Grief spurs mum to write

DIANE Brown was going around in circles, suffering depression, still not coping with the tragic suicide of her son three years earlier.
Nanjing Night Net

The former paralegal at Belbridge Hague in Albury started writing — words became sentences, sentences, chapters and 12 months later a book.

Last night the former Wodonga woman spoke about the fallout from suicide, the heartache and the questions left behind, at a Border book launch.

She hopes The White Cockatoo is picked up by schools and in some ways educates others.

Her son David Sitters grew up on the Border, was a scout, went to Wod-onga South Primary and then the high school.

He did his optical mechanic’s apprenticeship with Budget eyewear in what is now Albury Centro before going overseas.

A relationship break-up saw David take his own life on July 7, 2007 — the same day as his former partner’s wedding.

He had spoken to his mother only two hours earlier.

David Sitters was 32.

Mrs Brown said the book, written as a letter to her own son, has also touched others.

“Some people come and hug me, don’t say a thing, others just want to talk,” Mrs Brown said.

“It is impossible to describe the grief then and even now unless you have been through it.

“You question that last conversation, what you did, what you said, how things could have been different.

“But this book explores the emotions and the fallout and hopefully can be used in schools to show young people what follows, what those actions mean to your mum, father, family and friends.”

Mrs Brown, who shares a birth date with her son and his twin sister, said the title came from her speech at his cremation.

She talked of her son being free, able to soar into the sky like the white cockatoos.

“We held a memorial service on the banks of the Murray River in Wod-onga when we returned where each of us threw ashes into the river and said our own thing to David,” she said.

“I threw mine into the air, expecting the ashes to float down the river but they came to rest on some rocks — when I looked up at the tree, there was a white cockatoo.”

The book is published by Poseidon Books and is available online.

Diane Brown with her book and, below, son David who took his life in 2007. Mrs Brown’s book is written as a letter to her son. Main picture: BEN EYLES

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