Firstly, I would like to thank all of you who contact me; it’s your support and kindness that keeps me going.

I was out on the town one night this past week. One of our volunteers is a muso, and he and his band were playing a gig in a local hotel. It was a great night, mainly because of the fact that a whole lot of our other volunteers turned up as well to offer support. Looking around the room and seeing them relaxing, enjoying each other’s company and, well just being mates, made me feel great.

You know, it wasn’t that long ago that these same guys were struggling with life themselves. It wasn’t that long ago that these guys wondered if life would ever get easier. I had listened to these same guys just a few hours earlier talking to other dads in distress on the phones in our office. Some of those calls were tough calls.

It’s not easy talking to a guy on the other end of a line who is telling you that he is about to pull the trigger. It’s not easy having some guy scream down the phone at you because he is angry at not being able to see his kids. It’s not easy having a one-way conversation when all you can hear on the other end are sobs and tears from some guy who cannot seem to string two words together, only cry and then the phone goes dead. It makes you wonder: did I reach him, is he OK? Will he be alive tomorrow?

I took a call at the hotel around the band’s third set. It was from one of my men, just to tell me we had lost one. “Too late, can’t save em all Tone, he was just too lost,” my guy had said. I knew the person, I had spoken to him. I was angry. I was upset. Why did we lose one? Why didn’t he listen?

I proceeded to soften the blow by drinking to excess. Not the answer, but I have to tell you that I went outside and yelled at God a few times because I felt He had let us down. Why? Why? Of course, He didn’t reply, and why should He?  So in true manly style, I proceeded to dull whatever pain I could feel. And I did.

By the end of the night I was talking “Braille”, and again my men, my lifesavers gathered around and made sure I was OK, made sure I got home safely and that all was well. I didn’t fall to my knees when I got home; I fell flat on my back and out to it.

It was the next morning that I felt remorse, not only for the ache in my head but the ache in my heart, for what I had said to the Good Lord the night before. It was then that I asked for forgiveness, for peace, not only for us, but for the guy’s family. To his two children left behind, to his parents, to his grandparents, to his friends, family and to his ex-wife as well. Yes, she hurts as well, believe it or not. Nobody wins in this tragedy, nobody. We… All… Hurt…

I am proud of my men.  I call them my men because I love them.  I am constantly in awe of their strength, courage and tenacity.  Not only have they suffered themselves, but here they are rallying around with whatever they have left to give, and freely giving it to another who needs help. Whether it be on the phone or at a meeting, or simply making sure some old fella talking Braille gets home safe. They are what makes DIDs, DIDs.

PS: Out of respect for family, I was asked not to reveal the name of the above, but if you are someone who prays, then please send up a prayer, please, please do. 5 males suicide every day in Australia — that’s 35 males a week every week. For whatever reason, it’s too many.

[Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels]

About the Author: Tony Miller

Tony Miller was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in the 2010 Queen's Birthday honors list 'For service to the community through the provision of support services for separated families'.

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