Ebony Goodchild blames herself for the death of her mother Kate after talking her into going on the ill-fated Thunder River Rapids raft ride at Dreamworld.
Now the 12-year-old is living in a world of pain as she also copes with the death of her uncle, Luke Dorsett, and his partner, Roozi Araghi, who were also on the ride.
The three, along with Kiwi expat Cindy Low, died when their craft flipped after a collision with another raft.
Ebony, and Cindy Low's 10 year-old son Kieran, miraculously survived.
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Close family friend Sandra Brookfield said Ebony was struggling to cope.
"This is something that will be with her for life - it will take a long time for her to be okay," she said.
"She's just terrible.
"She's blaming herself because she wanted to go on the ride - they didn't and she insisted.
"It will be a long road to healing."
Ms Brookfield, who has set up a MyCause campaign to raise money for Ebony and her eight-month-old sister Evie, said the family had been torn apart.
"They were all on the Gold Coast together for a family holiday, the first they had been on in decades," she said.
"A family member was getting married, so they all came together.
"On the day of the accident Kim (Kate's mother) was meant to go with them.
"They were going to Movie World but the kids changed their mind, so she stayed at the resort.
"She got the call not long after it happened from a family member, who just said to her, 'Katie and Luke are dead. They have drowned at Dreamworld and they're dead'.
"It's just been terribly hard - everyone is still in shock."
Ms Brookfield said it was "fate" the two children survived.
"We don't know much about how they did," she said.
"It seems it was fate that Ebony and the other boy were okay.
"It was the 25th anniversary of Kate's grandmother's death on that day, to the day, which makes us think it was fate.
"Dave (Kate's partner) tried to jump in and rescue her but he just couldn't get to her."
She said the family was already wondering how it would make ends meet.
"Dave (Kate's partner) is just a painter and he's already worried how he will pay school fees, or work and Kim is a teacher's assistant and can't give up her wage," she said.
"Kate was on maternity leave but was due to return to her job at Medicare soon.
"It's not fair they should be worried about money, so my sister Lesley, myself and my son Matt have set up a fundraiser to go directly to the two girls."
Kim Dorsett, Dave Turner, Ebony and Evie returned to Canberra on Wednesday afternoon.
Arrangements are under way to have the bodies of their loved ones transported home this week.
"Kim is planning the funerals now - it's just devastating," Ms Brookfield said.
"I've known Kim since we were kids and I watched her become a mother and then watched her kids grow up, and Kate become a mother.
"They were a very close family, always having dinners together, always catching up, always laughing and smiling.
"This is just an absolute tragedy, one that will take its toll on this lovely family for ever."
The family is planning a private funeral and has not ruled out pursuing legal action, depending on the outcome of the police investigation.
Gillian Turner, mother to Kate Goodchild's partner Dave, speaking at her Canberra home yesterday, told of the heartbreaking moment her son watched his partner die while Ebony looked on.
"My son managed to reach his partner, who died in his arms while his 12-year-old daughter looked on, screaming in the background," she said.
"I would like to believe my 12-year-old granddaughter was saved so she could tell her little sister what a wonderful mum Kate was."