In Memoriam

Derek & Jason ~1978/79

That song by the Rightous Brothers is right in a way – “Time goes by so slowly”. But time is weird. It can fly by so fast too. I’ve noticed that as I get older.

Too cute not to share - Jason (left) & Darren (front) early 80's

Harriette, Me & our brother, Paul opening Christmas pressies when we were kids.

A year used to be forever when I was a kid, now it seems like only yesterday I was putting the Christmas tree away and now here we are again…and yet nothing’s changed. Last I checked, we weren’t revolving any faster around the sun or anything. Apparently time flies when you’re having fun…well, it flies when you’re not too.

Christmas Day 2005

As a photographer, I’m always stopping time. It was a hobby shared with Jason’s Dad, Stretch. He always had a little point and shoot with him – photographing everything. The master of shooting silly portraits at arms length.

Five years ago today, time stopped. Then it dragged on and on for days in both literal and physical darkness. It felt like nothing would ever be the same again (it wasn’t) or that we would never be happy again (we were).

Five years ago today we lost my friend (and now Father in law), Derek or as he was known to most people, Stretch. After more than 2 decades of him battling with bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression), he unexpectedly took his life on the afternoon 28th December 2005. Jason’s brother Darren was the one to find him. Jas and I were at my cousin’s wedding an hour away. The drive back home seemed to take forever.

I love the long hair in this one & hassled Jas to grow his for our wedding.

Besides having gone to see him at the funeral home a week later (don’t ever, ever do that, it’s not good for you)…I’m still haunted by turning into the street and seeing all the cars outside. Before that we’d simply been told there’d been an accident…so we wouldn’t worry I guess. Jas ran inside pretty much before I’d stopped the car. I stayed outside and was told by his Uncle John. I really like Uncle John.

The funeral was held on the 5th of January 2006 (which sucked in itself as it was Derek’s brother’s birthday) on a stinking hot day at Fremantle Cemetary, which is fittingly where Bon Scott from one of Stretch’s favourite bands, AC/DC is buried. Everyone wore red for Liverpool Football Club. We found out afterwards that over 200 people had come to the funeral. I wouldn’t be surprised if CSBP where he worked for ~30yrs had shut down that day. Despite being happily married and completely besotted with Cheri for over 30yrs, he was a huge flirt and always giving the girls at work flowers, especially off the frangipanni tree. Frangipannis grow at the gates of the cemetary so by the time the casket was ready to be sent off, you couldn’t see the damn thing for flowers. At the wake everyone took photos coz that was what he liked to do.

Darren & Jason with the Champions League Cup (?) at the LFC museum, 2006.

The boys scattered their Dad's ashes at the gates of Anfield in Sept 2006.

Anyway, what else can I say? It’s been an incredibly rough five years. We’ve all aged at least twice what we should have done. There have been feuds and pain, trouble with work and health and Jas and I even broke up a couple of times. It’s hard when you don’t really know why someone chooses to leave.

But here we are, 5 years later and about to start 2011 full of new, brighter beginnings. Jas and I are married now, Darren and his partner now have a gorgeous son (see my Christmas post) and a house and seem really happy. Cheri’s doing really well and is off to the UK again in the next year. Shit she’s a strong woman, I couldn’t bloody do it.

Jas is off on his first business trip in the new year, I’ve finished my Diploma course and am ready for a new job and the frangipanni tree out the back is in full bloom.

So now to go blast some Acca Dacca and raise a toast to Stretch. RIP.

On his 50th birthday, 17/9/2005

With Darren & his new record player on his 50th birthday. We listened to The Eagles ALL day.

In Australia you can call the following numbers if you need to talk to someone:

LIFELINE – 131114 (24hrs)
Men’s Line Australia – 1300 78 99 78 (24hrs)
Kid’s helpline – 1800 55 1800(24hrs for kids 5-25)

The following are for if you need more information about depression or mental illness:

SANE – 1800 18 7263 or
Beyond Blue – 1300 22 46 36
Headspace – Australia’s National Youth Mental health Foundation

In an emergency call
000 in Australia
112 (from a digital mobile/cell) phone anywhere in the world to be put through to that country’s emergency services.
Info is from here

I haven’t been sponsored for these links, I just Googled them in the hope they’ll help someone.


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