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It’s taken me 3 weeks to finally bring all the memories of my brother to the forefront.

It’s not that I don’t think of him (I do, every day).  I’m just trying to avoid the pain that is now attached to those memories. I have to remind myself that this pain was not there at the time these memories were made though.

My brother was a soft-hearted man on the inside with a super hard exterior. Some days you would get the soft centre Hainesy and other days the hard shell Hainesy.

He was ever supporting to me. He loved his dogs more than most people. His passions are Motors, Motorbikes, Fishing, and Cars. He was a Hoon.

Sadly I don’t think I’ve made much progress on the journey to healing. I am stuck in the guilt, regret and heavy sadness part.  I’m so sad that he was in a place of such despair and pain that he could do this to himself. I don’t understand what happens to someone mentally to get them to this place.

I replay my last interaction with him.  There is the realisation in hindsight of some things that were of concern.

I remember the last time I saw him he looked like he was in pain, like he had a severe migraine. I imagine the thoughts in his head were causing physical and mental anguish.

I force my mind to switch to my fondest memories of him. I share these with my sons and we laugh. Like the time he was being pursued by the police when he was on his motorbike. He rode up into the banana plantation to hide. He stayed there all night and didn’t come home until the next day. That would have been a long night for him as he wasn’t real fond of the dark.

There are still tears and many questions. I have come to somewhat of a conclusion or maybe the idea that the suicidal mind conjures the thought pattern in a way that they say if things are bad that they will never get better and there is no solution and no way out. Whereas non suicidal people can rationalise that while things are bad now there will be better days ahead and problems will be fixed with help.

I hope my brother knew he was loved by many. I wish I could tell him that. I wish I did tell him that. I just thought that he knew.

I tried to talk to Mark about depression and the help he could get and how much better he would feel if he gave medication a chance, and I remember him looking at me as if I were an alien. He literally could not fathom that he may be depressed or need help. He was a big strong guy, why on earth would he need anybody’s help, there was nothing wrong with him. That is what he thought. I’m not sure if he was scared to admit he was not OK or maybe ashamed or just stubborn. Either way, he would not hear of it. That makes me so sad. I hope we can change that way of thinking and normalise asking for help.

I miss my brother, he was a wonderful Uncle to my boys and they have missed out on precious times that could have been had with him. It’s truly heartbreaking.

I cherish my friends and work family for just listening. They listen and smile when I bring up one of my ‘when we were kids stories’. The antics we got up to in our younger years. I appreciate them so much for just listening.  I think that’s one of the best things we can do for anyone going through the grief of losing a loved one to suicide. Just listen and love the stories. They mean so much to the people left behind. Of course, I have my Mum and Sister to talk to always.

If you’re someone who has been affected by suicide in any way please don’t be scared to see a doctor and let them know if you can’t cope. I couldn’t cope and I needed my doctor’s help to go on. You need to look after yourself and yourself loved family and friends.

Be strong, love hard.