare that every parent simply dreads

Barbara Scully

Published 16/04/2015 | 02:30

Almost two years ago to the day, my phone rang in the early evening and my heart went cold. The call was from Australia where I knew it to be about 4am.

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The minute or so that it took for my daughter's boyfriend to explain why he was calling remains one of the longest minutes I have ever experienced. My world went silent and into black and white as I listened with every fibre of my being to what he was telling me. He began by saying: "She had a bit of an accident but she is fine."

What transpired was that she had been on a night out with girl friends. They took a taxi back to someone's house and as she exited the taxi, she tripped and fell. She was holding a bottle of wine, which she didn't let go of. The bottle shattered and a large shard of glass went through her hand, right through and out the other side. By the time I heard the story, they were back from the hospital where she had it removed under general aesthetic. She was OK and should recover with little or no lasting damage.

Relief swept over me as I came to terms with the fact that she was fine. But as her mother I wanted to make sure. A few days later, I arrived in Perth. For a week. To mind her. Rationality didn't come into it. I just wanted to be with her. See for myself the damage and the healing. And cook her favourite dinners.

My heart goes out to Marian Buckley. She and her husband John are now stuck in the kind of nightmare that I merely tasted very, very briefly. But I recognise their pain. As a mother, there is a primeval urge to nurture and care for our children, an urge which doesn't seem to go away no matter what age they are.

From the moment they are born, all we really want for our children is for them to be safe and happy. Karen Buckley, by all accounts, was happy; living away from home, studying at university in Glasgow and surrounded by friends.

But the horrible truth is that, once they become adults, we cannot ensure either our children's happiness or their safety. We can give them all the tools, all the advice, all the support but sometimes it's just not enough.

Sometimes our adult children may cross paths with evil and there is nothing a mother or father can have done to prevent it.

Whatever has happened to Karen could have happened to her in Ireland.

But for Marian and John, they have the added stress of being in an unfamiliar environment, trying to cope with a nightmare that is hard to comprehend. Along with which they find themselves thrust into the media spotlight, pleading for their precious girl's safe return and having to cope with the personal details of Karen's night out being made public.

Police outside Dawsholm Park in Glasgow where the handbag which police believe belongs to missing student Karen Buckley was found early this afternoon. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police outside Dawsholm Park in Glasgow where the handbag which police believe belongs to missing student Karen Buckley was found early this afternoon. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
A Police officer looks over a police cordon round dumped rubbish at the rear of the building in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow which contains the flat which was visited by missing student Karen Buckley in the early hours of Sunday. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police outside the building in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow which comta9nsthe flat which was visited by missing student Karen Buckley in the early hours of Sunday. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
General view of Dawsholm Park in Glasgow where the handbag which police believe belongs to missing student Karen Buckley was found early this afternoon. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police outside Dawsholm Park in Glasgow where the handbag which police believe belongs to missing student Karen Buckley was found early this afternoon. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police outside Dawsholm Park in Glasgow where the handbag which police believe belongs to missing student Karen Buckley was found early this afternoon. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
General view of Dawsholm Park in Glasgow where the handbag which police believe belongs to missing student Karen Buckley was found early this afternoon. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
A police officer looks out from the building in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow which contains the flat which was visited by missing student Karen Buckley in the early hours of Sunday. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police at the rear of the building in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow which contains the flat which was visited by missing student Karen Buckley in the early hours of Sunday. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
A police officer looks out from the building in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow which contains the flat which was visited by missing student Karen Buckley in the early hours of Sunday. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
General view of The Sanctuary nightclub in Dumbarton Road, Glasgow where student Karen Buckley seen on CCTV footage in the early hours of Sunday morning talking to a man before she went missing. Paul Ward/PA Wire
A police officer walks through Dawsholm Park in Glasgow where the handbag which police believe belongs to missing student Karen Buckley was found early this afternoon. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police outside Dawsholm Park in Glasgow where the handbag which police believe belongs to missing student Karen Buckley was found early this afternoon. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police stand next to a bin at the entrance of Dawsholm Park in Glasgow where the handbag which police believe belongs to missing student Karen Buckley was found early this afternoon. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police officers in Dawsholm Park in Glasgow where the handbag which police believe belongs to missing student Karen Buckley was found early this afternoon. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police officers in Dawsholm Park in Glasgow where the handbag which police believe belongs to missing student Karen Buckley was found early this afternoon. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
A police officer searches the undergrowth in Dawsholm Park in Glasgow after the handbag which police believe belongs to missing student Karen Buckley was found early this afternoon. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
A police officer searches the undergrowth in Dawsholm Park in Glasgow after the handbag which police believe belongs to missing student Karen Buckley was found early this afternoon. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
A police officer searches the undergrowth in Dawsholm Park in Glasgow after the handbag which police believe belongs to missing student Karen Buckley was found early this afternoon. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
A dog walker passes a police officer at the entrance to Dawsholm Park in Glasgow where the handbag which police believe belongs to missing student Karen Buckley was found early this afternoon. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police officers in Dawsholm Park in Glasgow where the handbag which police believe belongs to missing student Karen Buckley was found early this afternoon. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
A police helicopter flies over Dawsholm Park in Glasgow after the handbag which police believe belongs to missing student Karen Buckley was found early this afternoon. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police walk along Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow as they are searching a park and an area around a block of flats for any trace of Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police search garages and the surrounding areas near a block of flats in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow for any trace of Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police forensic officers search the rear gardens of a block of flats in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow for any trace of Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police forensic officers search a block of flats in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow for any trace of Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police search garages near a block of flats near Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow for any trace of Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police search garages near a block of flats near Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow for any trace of Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
A police forensic officer searches the rear gardens of a block of flats in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow for any trace of Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police forensic officers search a block of flats in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow for any trace of Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police forensic officers search the rear gardens of a block of flats in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow for any trace of Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police search garages and the surrounding areas near a block of flats in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow for any trace of Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police search garages and the surrounding areas near a block of flats in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow for any trace of Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police search garages and the surrounding areas near a block of flats in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow for any trace of Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police block a road near Windyhill Golf club, Glasgow, as they search for any trace of Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police at the entrance to High Craigton Farm in Glasgow during the search for Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police at the entrance to High Craigton Farm in Glasgow during the search for Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Police Forensic officers at the front door of a block of flats in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow, as they search for any trace of Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

All the while, I would imagine that when Marian closes her eyes she sees her girl, tucked up in her own bed in their family home in Cork - safe and sound.

She may well hold that vision in an effort to get through whatever the coming days (and please God, not weeks) have in store.

Irish Independent

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