Nothing seemed different that night for Joel Denny, who spoke to the mother of his daughter, Beajay Phillips, on the phone for several hours where everything seemed normal. Over the phone, the 25-year-old mother even helped Joel put their daughter Macy to sleep before they said their goodbyes for the night. “I was on the phone with Beajay until probably about 11 or 11.30 that night. She seemed fine and was helping me put Macy to sleep,” he told Daily Mail Australia. But a couple of hours later, Joel received an unexpected call that would tear their world apart.
The couple had been together for seven years and even though they decided to split, they would still talk to each other every day. That night, three-year-old Macy was very ill and was spending the night with her father at his parents’ house.
At 2 am on September 29, 2019, Joel received a call from Beajay’s housemate, telling him that she had ended her own life. “It was terrifying, it was not something you can prepare yourself to hear,” Joel said. “I was speaking to her two hours earlier. And she was perfectly fine. I was just in shock.”
Her death came out of nowhere, as Joel said, “You can’t prepare yourself for this, no one can. She was the most happy, outgoing person. Everyone has their issues and I would never expect her to not speak about it. We would always turn to each other in our darkest times.”
Beajay was immediately taken to the hospital and placed on life support, while loved ones, including Joel had to witness a terrible week of seeing her gradually deteriorate. After doctors declared her brain dead, friends and family said their final goodbyes while Beajay was still on life support. And Joel was faced with the difficult task of telling his daughter that she would never see her mother again.
“My daughter started to ask questions like “where’s mummy?” and stuff like that. I’d kind of just change the subject until I had further information,” the 32-year-old father said. “By the end of it I just couldn’t live with the guilt of not telling her what was going on.”
Macy no longer has the chance to grow up with her mother. “…She will never be able to see her, hug or kiss her again,” wrote Kristy Denny, who created a GoFundMe page on behalf of her brother, Joel. “Nothing will ever replace this precious life that has been lost.”
Despite it being one of the most difficult conversations a father would have with his daughter, Joel realized it was something he had to do. “I took her to a quiet area and told her, and my mum helped me with that, and just explained it to her the best I could in her language,” he said.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life and was so heartbreaking. Being three she doesn’t fully comprehend it.”
The grief-stricken father also had to make the painful decision of whether he should let the little one see her mother in the state that she was in. However, after nurses and healthcare workers encouraged him to do so, he decided Macy should be given the chance. He said, “I don’t think I could’ve lived with the guilt for the rest of my life of not giving her the opportunity to say goodbye.”
On October 7, Beajay was taken off life support and Joel found it a little more bearable knowing that her organs were being donated. “Beajay’s passed away on the 07/10/19. This morning she also saved 3 lives with the donation of her organs which I know would have made her so happy,” wrote Kristy. “To know that her life has benefited and eased the heartache for 3 other families.”
As for Macy, it has still been extremely difficult not having her mother around.
“Her whole life has changed in the matter of three weeks. She’s gone from seeing dad every second weekend to being with me full time,” said Joel, who has now become a full time single dad to help his daughter to adjust to the drastic turn life has taken. “There’s been a couple of nights she’s woken up in screams – screaming out for her mother. That’s been so heartbreaking, you try your best to be there for them but they don’t want that.”
The father wrote on Facebook, “Macy and myself are doing as best we can during this time with the support of family and friends which I cannot thank enough.”