An Australian couple considered taking their own lives just hours after their three children were killed in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.
Next month marks the fifth anniversary since the flight was shot down over eastern Ukraine on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 on board, including 38 Australian residents.
Anthony Maslin and Marite Norris’ children Mo, 12, Evie, 10, and Otis, eight, were on their way home to Perth with their grandfather Nick Norris, 68, when their lives were tragically cut short.
The parents have revealed how they deliberated whether to jump off an Amsterdam rooftop separately or together hours after finding out.
July will mark five years since Perth siblings Otis and Evie and Mo Maslin (pictured) were killed on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17
Thankfully, they decided to not inflict the heartbreaking pain they were feeling onto other loved ones and want Australians to know they’re now doing okay.
‘Where we were was hell,’ Ms Norris told ABC’s Australian Story, which will be aired on Monday night.
In a sneak preview for the episode, a tearful Ms Norris thanked Australians for their support at the time.
‘The whole of Australia cared for us and we’re really grateful for their kindness,’ she said.
‘Part of what we’re trying to do is to let them know how we are and let them know how far we’ve come.’
Marite Norris fought back tears while sharing her heartbreak with ABC’s Australian Story
Ms Norris’ three children and father were among the 298 on board killed when their plane was shot down over the Ukraine in 2014
The couple also told how they healed by turning to arts and crafts.
Ms Norris, who enjoys photography, collage, painting, sculpture and drawing, has a dedicated Artspace in an apartment near their home.
She goes there when she needs a break from the stresses and strains from normal life and has made it into a community hub where families visit.
Their last memories of their children are waving to them as they headed off to the airport to in a taxi.
As their children headed home with their grandfather, the Perth couple had stayed behind in Amsterdam for a few extra days after a memorable family holiday.
They described their children as citizens of the world who were open-minded and really welcoming to all people.
An avid Fremantle Dockers AFL fan, Mo was a sporty, chilled and laid-back kid who had started high school months earlier.
Evie was a kind, caring and compassionate soul who was close to the brothers and like her mum, loved art, dancing and cooking.
Their cheeky youngest son Otis was the ‘joy-bringer’ of the family with endless energy who loved dancing, running and climbing trees.
Rin’s dad Nick Norris was remembered as ‘a marvellous energetic bloke’ with a great sense of humour.
Five years on, Rin Norris and Anthony Maslin want Australians to know they’re doing okay
Rin and Anthony contemplated taking their own lives after finding out their kids had died
Five years on, they still deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, Mr Maslin and Ms Norris want Australians to know they’re getting on the best they can.
They want to see justice for those who were killed on flight MH17 but don’t live with resentment or hate.
‘There’s so much that’s good and positive,’ Mr Maslin said.
‘You focus on those bits and you just push all the other s**t away.’
His wife added: ‘The love that I have for my kids — there’s nothing more powerful than that. Tragedy can teach you things that you never wanted to learn, but you learn.’
Otis, Evie and Mo Maslin were open-minded citizens of the world, according to their parents
The arrival of their youngest child Violet in 2016 has helped ease the heartbreaking pain, whom they described as an amazing gift form her siblings and grandfather.
‘Violet’s birth is a testament to our belief that love is stronger than hate,’ the couple said in a statement in 2016.
‘We still live with pain but Violet, and the knowledge that all four kids are with us, always brings light to our darkness.
‘As Martin Luther King said, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’
The arrival of their couple’s youngest child Violet, now 3, (pictured) was described as an amazing gift from her three older siblings and grandfather, who all died in 2014
Evie, Mo and Otis were heading back to Perth with their grandfather for school at the time
On the fourth anniversary of MH17 last year, Mr Maslin took to Facebook with a message for US president Donald Trump days before he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
‘That passenger flight MH17 was shot out of the sky and 298 innocent people were murdered is an irrefutable fact,’ the lengthy Facebook post began.
‘That the plane was hit by a Russian missile has been proven to be an irrefutable fact.
‘That this killed our 3 beautiful children and their grandfather, and destroyed our life and many other lives in the process, is an irrefutable fact.
‘That this happened 4 years ago today… is an irrefutable fact.
Ri Norris and Anthony Maslin’s three children and father were remembered at a Fremantle Dockers AFL game two weeks after their deaths. Pictured are the Perth couple at the game
Nick Norris, 68, (pictured) was also killed on his way home to Perth with his three grandkids
‘That the man whose a*** you’ve just been kissing did this, and continues to lie about it, is an irrefutable fact.
‘So you don’t need to look it up, irrefutable means impossible to deny or disprove.
It’s not anger that I feel towards the two of you, its something much, much worse.
‘You have no empathy for your fellow man, and you clearly have no idea what love is.’
Australian Story airs on the ABC at 8pm on Monday night.
For confidential support call the Lifeline 24-hour crisis support on 13 11 14
Rin Norris and Anthony Maslin have no hate or resentment over the deaths of Otis, Evie and Mo five years ago (pictured)