A year has flown by very quickly.
It is R U OK? Day on Thursday, 13 September.
R U OK?’s mission is:
to help end suicide by empowering people to make a difference through open and honest conversation and to drive real connection.
My life has been profoundly affected by the death of my brother, John, thirty years ago. He is in my thoughts most days and thirty years seems like thirty seconds sometimes.
When I wrote about John in 2010, Gavin Larkin found time to comment on my post.
Gavin Larkin and Janina Nearn developed R U OK? Day to inspire Australians to stay connected and support each other. It is almost a year to the day that Gavin died after a long battle against cancer. Gavin was forty-two when he died. John was twenty-six.
I have thought about Gavin a great deal too in the last year. Gav and John came strongly into my thoughts when I learned of Non Thomas’s death earlier this year. Non was a colleague from UWIC. Gary Speed’s death late in 2011 showed me just how fragile coping with a sudden death in the family can be. His death brought back my family’s experience thirty years ago and how public private lives can become.
On the 13th I will be thinking about, John, Gav, Non and Gary. I will remember too that R U OK? is an everyday question with profound significance.
Thank you for a very thoughtful post. My father lost his father aged 7; at the time this was seen as a mortal sin and Grandad was effectively torn out of the family history – there were lots and lots of half-pictures of my Gandmother where Grandad had been cut away.
My dad was well into his 70s before he could talk about his father (my mum didn’t know anything about his death for some years until after their marriage). It was always that he ‘just died’ and as a 7 year old, dad always claimed that he didn’t know much about it.
Gordon, thank you for writing. I think the speaking about it is the hardest part. I do think it is vital we speak.
It affects all of us in some way. It connects us.
Thank you for sharing.