There's been a huge amount of turmoil in my family. Mechanisms, dysfunction, unfairness ... and just plain old BULLSHIT. It was a really hard family to grow up in, but we all did. Cams dad killed himself in 1988, an event which seared Cam to the core for the rest of his life. I think I'm only now realising the impact it had on him.
There's a few reasons for Cams suicide. Some we'll never know. He never sought help until it was too late. In his suicide note he told me how well I was doing, to keep up things like interviewing "the fucking Prime Minister Eed!" And then in another sentence saying how he simply cannot go in to a treatment place or get help ... "because of the stigma." Is there stigma for men to seek help for mental health issues? I'm starting to think yes. What a deep shame that is. Cam had undiagnosed stuff going on - definitely chronic depression. Relationship issues. Feeling worthy as a man. Being too fucking smart for his own good. We'll never know completely because you can't get diagnosed when you're just a box of finely-ground bones sitting atop your sisters kitchen hutch.
It was two months yesterday since he's been gone. That two-hour drive Dave and I took down to my mothers work to tell her that her son had taken his life was a long car trip. I was ill. I kept falling into sobbing fits. Dave told me how we should tell her - call her outside, hold on to her, and tell her we need to go home. I can't remember if I said the word "Cam" or if she just guessed. Her only boy, her youngest child she'd spent so many years thinking and worrying and praying about. Mum doesn't even have Jim there to lean on ... seriously, who loses a husband and a child within one year? How do you deal with that?
I worry about her and she worries about me. Life has not been fair to her ... the fathers of her children kept opting out so she alone was left to bear the brunt and cop the blame. She's the eldest of six children, her own childhood was bloody hard too. But she gets through the days, does stuff, makes an effort. She's hurting like she's never hurt before. Same. I think I'm still in shock.
On the weekend Rocco sat up at the table and wrote out envelopes for all of his friends, complete with a drawing of their "favourite thing" and a candy cane inside. When he finished he asked, who else mum? I told him to do one for Ma. When it came to her "favourite thing" he paused and said,
"I know, I'll draw Uncle Cam for Ma."
My clued-up little guy, my own blonde-haired sweetheart, started to draw. Then looks up and says,
"Will I draw Uncle Cam sad or happy?"
"Happy, sweetheart. Draw him happy."
Mens Line Australia: 1300 78 99 78
Suicide Callback Service: 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636