A distraught father has reached out to the community for support after his “beautiful, special boy” drowned in a tragic accident.
Sage Pearman, 6, drowned in the backyard pool of a neighbour’s home about 3.10pm on January 11 in the three minutes he was left alone Lake Macquarie property.
His father Andrew Pearman told NewsWire that since Sage had died, “everything moves so slow” and “the intensity of life” had vanished.
“Everything reminds us of him,” Mr Pearman said.
“He was the most beautiful, special boy. He was my baby and we loved him so, so much.
“He was my best friend.”
An autistic, non-verbal child, Sage was “always jumping off things”, “climbing things” and exploring, with a special love for the beach.
“His favourite times were at the beach, because the sensory feeling of the sand was so exciting for him,” Mr Pearman said.
“He used to turn his head to the side and listen to the waves crash – he absolutely loved it, he loved the salt water and was just drawn to it.
“It was his favourite activity.”
Initially, the fateful day seemed no different to any other, Mr Pearman said.
He had been playing in the garden with Sage, then briefly went inside to check on his other son, nine-year-old Braxton.
Mere minutes later when he returned, Sage had disappeared.
He called the police and began frantically searching, all too aware that Sage did not respond to his name when it was called.
“I was out the back talking to one of the officers and from my backyard we could see on the backstreet a police officer sprinting up the street,” he said.
“I knew they found him, so I sprinted down my backyard and jumped the fence and jumped another fence, then that’s when I saw on the grass they were doing CPR on him.
“I tried to sprint towards him and was able to touch him for just a moment, then the police pulled me off and said they’d take me to the hospital.
“From the back of the house, I just heard the most horrible scream – his mum was actually in so much shock she passed out.”
Sage’s parents were told at the hospital that despite paramedics doing everything they could, their little boy could not be saved.
“I stayed with him as long as I could, I tried to protect him,” Mr Pearman said.
Still reeling from catastrophic grief, Mr Pearman has set up a GoFundMe to support his family through the traumatic time.
“I’ve been so completely blown away by how generous people have been,” he said.
“I didn’t want to set up the page, but my friends talked me into it – we just want to give our baby boy a proper funeral, something that shows how special he was.”
On the GoFundMe page, Mr Pearman said starting the campaign was “so hard and embarrassing” but “the reality of where we are currently at in life has left me with no other option but to ask the universe for help”.
“My only wish is that Sage can have the most beautiful send off and memorable memorial he can have, and the rest of his family can be at ease with what we’re about to face.”
In line with Sage’s favourite TV show, Hey Duggee, the family want to hold a Duggee-themed funeral – decked out in red, orange and yellow.