Remembering Robin

Exactly one year to the day before we lost him, on a scooter in Vietnam

Exactly one year to the day before we lost him, on a scooter in Vietnam

In a few days, the 6th Jan, it will be the anniversary of the day my brother took his own life. It seems to be more difficult this year. There is a huge knot in my guts a lot of the time.

Ridiculously vicious nightmares are thrashing about in my mind when I get to sleep. Things like having to get along roads that get longer the more you try to get to the end. Trains that end up heading away from the destination you were after and the more times you change to try and get back the further away it is. Being lost in places I knew as a kid but which are no longer attached to any recognizable place when you go wherever you are going. People reaching out to reassure me and then suddenly growing long vine like limbs and huge teeth and grabbing me. Buildings with endless corridors and filled with people who don’t see you. Knowing that the end of the corridor or train line is home and needing to be there because I am needed but the world keeps changing and making me further away.

Then there are the ones where I am on someplace like an oval. I need to get a bus home as some event is over, probably the football games we brothers all played as teenagers. As I move towards the bus the grass verge becomes a steep hill and then as I start to walk up it becomes vertical. I am disabled and cannot climb as fast as anyone else so they pass me by on steps which have now become ladders.

I expect some girl who I guess to be a girlfriend to help me and I fight to get to her up the ladders but everybody is gone by time I get to the top. My legs are becoming more and more difficult to use. My shoes disappear. That is one of my worst fears. Without runners or built-up shoe to cushion my shattered feet walking is agonizing! I have to get home. Home is my mother’s house. I have to get there or something terrible will happen! A bus comes by and the sign seems to indicate it is going my way. It stops in the middle of a field filled with partially built houses. The housing estate is one I recognize. Just a few miles from our old home at Castle Hill! As I start to walk across the field it becomes a hill and gets steeper and steeper. My legs cannot cope and I begin to feel a sense of helpless dread.

Someone in the houses urges me on. An old childhood friend but they appear emotionless and corpse-like. I know this is a sign of some hidden horror and I feel dread.

Over the hill should have been Old Northern Road and just a kilometer to go to get to my mother’s house. Instead there are miles of fields and the road I expected to be just there is off in the distance. Something terrible is happening. I need to get home. It is rushing all through me. I want to scream. Every step is time that will allow some terrible thing to happen at my mother’s house. I fight whatever is making the dream cause things to get further away. Not realizing it is a dream but desperate to stop the constant bad fortune. The emotional battle suddenly sees me appear on Excelsior Avenue. Halfway closer.

Walking up the road towards my destination I notice the street is deeper in foliage and overgrown as though no one comes here. I am terrified. This is wrong. Suddenly the world changes. I am in a place I have not seen since I was a small child. Just an empty clearing but this one has no outlet. I realize that I cannot get home and whatever was happening has just happened and I am overwhelmed with horror and sorrow and loss. Waking is a physical jolt but the terrible emotion stays for some time.

Getting to sleep is even more difficult than usual. The radio is on for a while at night when I lay down. It was too quiet and my mind would go over the events both of the lead up to his loss and the terrible moment on the 7th when I was contacted with the news. Keeping the radio on hasn’t worked too well. The radio announcers say things that bring me back to the things I am trying to forget and they will strike at me in the darkness.

I will be in the middle of something, anything, and I will be drawn to remember some part of his life. My eyes will fill with tears and the next little while will be dismal.

Watching him fight for life and dignity after he was poisoned in the tanks of the F111s was a terrible thing. He fought a brave fight and as he was mentally destroyed by the chemicals in his system he became more and more irrational. It wasn’t just the chemicals of course. He was burdened with the responsibilities of trying to arrange a future for his two boys after he was gone. He was robbed blind by lawyers who promised to do wonders and assist him to get compensation and then robbed him blind while they sat on their asses and made glib promises.

He was betrayed by the holy of holies in our family, the air force. He went overseas to try a simpler life and did what so many troubled people do. He fell into the clutches of those who would smile and tell you what want to hear while they mine your life for any gold it might bring. I know about that. I am disabled and saw it myself for many years. He got sicker and less able to cope.

He discussed suicide in an article written about the terrible illnesses he and all of the desealers were being torn apart by. It was in the Bulletin magazine. They covered them all in several articles as did the TV and radio media. So many of these guys ended up dying badly or suiciding. I still find it hard to believe. They were committing suicide in large numbers but no special help was offered and what could be done anyway. They were going to die horrible deaths.

Nobody was ever made responsible for what was, essentially, murder. The link at the top of the blogroll on this page leads to my webpage and most of the story.

There are still several days to go before the 6th and it is not pleasant at all. I remember you my brother. I remember what a wonderful, strong and good person you were. I wish I could forget how it ended though. It is hurting me a lot right now

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