'Biggest heart you'll ever know': Grief for mum in pool death
THE community is in mourning for a proud mother with a heart of gold, who died suddenly at a Sunshine Coast aquatic centre this week.
Helen Sword was a kind, enthusiastic woman who loved her family and was always willing to listen.
The 42-year-old Wurtulla mother was swimming at the Kawana Aquatic Centre, enjoying a few laps after finishing work as the centre's swim school coordinator.
She was pulled unresponsive from the pool about 1.45pm and was rushed to Sunshine Coast University Hospital in a critical condition, but could not be revived.
She leaves behind 58-year-old husband Tony Sword, son Darcy, 20, and daughter Mackenzie, 8.
Mr Sword said his wife's defining characteristic was "her heart".
"She had the biggest heart you'll ever know," he told the Daily.
"All her energy went into her family."
Mr Sword will now have to find a way to keep his job while caring for Mackenzie.
"Mackenzie's doing surprisingly well... we've got a lot of family here at the moment," Mr Sword said.
"I don't think it's going to hit her until everyone goes home, because it's going to be just me and her."
He said he wouldn't find out how his wife died until next week, after the autopsy was completed, but believed a heart failure or aneurysm was most likely to blame.
He said paramedics and hospital staff had tried to revive his wife for about an hour after she was found floating in the pool.
"I was just pulling up at home from work and her boss rang me, and said I needed to get up there because there had been an accident," Mr Sword said.
He said he was "overwhelmed" by support as the community shared their own grief.
"We knew she was very well-respected and popular amongst the community, and her clients," he said.
"I knew she was, but I didn't know to this extent."
Darcy, who works in the navy and is based in Sydney, made a public tribute to his mother on social media on Tuesday.
"Yesterday we lost an angel," he said.
"Mum you're the strongest, honest most loyal person I have ever met in my life. It's been one day and this family is lost without you.
"I couldn't have asked for a better mum and I wouldn't be the man I am today without you.
"What I would do to hear you nagging for another family photo one last time or one last cuddle. Promise you I'll look after the fam, Mackenzie especially."
Friend Teressa Schmidt described Mrs Sword as "one of the most genuine, loving and happy people" she had ever met.
"Her smile and enthusiasm were contagious, and she was so very proud of her beautiful family and her home," Ms Schmidt said.
"I always seemed to run into her when I most needed to see her smile and one of those hugs, and I am sure that she is spreading her sunshine and light to others who need it just a little more than us right now."
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help support the Sword family in the wake of the tragedy, and donors have already raised more than $8500.
Mrs Sword's funeral will be held on May 5.