How a phone call could have saved my brother
I NEVER realised the power of a phone call until one changed my life.
Four years ago, on a regular Saturday, the call came in from my mother that my brother Scott had died.
He'd taken his own life in Victoria where'd he'd moved from Townsville for work, making a go of his life and in search of a fresh start of sorts.
Scott was my older brother who, for most of my life, was the valiant protector willing to back me in anything.
He was 28, and would have lived an amazing life if only he'd been able to navigate his way out of the darkness that gripped him that night.
It took me years to come to terms with what he'd done, and I worked through the whole range of emotions that come with being a survivor of suicide.
That's what we're called - we're the ones left behind trying to comprehend why the person we loved so much felt they couldn't reach out.
And for us, it's made worse by suicide still being considered taboo because of a ridiculous stigma that is slowly being eroded but not quick enough.
Scott and I lived thousands of kilometres apart and, in some ways, that geography represented the distance that had crept between us in the years before he died.
We spoke infrequently, both caught up in the chaos of our own lives to call more than just on birthdays. Those calls were always answered; I just wish there had been more.
And I wish he'd picked up the phone that night and called someone - anyone.
Because it could have changed his life, and mine.
My family will soon gather for Christmas and we will cherish being together.
But my big brother and protector won't be there, and it will be felt.
Scott's death has taught us to treasure the time we spend together, and has changed my family each in different ways.
And it has taught us to always reach out when we need it.
We are not alone in this, and nor is anyone else out there.
There's always someone out there willing to help.
That's the power of a phone call.