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THE WHITE COCKATOO


cockatoo

Life was rolling along well.  Diane was now retired and the family was all well settled. But then it all changed.  

On the 7th day of the 7th month 2007, her youngest son, David, committed suicide. 

This book takes the reader on Diane’s journey over the following five years, sharing her grief and heartbreak, her   eventual decline into depression and her slow journey forward as she accepts that she will never see her son again. 

Although deeply moving, the story is lightened by  reminiscences of David’s love of life and his travels during his 32 years. 

This book is written for the parents who have shared the same heartache, but as well, it is written for the youth of today, those who feel so troubled that they may be contemplating taking their own life.  

It will hopefully make them realise what they leave behind and that there should always be a tomorrow, no matter how hard it may be today.  

In Store Price: $23.00 
Online Price:   $22.00



AMAZON

 ISBN: 978-1-921919-67-1   Format: Paperback
 Number of pages: 131
 Genre:
Non Fiction


Author: Diane Brown
Imprint: Poseidon
Publisher: Poseidon Books
Date Published:  2012
Language: English


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AUTHOR BIO

 

Diane Brown was born in Kogarah Bay, a suburb of Sydney, in 1944. She attended Carlton Primary School and completed her high school education as a boarder at St Catherine’s College, Waverley. 

Diane worked as a secretary for a Sydney finance company until 1974, when she moved to Wodonga with her husband and baby son. Twins were born in 1975 and the family moved to Melbourne in 1977, where Diane again worked as a secretary until the family returned to Wodonga in 1986. 

Diane worked in the transport industry before re-marrying in 1990, when she joined a prominent Albury law firm, working up to a senior paralegal position, where she remained for 16 years before retiring in 2006. Diane and her husband moved to Melbourne in 2001, where she continued to work for the Albury law firm from her home office. 

Diane was a convenor of the Mental Illness Fellowship Wodonga Support Group for five years and is currently Vice President of the Board of the Mental Illness Fellowship of Victoria, a position she has held for 11 years. Diane is also a past member of the Melbourne Health Research and Ethics Committee.

CHAPTER 1 (sample)

 My Dearest David,

It has been such a long time since I last saw you and not a day goes by when you are not in my thoughts. My journey has been such a long and tedious one since our final conversation, so I thought I would write you this letter to let you know how things have gone. I am writing this from memory, Dave, and at times I was not thinking clearly, so forgive me if I make the odd mistake here and there.

It started like any other Saturday, a cold morning, 7th July 2007. Norm and I were driving to Wodonga to visit the grandchildren for their birthdays. Norm was organising one of his special weekend breakfasts when the phone rang.

“Hi, Dave,” I heard Norm say. “No, you didn’t waken us; we have been up for a while and are heading off to Wodonga shortly. What time is it over there? Oh, 11.00 pm, it is 8.00 am here.”

After a few minutes of light chatter, Norm handed the phone to me with a smile, saying, “It’s Dave.”

Grabbing the phone, I happily spoke into it, “Hi, Dave, how’s sunny England?”

“G’day, Mum,” you answered with your usual quiet reply that I loved so much. However, as you continued to speak, I sensed something was wrong. Your words were slurred and you paused between sentences.

“How are you, darling?” I queried.

“Things are not going too well, Mum, I have all these debts,” you replied. “No matter how hard I work and even if I worked seven days a week, I will not have the money to pay them. Serena will not pay her share.”

Your words seemed so strange to me. You had always been so proud of your achievements, the purchase of your home in Bodmin, the house renovations you were undertaking and a well-paid job with Specsavers as Store Manager. You had travelled extensively in your young life and had never mentioned being in debt before.

 The back of my neck started to prickle. I had never heard you speak with such emotion and so slowly. “How much debt are you in, darling?” I queried.

“I can’t tell you, Mum,” was your reply.

“How did you get into such a mess?” I asked. I tried to lighten the situation and joked, “You haven’t been gambling, have you?”

The phone went quiet. After a few seconds, seconds that seemed almost endless to me, you spoke again.

“No one will help me, Mum.” You slurred the words as you spoke.

“We will help you, Dave, we will help you. You can come home and get a loan to pay off your debts.” I responded.

“I would not be able to get a loan to cover it all, Mum.”

Again you remained quiet for a short time. Your voice quivered as you asked, “I can’t just walk away, can I?”

Memories flooded back of a previous conversation we shared a few weeks ago when I suggested you should walk away from a problem. Remembering how you became quite angry with me, I did not want to stir up your anger again, so I quietly responded, “No, darling, you can’t just walk away. When you sell the house things will be better. Have you managed to finish the renovations?”

