real life

3-year-old Alby got a birthday gift in the mail. That night, he died in his mother's arms.

At 2.49pm on Monday, children’s toy store owner Anna Davis took a photo of her three-year-old son Alby, snuggled up in his bed underneath a brand new doona cover.

“I can’t wait to go to bed tonight, Mum!” Alby, who was just days away from celebrating his fourth birthday, told his mum.

Alby Davis last photo
Image via Instagram.

Exactly 40 minutes later, Anna, who lives with her family in Tasmania, was holding her son as he took his final breath.

After unwrapping a package earlier that day that had arrived for his upcoming birthday party, Alby had been playing with a bouncy ball.

The ball became stuck in Alby's windpipe, and despite Anna's desperate efforts, he could not be saved. It took just a matter of seconds.

Sharing the heartbreaking news with her 76,000 Instagram followers, Anna - mum to oldest daughter Sage, Alby, youngest son Acre and currently pregnant with her fourth child - wrote the gaping hole in the family's lives since her son's death is "incomprehensible".

"Yesterday afternoon, our beautiful, beautiful Alby, our darling baby boy, grew wings and flew from this earth," she wrote.

"Minutes pass like hours... We adore you beyond belief, our sweet little fox. Forever three, forever free."

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Yesterday, Anna shared the final photo she had taken of Alby, and thanked her friends and family for their support.

"No words could ever express the depths of our gratitude for the outpouring of love we have received since our worst nightmare became our daily reality," she wrote.

"During this time of immense grief, your thoughts, prayers, sympathy and tears have enveloped and uplifted us, and we could never thank you enough for your overwhelming generosity and support."

A family friend has since set up a GoFundMe page for the family to help support them as they grieve and prepare to welcome a new baby. The page has raised $175,000 in just one day to support the family - Anna, a small business owner and her husband Simon, a relief teacher who is not entitled to paid leave.

"In this time of unfathomable grief, this beautiful family need time to mourn and surround each other in love, without having the financial burdens of daily life and work commitments weighing on their mind," the page reads.

"Let us come together to offer our support in any amount we can. We may live far away, even separated by oceans, but let us band together to help Anna and her family feel our love and presence during this time."

According The Mercury, family, friends and neighbours have set up a "meal roster" to help the family in the coming months.

"There has been an outpouring of people, food and kindness," a neighbours told the publication.

"What has happened is unfathomable."

Fan's of Anna's store, and her beautiful, natural photography style which has documented the Davis family's lives for years, have shared messages of love and support on her Instagram page.

"My heart completely breaks for your family. Praying for you and sending so much love," one fan wrote, while another added, "What a beautiful boy, my heart is broken for you and your family."

You can donate to help Alby's family here.

LISTEN: Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo speak to Bec Sparrow, about what we could possibly say to a mother who's lost a child.

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