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Josiah Sisson funeral: Family farewells son, brother lost on Christmas Day

Karl Sisson with his son Jordan are seen at the funeral of Josiah Sisson. Photo: Robert Shakespeare BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 07: the funeral of Josiah Sisson, the young boy who was killed by an alleged drink-driver at Christmas on January 7, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Robert Shakespeare/Fairfax Media) Photo: Robert Shakespeare
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Karl Sisson and his son Jordan being comforted by a friend. Photo: Robert Shakespeare

Karl Sisson and his son Jordan carry the coffin at the funeral. Photo: Robert Shakespeare

His life lasted just nine years, but those who gathered for Josiah Sisson’s funeral on Saturday found comfort in their belief he will live forever in heaven.

Josiah’s life support was switched off on December 27, two days after he was struck by a vehicle at Springwood on Christmas Day, driven by local man Adrian Taylor.

Police have alleged Mr Taylor was under the influence of alcohol.

While Mr Taylor had met with Josiah’s father, Karl Sisson, since the accident, he was not among the about 300 mourners who packed the Potters House Christian Church at Strathpine on Saturday.

Such was the demand for space, the walls at the back of the church were lined with mourners unable to find a seat.

Josiah’s family – mother Bonny, father Karl and brother Jordan – cried and laughed with the rest of their church “family” as they farewelled their son and brother.

The duty of eulogising Josiah was left to close family friends.

Phil Ouma, whose family was with Josiah the night he was struck, told the funeral congregation Josiah was a great influence on his life from the moment he was born.

Although, to the amusement of the congregation, Mr Ouma admitted their relationship had a somewhat rocky start shortly after Josiah was born.

“I really wanted to hold the baby, so I asked Bonny very nicely, I said ‘Bonny, could I please hold Josiah?’,” he said.

“She very reluctantly obliged and passed him over to me, and as I grabbed Josiah, in my mind I thought I held him, but to my surprise, he slipped through my hands and landed on the floor.”

Mr Ouma said Josiah was always the first out of the car when the family came to visit, with the announcement – at the top of his voice – “the Sissons are here!”.

“What I always loved about Josiah is the fact that he was never afraid to speak his mind,” he said.

“He was a call-it-as-you-see-it kind of guy and there were many occasions when we were all thinking something and no-one wanted to say anything, but there was Josiah. He’d say it for us.

“I loved that about him. He had this unusual charm about him that I always admired. He was a peacemaker and wouldn’t let anything in the world take away his smile.”

Fiona Goodlet, a family friend from the church the Sissons attended in Perth before they moved to Brisbane, said Josiah was “bold, playful, fearless and cheeky” with a love of slapstick comedy and reading.

Indeed, Josiah’s mother Bonny Sisson has had to return 21 books to the local library, Ms Goodlet said.

“One thing is certain, that child has more front than Myer’s,” she said.

Ms Goodlet said Josiah crammed a lot of life in his nine years.

“I don’t think we measure a time in years, but in the way a life was lived and how it touched others,” she said.

“Josiah had brought so much joy and I hope his life continues to impact others. That’s our responsibility – not to keep him alive in our hearts, because I firmly believe he’s alive right now in heaven, but to ensure his life continues to touch others.”

Pastor Peter Field said he was convinced Josiah was now in a better place.

“When someone so young passes like this, what’s difficult is thinking about it’s too short,” he said.

“In a normal span of life, we think there’s meant to be so many days left, but the reality is, there’s nothing certain about that…

“We all think, ‘I’m going to live to an old age’ but in the reality of life, that is not always the case.

“As Christians, we have to remember and realise to die is gain at any age, because heaven is the destiny for every Christian.”

The Christian faith ran strong through the ceremony at the evangelical church north of Brisbane.

As the familiar sound of Amazing Grace filled the air, Karl and Jordan Sisson led the funeral procession for their beloved son and brother, before the mourners dispersed to a nearby community centre to spend time with the family.

Mr Murray will face court on February 14, charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance, and driving a motor vehicle under the influence.

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