When Married At First Sight contestant Sarah Roza was 19, her entire world collapsed. Awakened by her younger brother Adam, Roza was distraught to find her 40-year-old mother lying lifeless on the kitchen floor.
“She was making a cup of tea in the middle of the night and from what we can ascertain she fainted and hit her temple on the edge of the kitchen table,” Roza, now 38, says. “She just hit her head in the wrong spot.”
“There wasn’t any pulse, there wasn’t any breath going up and down and I panicked,” she tells WHO of the awful minutes in which she frantically attempted CPR as an ambulance raced their way. Sadly, it was too late for her mother who had passed away some time before she was found.
“She died right at the time when every girl needs her mum,” Roza says. “I miss her every day.”
A broken family is something Roza’s new husband Telv, 33, can empathise with. The FIFO worker’s mother Tracey was a parent to two young boys by the age of 17 and battled for years with alcoholism.
“She was an alcoholic and she had pretty bad choices when it came to boyfriends,” Telv, tells WHO. “I had to witness mum getting bashed pretty severely by some of her boyfriends. I remember one was beating the s**t out of her so bad I jumped on his back, I would have been six years old. He grabbed me and threw me through the window.”
With his mum often missing – either through stints in rehab or for reasons Telv says he’s afraid to ask about because “I don’t want to know the answer”, he and his older brother were often shuffled around, once landing in a homeless shelter.
Luckily, when he was 12 years old the family’s fortunes turned around. Tracey met his step-father Russell, found religion and finally kicked her battle with booze.
“My mum is my hero, she’s been to hell and back 10 times over,” he says. “I can definitely forgive the mistakes she’s made. She was a confused young kid back then who obviously found alcohol as an outlet. I couldn’t love her more.”
This article originally appeared on Who.