As 18-year-old Christie Marceau took her last breath, her mother held her, begged her "Princess" to hold on and told her help was coming.
But the Auckland teenager, who was violently attacked in her home last month, had suffered injuries too severe to survive and died in her mother Tracey's arms.
"I watched the life drain out of her while I was still holding her. I felt her slip away from me," Mrs Marceau told the Herald exclusively yesterday.
"I was telling her to hang on, that help was on its way. I know she tried, she really tried. And then she was gone."
When police arrived, they found Akshay Anand Chand, 19, and a bloodstained knife. Chand was later charged with murdering Christie.
The Herald revealed that Chand was on bail at the time of the killing.
He had been charged with kidnapping Christie on September 7 and remanded in custody. But after several appearances, he was granted bail on the condition that he live at his mother's house, only a few streets away from the Marceaus' home.
He was also placed under a 24-hour curfew and ordered not to leave the house unless he was attending medical or legal appointments and accompanied by one of two specific adults.
For legal reasons, the Herald cannot publish any details of the alleged kidnapping, or further details of Christie's death.
Mrs Marceau and her husband, Brian, spoke out yesterday about the day their family was destroyed, and their plan to ensure some good will come out of the tragedy.
They hope to start a campaign, named "Christie's Law", aimed at toughening bail laws in a bid to prevent other families having to go through the same ordeal as them.
They are working with the Sensible Sentencing Trust and a group of friends to bring their ideas and vision to fruition.
"This is the only thing keeping us going. Nothing is going to bring Christie back to us, but we need to do this for her," said Mrs Marceau.
Chand went to the Marceaus' house on Auckland's North Shore just before 7am on November 7.
"At first when I saw him, it was just a shock. I didn't know what was going to happen, to be honest," Mrs Marceau said.
Her mother, Shirley, who lives in a downstairs flat at the house, saw Chand and ran to a neighbours' home to call the police.
Mrs Marceau said officers arrived about "a second" after Christie died.
"An officer came and checked her. Someone was asking about an ambulance and he said no, they didn't need one. Then I definitely knew that it was all over."
She then had to break the devastating news to Brian, who was working in Adelaide, and their elder daughter, Heather.
"Calling Heather that day was gut-wrenching," Mrs Marceau said.
Mr Marceau said the news was agonising.
"I was asleep when the call came. Tracey rang me. She just said, 'She's gone'," he said, fighting back tears.
"They got me on the way home pretty quick. I almost missed my flight, I lost all my concentration.
"It was a long journey and no one wants to be sitting in a row of seats with some sobbing bastard, so I just kept it all to myself.
"I certainly don't feel the pain Tracey felt, because she was there. But there's still that guilt about not being able to be here ..."
Mr Marceau had been hesitant about returning to Australia after the alleged kidnapping. But confident in the police and the justice system, he returned to work.
He now wishes he had stayed with his family.
Mrs Marceau said she was struggling with intense feelings of guilt.
"I haven't talked about this, not even with Brian. I will never forgive myself. I have to live with that forever, for the rest of my life. I know it's not my fault, but it still goes through my mind. It's all I ever think about.
"Nothing would have changed the outcome. I know that now. Everyone says I should be glad that I was here with her. But we should never have had to go through that. We should have been safe. We shouldn't be dealing with this."
The couple travelled to Taupo this week to choose an urn for Christie's ashes.
"On the way back, I kept thinking, 'I'm going to die of sadness'," said Mrs Marceau. "I always thought I was going to have a really happy life, that things were going to be good. Now I think, 'If I live 'til I'm 80, how am I going to live like this? Thinking about this every day?"'
"All we do is exist."
She said the pain Christie's death had caused was "unimaginable".
"I always thought I could imagine how it would be when I used to hear of people who had lost children like this. I would be so sad for them, and griefstricken.
"But this ... I can't think of how I can describe it. You're just so, so empty. Sometimes I can't get up in the morning. I just don't want to carry on. It's so devastating, and I wouldn't wish it on anybody.
"To know that you're not going to hold her again, you're not going to see her ..."
Mrs Marceau described Christie as outgoing and beautiful.
"She was just such a loving daughter. For us, Christie was a gift. We didn't think we could have any more children after Heather. We tried really hard, and we were blessed to have Christie.
"We nearly lost her when she was born. She got really sick but she got through it. For the rest of her life, she was just so loved.
"Right from the time she was little, she could walk into a room and people would gravitate towards her.
"Christie didn't intend to take the spotlight, but she did, she was just one of those people."
To add to the Marceaus' heartache, they now have to get through Christmas and Heather's wedding in March without Christie.
"She was supposed to be Heather's maid of honour. That won't be happening now," said Mrs Marceau.
"Christmas was Christie's favourite time of year. She used to get really excited about putting the tree up."
Christie had a charm bracelet, and the family plan to carry on filling it with charms each Christmas and on her birthday.
On December 25, they will add a butterfly charm.
The family are also getting matching tattoos - a portrait of Christie - as a tribute to their "gorgeous girl".
Said Mr Marceau: "They say that when you lose your parents, you lose your past. But when you lose your children, you lose your future.
"It doesn't go away, but we try to deal with it. How can you?
"We've lost everything, basically, as in all the hopes we had for Christie."
The Marceaus returned to the house after police had finished their scene examination. Mr Marceau said it did not feel cold, because Christie was such a warm person.
Mrs Marceau added that the house did not feel "bad" when they returned, but she was still deeply affected by what happened there.
"I can't answer the door. I have panic attacks if I hear it. Brian had to remove the doorbell. Every time I come into the house, I expect to still see her sitting on the couch.
"Then all of a sudden you start to realise that she's not coming back."
HOW TO HELP
Donate to the Christie's Law Trust at Westpac, account number 03-0275-0644809-00