She lost a son in blasts... then her family

Ten years after the Bali bombings, survivors and family members look back on how their lives have changed

SYDNEY - When Mrs Sandra Thompson lost the second oldest of her seven children in the Bali blasts a decade ago, she did not just lose a son, she lost her family.

From her quiet home in the Australian farming town of Leeton, Mrs Thompson said the sudden death of her son Clint Thompson, 29, left a "hole" in the family that was impossible to fill.

He was one of the 88 Australians killed in the Bali blasts. After his death, the once tight-knit family gradually stopped coming together for the holidays.

"Everyone is working hard to make it feel normal," she told The Straits Times. "It gets to the point where no one wants to come."

Ten years ago, Mr Thompson was working for a wine company in Sydney. He had just bought a house.

"He was the one who had all the adventure in him," Mrs Thompson said. "Clint was a very, very smart, intelligent man... He wasn't an angel. He stirred me. At his funeral, I said, 'Who will push my buttons now?'"

Mr Thompson had travelled to Bali for an end-of-season trip for his amateur football team, the Coogee Dolphins. Six members of the team, including Mr Thompson, were killed at the Sari Club, a popular nightspot that was blown up by a suicide bomber.

The morning after, Mrs Thompson got a call about a terrorist incident. "I knew instantly that Clint was dead," she said.

After several years, she and her husband divorced - common for parents of murder victims.

"You are just not there for each other," she said. "Your child is not supposed to die before you."

Since the bombings, Mrs Thompson, 62, who worked for the federal welfare agency but retired because of a bad back, has visited Bali twice to help build a park and memorial, the Bali Peace Park. She will be in Bali again for the 10th anniversary ceremony.

"People think terrorism is just something that happens on the day. Terrorism is about the ripple effect to what happens to people after."