By Julius Grafton
A powerful Blog by Robert Gosford (pictured left) talks about his departed crew mates – Sam Marini (pic, right), Tony Norton, Andy “The Hat” Crosby and Declan Cooney. Robert wrote on Crikey after viewing the ABC TV report on Australian Road Crew earlier this week.
This morning a tired crew member called to tell how a ‘mate’ had sent him a death note earlier this week. “I bloody do care, and I interrupted my gig to try to help him but his phone was off”. As seems to be the case, the guy threatening suicide didn’t, and then became defensive. This has distressed our caller, who rightly is disturbed by the situation.
It is three years since someone very close to me sent a ‘goodbye’ text at 9pm. ‘The dogs have food and water. I’m out of here….’
The effect of a suicide, or in this case an attempt, is profound on those around the victim. If they die the friends and loved ones become the victims and endure enormous pain and soul searching. ‘If only we knew, if only we did this, or did that’, is an endless loop that no amount of counselling can attenuate.
With my close one, a mistrust continues today where we friends and family talk every time our friend has a down day. We are continually worrying that they may try again, and comparing their down day with the time we were all called in the night.
That night we rushed across Sydney, after calling 000 to arrive to flashing lights. The police held us at the top of the drive, we could hear the dogs going crazy down at the house. We did not know whether our loved one was dead or alive. Eventually the paramedics brought out our friend, who had a full physical recovery. The residual trauma on us continues.
And of course no one wants to be identified as a suicide risk. Often suicide is not reported, rather a vague cause of death is floated with everyone too polite to drill down for answers. Plus we have a pathetic reaction to death in general.
Regarding death itself, an old crew mate spoke earlier this week about the passing of his wife after years of cancer. “The funeral was full, everyone is saying ‘we’ll have to catch up soon’, and no one comes around. It’s like they don’t know what to do or say. It makes me angry.” He is left as a full time carer of two children, unable to ply his trade. His finances are dwindling.
This week the Australian Road Crew Association (ARCA) doubled down on its drive to help distressed current and former crew. MORE ABOUT THIS.