Sunday, 3 December 2017

A suicide attempt for Christmas.


It's December.
The time of year when everyone's nerves are frayed, people are tired from a busy year and the so called festive season starts to ramp up.
For many, plans are made to spend time with family and friends, celebrations are organised and parties are planned.
For many others, there is the added stress of being expected to supply gifts to family members when supplying food and shelter for themselves is a daily struggle.
I don't particularly like Christmas, for many different reasons, none of which are because I'm a grinch.
One reason is that Christmas is primarily a religious celebration and I have no time for religion in my life. I accept other peoples beliefs but I don't subscribe to any of them myself.
Another reason is that for me, the tradition of Christmas died with my Dad back in 1993.
Possibly the biggest reason, but one that I'd sort of forgotten about or my brain had chosen to bury, I made a brief mention of in my book.
This is the first time I've ever shared any more detail about it.
It was a Christmas day some time in the mid 90's although I can't pinpoint the actual year.
After a day of excessive drinking, things turned ugly between my younger brother Brett and myself and we actually squared up to fight.
Rather than fight, Brett got in his car and drove off. 

Fast forward to the following morning and we met up again to play a game of social cricket, something we did every year back then. We played social twilight cricket every Wednesday evening, but this was the premium event of the year. Wives, girlfriends, kids, everyone came along. Our version of a boxing day test match, which was really just 30 or so mates and their families getting together and taking over a local park for a day of drinking, BBQing with a bit of cricket thrown in for fun.

Anyway, that morning Brett and I discussed the events of the day before, agreed that it was 'just the piss talking', shook hands and without explanation he handed me his prized role of wicket keeper for the day - which incidentally became my role for the next couple of years.
I thought at the time it was pretty weird, but didn't question it.
The day proceeded as planned, lot's of alcohol, BBQ's going all day, kids playing and having fun, happiness all over the place.

Later that evening, I learned something from my ex wife when she came to pick up the kids that with the benefit of hindsight, should have been addressed right then but it wasn't.

She told me that Brett had attempted to take his own life after our altercation the day before.

As was typical of our environment back then, under the carpet it went.
As close as I was to my brother Brett, it was never discussed, not once.
I kick myself now, but at the time I wrote it off as a 'half assed' attempt and deemed it not worthy of discussion. Of course, with the benefit of hindsight and everything I've learned over the past four years I would love to jump in the DeLorean and head back there to have another crack at it, but that can't happen.

All of this resurfaced during my journey of self discovery after Brett did succeed in ending his own life in September 2013.
That journey backwards through Brett's life - which was also to a large degree my own life -  showed me so many things that could have been done differently.
The lessons I learned on that journey have shaped me into the person I am today.
Anyone who knew me five years ago probably doesn't really know me now.
My evolution is incomplete, I'm always learning.

My hope is that this can be a lesson for others.
The people closest to us are often the ones we take the least notice of.
Complacency can be dangerous.
Comfort zones can cause blindness when it comes to those closest to us.
Step outside.

Wendy and I have chosen to spend this Christmas alone.

For me it will be a time for quiet reflection.