Goodbye Kununurra

Goodbye Kununurra

Goodbye Ian Dimond

I have loved my time in Kununurra and thanks to Wendy Carter I have not only had the most comfortable stay I’ve also seen some majestic sights. Aboriginal paintings and caves with evidence of their cooking and food preparation, tools and artifacts and Wendy is an absolute wealth of local knowledge.

I met some lovely people, too many to list. To name just a few lovely Mandy, Queenie, Clayton and Sophie Belle), Jess Duff (a talented local artist), Kymbo, Don (thank you for the amazing Boab Nuts) and his lovely wife Bonnie ( thank you for the gratefully received but totally unexpected Smoothie) , Mel, Kirsten, Narelle, June, Michelle and so many more.

And Chloe.

Chloe saw me pushing my buggy around town and made her mum stop the car so that she could come over to say Hi. She explained to me that she had been following my journey for a while and had even had a conversation with her partner Ian about inviting me to stay with them when I arrived in Kununurra.

She then tearfully told me that her partner had, three days earlier, taken his own life. We hugged and cried together for a while. I asked if she had support around her and she explained that her mum and sister had just flown in to help her through the horrors ahead.

I asked if there was anything I could do to help her and she said she would like me to come to his funeral. Of course I said yes. I spent the next few days wondering if I’d made the right decision. It would mean delaying in Kununurra a third week. (Thanks to Australia Post for my first week and second week delay). I was worried about wearing out my welcome. I was also concerned how my presence might be viewed at the funeral. The very fact that I was attending caused me tremendous sadness and the sense that not enough is being done. Almost as if I hadn’t done enough. I had never met Chloe and Ian and yet I had my own ‘what ifs’…what if I’d arrived a week earlier. What if I’d actually met Ian and Chloe and talked about my journey. Pointless, damaging what-ifs that weren’t even mine to feel.

The funeral was very sad for me and I cried as much as the people who had known him all his life. The people who loved him, would miss him, would grieve for him. Friends, family, workmates. So much loss felt by so many people. Ian’s death, like all suicides affects his whole community, and the community of his youth where his family still reside.

Statistics say approximately 8 suicides every day on Australia. It is far more likely that the number is unreported to such a degree that it could be as high as 16 deaths a day.

16 funerals a day, for mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, children, grandparents, friends.

I tried to imagine the grief in the Church on Friday multiplied 16 times and the weight of the thought was unbearable.

Please help share the message that Suicide is Never the answer. Getting help is the answer. I know this on a deeply personal level. It may look like a solution and feel like the only way to end the pain, but it is permanent, irreversible and final.

If you are experiencing this pain reach out, talk to people. Keep talking until someone hears you.

If you need emergency assistance phone 000 for police, ambulance or fire services

Crisis support lines 24/7

Lifeline 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78

One Woman Wandering