On this day, five years ago, I woke to read on Facebook that my brother had taken his life.
I remember the cold chill down my spine as I desired to hear that it was not true, yet reality broke me.
I knew he had been struggling.
I knew in my heart suicide was on the cards.
Being oceans apart, we had spent the previous month talking daily about the struggles he was facing.
I reflected on our last conversation, the afternoon before he decided to leave. I listened to countless voice-notes he had left the month prior to that dreadful day.
Trying to make good of such a tragedy does not come easy.
As I walked along the ocean this morning, I remembered how our parents laid his ashes to rest at sea. I talked to my brother and asked if he enjoys washing ashore, and playing in the sandcastles?
If he is watching his two beautiful daughters grow and knows how much my son takes after him?
I thanked him for our memories made in childhood, for being my brother and my friend, for always believing in me and having my back.
I thanked him for his sincere love, and for always having a laugh to share, he had such a great sense of humor.
Today I thanked him for the privilege I now have of helping others who are struggling with suicide in their circle of family and friends.
I thanked him for the insights and impetus which have allowed me to help 135 lives take paths away from the edge.
I am glad that over the last five years, the conversation and attitudes towards mental health have changed so much.
Through the terrible pain of this loss, I found my purpose. Through that trauma, I am finding fulfillment as I help many others.
After the storm of losing my brother five years ago, a beautiful flower now flourishes each time I help another.
If you or someone you love are under a very big weight, please reach out to me at email@example.com.
Help is at hand.
Other Australian support services:
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Black Dog Institute www.blackdoginstitute.org.au