real life

This is what grief looks like.

Content warning: This post deals with the death of a child.

A gut-wrenching image of a father holding his son, who died just 30 minutes after he was born with a fractured skull, is grief in its rawest form.

The death of Marty Tonkin’s son Nixon in June 2014 at a Brisbane hospital is the subject of a coronial inquiry. It’s alleged that a midwife’s mistake during the birthing process may have caused the head injury that ultimately killed the infant.

Relative Simone Valentine posted a loving tribute to Marty on Friday, accompanying a black-and-white photo of the father cradling his son.

A post shared by Simone V (@eclectic_mumma) on


“Meet Marty. He is Nixon’s dad – gentle-souled, loves his family, is Simone (Tonkin)’s loving husband, daddy to Nixon and now sweet Knox (2),” Valentine wrote.

Valentine said Marty was emotionally the “strongest man” she had met, recounting the “soul-breaking” task he took on during Nixon’s funeral.

“(He) carried Nixon’s casket in at his service and how he made his legs move with the soul breaking task ahead is seriously a moment I personally will never forget.”

Valentine went on to describe the “wonderful dad” and “great mate” as someone who “works endlessly at his family business” and supports his wife.

Listen: Sometimes, it’s beneficial to to structure our grief.

The mum-of-two ended the post with an impassioned plea for donations towards the MyCause page the family set up to support the Tonkins.

“I just thought you should know a little about him and how much of a relief and load off his shoulders it will be when we hit this target and he can start to slow a little, catch his breath and let us have his back for a little.”

To help the Tonkin family, click here.