Little did I know that the comment “time is afforded to no one” I wrote in my last post, would have a deep impact on me so soon after recovering from a nasty case of Covid-19. “Afforded to no one” almost like time is a currency with a set value that changes with the fluctuation of life and indeed the world. What I didn’t realise at the time I typed those words, was that my entire family would be plunged into such deep sorrow that time could not be bought back.
On May 15th in the early hours of the morning my big brother was brutally assaulted, being left for we don’t know how long with life threatening head injuries that were too horrific to detail. He lived on a small island on the Queensland coast, and when alerted to the situation police and paramedics attended to find him unconscious. He remained on life support for such a short time before being pronounced brain dead, at which time we had to say our final goodbyes. This final goodbye was the most gut wrenching and painful experience of my life, and I dare say my mothers’ life as she held her first born sons had one last time. My final goodbye with him was emotionally and physically excruciating, my whole body torn through by the deep sobs that came, making me feel both numb and like I was having a heart attack at the same time. I am sure that the neighbours in our terrace home in the UK could hear everything and I had to hang up prematurely to gather myself.
I sobbed not only for the loss of a brother, son, uncle, husband and father. I sobbed not only that I could not be physically present to say my goodbyes and support his and our family. I sobbed not only that he was so brutally taken from us. I sobbed because we had not spoken in a while because I had set boundaries in our relationship for personal reasons meaning there was a part of his life that would be forever missing. I sobbed because he and I were always deeply connected from when we were little, and I felt guilty for not being there to do something to protect him. I sobbed because he would now never have any more moments of enjoying life. I sobbed because we had been robbed of someone so special.
Now we wait to find out the circumstances surrounding the tragic end to his life as the man arrested faces murder charges in July – thank heavens he remains in police custody until then. Now we support my brothers’ wife and children in this next phase as they navigate funeral arrangements and life afterwards – my mother from Australia and I from the UK. Being that I have only just recovered from Covid-19 it is unlikely I will be allowed to travel, and even then I would require a 2 week quarantine both on that side when I arrive, and this side when I return. I will say goodbye from here and try to bring myself through with the support of my husband and children, and the virtual support from family and friends.
I will hold on to the many memories I have of my big brother Scott, the lad with the biggest smile and the biggest heart, the lad who was full of mischief and fun, the lad who no matter what life dealt him would just find a way to carry on. There were so many occasions growing up by the beach in Woolgoolga (Woopi to the locals), where he would almost get us in trouble with our parents (actually I am pretty sure he gave our parents a run for their money at times), but he was also the sweetest big brother who in times I was struggling would say “Hey sis! Don’t worry about it – I’ll sort it out”. I know he loved his wife and children with his whole heart and the day I picked him and my nephew up from the airport when they first came to Queensland he lit up being able to show off his son and catch us up on the rest of the family – they were the light that guided him and lit up his world. He will be missed of course, and I am not sure the hole that is currently in my heart will ever go away, but I am going to do my best to live big and take him with me. It brought me great comfort reading the accounts people have of my brother with him being described as a good man who despite his own flaws and imperfections would give whatever he had to anyone who needed it, would chip in with any hard yakka that was required in his community, and took pride in kindness. Just as I remember him.
It has reminded me of the fragility of life and time, and of the regrets we can be left with when we think we have all the time in the world to resolve an argument, mend bridges and forgive, or prioritise time with people who matter in your world. The truth is “life is a one time offer, use it well” (Unknown author).
Thanks goes to the emergency services who initially attended to my brother and continue to fight for justice, the incredible nurses, doctors, and support staff at the Princess Alexandra Hospital for the incredible care they gave and the support they offered us all, and our family and friends who have rallied around us and provided the support we have needed.