We continued to chat for almost half an hour, discussing the house renovations, your plans to come home to Australia the following April and how you had been offered a job in Perth as Store Manager for a new Specsavers store. You sounded so proud as you told me you planned to make it the best store in Australia.

We discussed our recent birthdays, the same birthday that you, your twin sister and I share. You and Catherine were my very special present when you arrived on my birthday. You were due in the September, but obviously could not wait to be born, arriving two and a half months premature, such tiny little babies only weighing one kilo each.

During our conversation it became increasingly obvious that you had been drinking. You were slurring your words and kept pausing between sentences. A couple of times I actually thought you had nodded off. At the same time I was also aware of Norm standing in the background, waiting to cook breakfast, and I worried that he was anxious to head off to Wodonga. Oh, Dave. Why does one let such small things worry us? Maybe if I had said, “Bugger breakfast, it can wait,” and kept talking to you, maybe you would have given me some insight into what was to follow.

As we spoke, you sounded so desperately in need of sleep, still continuing to repeat your words. In an effort to finish the conversation, I eventually said, “Dave, I want you to go to bed and sleep on your problems. They will not seem so bad in the morning. I will ring you Sunday night your time.”

“You will ring me, Mum, won’t you?” You sounded so lost, so hollow.

“Yes, darling, I promise I will ring you on Sunday night your time, which is Monday morning our time. Now please try and get some sleep as you have to work tomorrow.”

You hung up the phone. In a way, I was relieved that our conversation had finished. It was difficult talking to you when you had obviously been drinking heavily. We had spoken at other times when you’d had a few drinks, but this was different. You seemed to be nodding off during the conversation and I felt that a good night’s sleep was what you really needed.

Our weekend passed uneventfully. We enjoyed our visit to Wodonga; however, I had an uneasy feeling deep inside all weekend. I was worried about you and anxiously wanted the weekend to pass so I could ring you Monday morning.

That whole weekend my mind raced with thoughts of you and I could not understand the financial problems you had obviously incurred. I tried to work out how much money I could send to you and even thought of asking your brother, Matthew and Catherine to help out.

Night came, but I was unable to sleep. My mind drifted back over the past two months and how this had all started. I recalled your excitement when you surprised us with an unannounced visit in June last year, bringing your fiancée, Serena with you. You planned to spend your 30th birthday with Catherine and then travel around Australia for three months. You were so excited about travelling again and anxious to show Serena our beautiful country. As well, you had both decided to hold your wedding in Australia and to move back to Australia after your wedding and the whole family was so excited.

During that time you were home we spent many happy times together, looking at display homes and visiting different areas in Melbourne where you may live. You had been away for eight long years and the thought of having you living near us again filled me with elation.

As you drifted in and out of our house, using it as a base between your travels, it became obvious to me that Serena was very spoilt. It was always you who did the cooking, washing and shopping. Serena made a point of sleeping in every day until at least 11.00 am, even though she knew you were keen to be out and about. She spent most of her time organising wedding plans, ringing reception venues, hire car firms, visiting florists and I did sense how you became a bit annoyed with it all. You even commented that you were here for a holiday, not just to organise a wedding. It was during your visit that I discovered Serena had been married before and had already been a bride, with the big white wedding and all the trimmings. I wondered why she wanted such a big wedding the second time. But then, it was not for me to comment as I know how young women often get carried away at the thought of being a bride.

After three months in Australia you both returned to the UK, Catherine leaving with you for a three-week holiday. That was wonderful for Catherine as it was her first overseas trip and I was thrilled to see my twins sharing special time together again. I made you promise to look after her and in your usual generous way you funded her trip to Paris, knowing how limited her funds were.

A few weeks following Catherine’s return, I received an email. Serena had decided she could not live in Australia and therefore you would not be coming home after all. Your email was quite short and blunt and Dave, I was shattered. We all were. It was one of the lowest points in my life. You still planned to marry, but the wedding would now be in the UK.

A few months following Serena’s decision, you rang to tell me you had purchased a house in Bodmin, a small town in the Cornwall area. Your first home, how exciting! Of course I was happy for you, but it made me realise that now you would never come home.

The months went by and each time we spoke you always sounded happy and positive. Your wedding was set for 16th December 2007, with Norm and I planning to travel to the UK for the wedding and then stay on for Christmas. The two of you had such lavish wedding plans and I did wonder how you would afford it, but you never mentioned any financial difficulties so I assumed you had worked out a budget. 

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