A Bali villa where some of the victims of MH17 were due to stay has conducted a ceremony on their behalf - the spiritual act has received an overwhelming and positive response on Facebook.
Simone Marckelbach, Antoine van Veldhuizen, Christiene Marckelbach-de Sadelleer and their kids Quint and Pijke were booked in for a four-day stay at the River Moon Villa from 26th till 29th of July.
They were on the MH17 flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, where they were due to fly onto Bali.
The villa was contacted by family friend Ilse Liebrand-van Os via email who advised staff of the news and requested to have family's booking cancelled.
Instead of receiving just a reply of commiserations, Ilse was told by one of the villa's owner that they had held "a beautiful ceremony" for the Van Veldhuizen-Marckelbach family.
The Facebook page where the email was posted. Photo: Facebook/Familie van Veldhuizen-
The correspondence was conducted privately. Kate Challis, co-owner of River Moon Villa in Bali, told Fairfax Media she had sent an email along with photos to Ilse Liebrand-van Os.
The message was later posted along with photos of the ceremony to the Familie van Veldhuizen-Marckelbach In Memoriam Facebook page. Challis isn't sure who made the post but assumes it was Ilse who made the post to the family's memorial Facebook page.
"I did not know about the Facebook post and the response it had received until I started receiving emails from strangers in Holland thanking us for the ceremony. It was incredibly touching," she said.
Some of the offerings made during the ceremony. Photo: Facebook/Familie van Veldhuizen-
While there is no name for the actual ceremony; Challis describes it as a "mixture of blessings" for the spirits of those departed and an "offering of compassion to the bad spirits".
"I am very touched that our little ceremony has helped in a minor way with the terrible grief and suffering caused by such a horrendous act," she said.
The Facebook post has received more than 12,100 likes and 1100 shares on Facebook, and over 1200 comment, so far. The gesture also made the news in several publications in the Netherlands.
"The Balinese believe that the spirit of a person arrives at their destination before their physical being and it is important that the spirits of Simone, Antoine, Christiene, Quint and Pijke to be honoured and then released so that they may find peace in their afterlife," the post reads.
"It has been explained to the spirits in the house that the family will not be physically staying and the bad spirits who 'caused this' have received an offering as well."
The message details the ceremony which was performed by a female priestess and in attendance was 11 staff who had prepared the offerings, as well as the villa driver, the villa's babysitter, guests who were currently staying at the villa and owners of villas near-by.
Staff had cleaned the house and laid flowers on the beds. They also put up small a sign at the entrance of the villa "expressing the love for the family that is no longer here".
"We prayed and meditated together and were blessed with holy water and the energy was very intense and really powerful," the post continues.
"Sending you and everyone who has lost loved ones in this horrific disaster love and deepest sympathies from Bali."
One user commented: "Wishes that this gesture is shared by many others, brought tears to our eyes, what a beautiful and moving gesture, straight from the heart, may this bring healing to those who are left behind", along with a photo of a single, lit candle cradled in two palms.
The ceremony organised by River Moon Villa for the Van Veldhuizen-Marckelbach family has touched manly deeply with relatives of the family responding to the post.
"Thank you very much for all your kindness, love & light. Namaste. Best regarfs, Peggy - Jayne Jordaan. The Netherlands. Cousine from aunt Christine and Lisa Simone Marckelbach."
While the post touched those close to the deceased's family; for some it serves as a powerful symbol that resonates another tragedy.
Carol Beaton commented: "This is a very touching and loving reaction to THE loss of everyone in this shocking crash, and also prayers for those who caused it to happen. Maybe we can learn something from this."
- Sydney Morning Herald