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.... Kate's World

Little Kate

Little Kate
Lismore, New South Wales, Australia
September 13
When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile. ~ Author Unknown


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FEBRUARY 15, 2010 10:19PM


Rate: 6 Flag

Surrounded by four siblings but, peculiarly, he seemed alone.


He was quiet and unpretentious.   He didn’t want for things or chattels for himself.  Instead, he was giving and kind to others.  A gentler soul you would be very pressed to find. 


He immersed himself in writing, drawing and painting.  As a young boy he crafted his own comics.  As an adult he painted his emotions and undressed his life, layer by layer, in his poems.


He liked to escape to his room.  He didn’t like school or any large gatherings.  He wanted to go unnoticed … be invisible.


But in spite of his yearning to be unseen, David was always there for his family … a sister’s thirtieth birthday; a nephew’s first birthday; to babysit when no-one else would; and to hold a newborn niece in his arms and, very softly, introduce himself.


In his teenage years, David experimented with drugs and developed schizophrenia.  David was in pain.


His father and sister admitted him to the psychiatric clinic one night.  They were in pain too.  Their hearts ached.  They were filled with immense, impossible grief.  They wanted to help him.


His mother was in pain too.  She found it difficult to visit him, be with him.  She feared they would call her a bad mother.


David succumbed to the ill-effects of medication.  His skinny frame now bloated.  His essence faded.  He was lost for a long time.


Slowly he ventured back into his world.  He existed. The supposed ‘real’ world was not a place for which he cared.  The people in that world were cruel – they were cruel to each other, to other living things and to the planet.  He preferred his world.


A few short months had passed when news came that he had been found in a motel room.  He was close to death.  A gas cylinder lay beside him.  His sister rushed to his side and stayed with him for as long as she was allowed.

When he woke, he cried ... silently.  With the ache of grief etched in his face, he wanted to know why they couldn’t just let him go.  He was in such terrible pain.


Hi mother was in pain too.  She couldn’t visit him.


The merry-go-round went round and round for such a long time.


Eventually, David stopped taking his medication and looked the best he had in many years. One day he bought a car and dropped by to show it off to his sister.  How wonderful it was that David was reconnecting with the world, the 'real' world.


That night, David wrote a poem, left a half-drunk cup of tea on his kitchen table and drove to a lonely track.


David was my brother.  He committed suicide 20 years ago. He was always there for me.  I’m not sure that I was always there for him …. I hope I was.


Peace, David.

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mental illness, health, family

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Oh, Kate, this was just haunting and raw, yet you can feel the love you have for him at the same time. There's no doubt that you were a good sister. None.
Thank you Julie. I think he knew but gee I wish I had hugged him more and told him more often that I loved him. The lessons of life, and death, are very hard.
This was wrenching. To see someone you love in such pain and be unable to help must be brutally hard, but to carry the the guilt and doubt with you afterwards must be hell. I hope you have found some solace along with your memories.
Thank you Jeff. I really appreciate your comments.

Memories are held very dear, time dulls the pain but guilt and doubt is harder to shift. Thanks again.
Kate, your heart is so well placed here. You speak so lovingly to his wounds. That is being there for him.
I am sorry. I am happy to read the love in this. I know mental illness. I worry about siblings. I hope I can encourage them to love him as well as you love David here.
... Next please: Thank you. I appreciate all you have said. I know that you understand. I worry too in relation to what extent mental illness might be hereditary -- I had an uncle who also committed suicide and one of my own sons suffers with depression. I'm staying in touch and encouraging him as best I can. It's very difficult ... not knowing just what is the best way to help ... not knowing if everything will be alright for him.
Will, Your words speak to my heart and soul and they are rich with comfort and peace. Thank you.
I read all your posts last night, kate, and I found your story fascinating and your voice fresh and interesting. And then I read this one and felt at a loss, unable to comment because I didn't have any idea what I could say here, in the face of lingering pain.

I guess what I'll say is this. Whatever suffering David felt while with us, he no longer does, being in a state beyond suffering. And whatever he might have felt at the time about the degree of help or care or concern or love from friends and family at the time, he's beyond that, too. And in seeing what's in your heart now, he's at peace.

We can never undo what we did or didn't do. All we can do is do for those who we are with now. That's the message of death: we must dedicate ourselves to life.
AtHomePilgrim - Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words. Yes, pain unfortunately lingers for me as I'm sure it does for many, but, thankfully, it has diminished with time. David is indeed at peace now and for that I am grateful. It comforts me to know it.
I hear your words, full of support and encouragement, and they inspire me to show life that I do have a thousand reasons to smile!
Thank you too for the lovely comments re my earlier posts. This(is it writing?) is new to me and I'm trying to find my feet but I am enjoying it.
Little Kate: I am not sure how I missed this...but I have read it now.
I am no genius on such things...but this I DO know....David was loved..and David was lucky to have you.
Dear JD: Thank you for taking the time to read, your lovely kind words and also for caring. Yes, I loved my brother very much ... I just wish I had let him see it more. I miss him.
So I commented here first. I remember this piece too. You were developing quite a voice
No, you came back to this one in April silly! You commented first on my on my very first poem!