It's a question my mum has always asked me whenever I am away from Perth. With the craziness of COVID easing and the Kimberley borders now open, I could finally tell her last week ....in just a few weeks I will be back on the farm for a much needed short break. But this question that I ashamedly admit used to drive me a little crazy and had me getting somewhat annoyed with my mum for constantly asking, is a question some parents don't get to ask anymore.
I received an email this week that moved me to tears. After seeing my follow up interview with Paul Murray last week on TV, a heartbroken mother contacted me to tell me that both her children had died by suicide. Accompanying the email was a photo of this brave beautiful woman, with her only 2 children. We spoke on the phone a few days ago and I am still processing the words and emotions from that call. This incredible lady, despite her pain and anguish, offered to help me deliver my message to young people that 'nothing is forever, except the loss of you'. I am so humbled by her gesture.
This conversation reminded me of one of my shifts in ICU before moving to Broome. It was only a few months after I met Chloe and a memory that will never leave me. I clearly remember this day as one of the saddest days in ICU, when a father came in to say goodbye to his young son. This father had also lost another family member to suicide the day before his son died. This father's despair was heartbreaking, and all the ICU staff were in tears. Another parent who won't get to ask his son, 'when are you coming home?'. A question so often asked by parents and one that for me, I will not take for granted anymore.
It's been nearly 6 months since I have seen my family, friends and my dog Charlie. And I know as soon as I leave my mum will ask me again, when will you be back? I haven't figured that one out yet...but I will give her a hug and say thankyou for asking and I will see you soon.