And so it fell to family to break the awful news, father-in-law Brian Dallow told 7News Adelaide.
Gavin and Zoe were dead.
The 48-year-old Australian mother was “emotional,” Brian Dallow said. “That’s all I can say.”
The tragedy hanging over Lisa Dallow’s recovery is just one testament to the horrific aftermath of December’s eruption on White Island, a popular tourist destination where New Zealand’s most active volcano killed 21 people and left dozens more with grave injuries.
Family members have been careful over how much they share with Lisa, not wanting to “upset her any more than they have to” as she makes good progress, Brian Dallow told 10 Daily News this week. She has only been awake for two weeks, he said, and remains “very sensitive” after a move from intensive care to a Melbourne hospital’s burns unit.
The grimmest of tasks will await as she recuperates. Her 53-year-old husband, Gavin, was already mourned by hundreds at a funeral last month, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. But Zoe’s memorial was postponed in the hopes her mother would eventually be able to attend.
Then there are the logistical questions that follow a loved one’s death.
“Once Lisa is well enough, we’ve got to discuss what we do with Gavin’s ashes because they’re still sitting in the funeral parlor,” Brian Dallow told 10 Daily News.
He was still waiting to speak with Lisa himself when he talked to reporters. He and his family in Adelaide have been communicating only with other relatives for now; he said he wants to speak with Lisa in person first, rather than over the phone.
The family was on a holiday cruise last year when they stopped for the day at White Island, officials told ABC. Authorities said they were among at least 47 people on the island when the crater erupted, sending ash thousands of feet into the air.
Lisa suffered burns to 60 percent of her body, according to 7News Adelaide. She made it to a hospital, while authorities quickly pronounced her husband and daughter dead.
At Gavin Dallow’s funeral in January, a cousin said Lisa transformed her husband’s life, according to ABC.
“I personally saw a man happy as never before,” Kym Loechel told the news outlet.
“Gavin, Lisa and Zoe were a loving and wonderful family,” he added, “that deserved to be together for a hundred years.”