One year ago… gone

It is strange to think that a year has passed since since my little brother committed suicide. Not having seen him for several years prior to his passing, mum’s phone call following confusing messages from extended family on Facebook just gutted me.

Being 13 years older than Haydn I’d helped bring him up, including feeding, changing nappies, playing games with, and teaching various things. I hadn’t been told by some in the family of his intense depression, thus I never had a chance to try help, which I think cuts the most.

The past year has seen me battle my own depression as a result of his loss, though not to the same extent I’ll add. Many a tear has been shed, and I’ve spent many a dollar talking to a psychologist. Sadly the whole experience doesn’t seemed to have changed things in the family, it still seems as divided as it was before, though it became overt once Haydn’s insurance payout came through.

I have been blessed to have the support of a wonderful friend at work, Vicki. I am grateful for her friendship, she has made the past year far easier and less stressful. Thank you xx

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Burning candles at both ends

As we neared end of the work year I grew more anxious for it to end and holidays to begin. It has been a year marked with losing another three family members, after losing three in 2016; the final loss in 2017, that of my little brother to suicide was certainly the most difficult to deal with.

I think also working full-time and then providing out-of-hours support to one of the schools has led to my burning the candle at both ends. Come November I was really starting to feel exhausted, plus this month was also my brother’s birthday – it was hitting home the fact I couldn’t text, call or email to celebrate his birthday, nor would we have a get together.

Physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted my end-of-year annual leave had finally arrived, three glorious weeks that would commence with our office Christmas party. It was great to have a nice sit down buffet meal at the nearby resort, we had a great time. Before leaving our Director handed out the staff awards, two joint awards nominated by Schools and then the award nominated by our staff, I was so surprised when my own name was called out.

Ironically this would be the only Christmas celebrations I’d get to partake in this year. The following afternoon I would get ill and not recover enough to attend our family’s early Christmas celebrations at Burswood’s Atrium restaurant. By mid-week I was starting to feel somewhat better and headed out to wrap up present buying.

I had been invited by my other brother to his place for Christmas and had purchased a few items to take on the day. One week after I’d gotten sick “WHAM!” I was struck with

stomach flu and Norovirus; I had never experienced diarrhoea as I did over this weekend, over 30 bouts causing me to get a little dehydrated despite trying to keep fluids up.

Sadly, I was again nowhere near well enough come Christmas Day to join, instead was sleeping or laying on the couch. I honestly wonder what part my being exhausted contributed to being ill and missing family events, or was it just bad luck? At least in 2018 the level of out-of-hours I’ll work will be reduced, so hopefully I will not find myself in the same boat. I look forward to a better 2018, preferably death free as I’ve had my fill of that frankly. Good riddance 2017!

AncestryDNA: Awaiting results

Growing up we’ve never known a great deal about either side of the family.

On my mother’s side of the family her paternal grandfather had been given away by his father at around one year old, not an adoption, but to a family known to his own, I believe that was the case. They changed his birth name and moved away from Port Pirie to Melbourne before finally settling in the western suburbs of Sydney.

At some point he discovered he’d been given up by his birth family, he would insist that his own family not seek out the birth family until he had passed away, which was respected. It would take quite some years for the family to discover anything about his birth family given little was known, but eventually my Aunt Lynne and her cousin would manage locate his sister and the pieces would come together.

Through Aunt Lynne’s tenacity we would discover Great-Grandpa’s birth name, where his parents had come from, Switzerland and the Croatian island of Lopud. More recently they discovered his father was an Italian-speaking Croatian, this via census records on Ancestry’s website.

My father has also spent some time tracing our own side of the family. We’re rather a small bunch, and as my grandparents had died by the time I was very young I never got to know much and Dad never spoke much or never knew much to be able to speak of it. I guess this is one of the reasons I have been somewhat fascinated by AncestryDNA.

Almost two years ago now I watched an AncestryDNA video and my interest was peaked about how you could learn about where your family came from. A friend at work completed this earlier this year originating from Malaysia, it was interesting to see she had quite a high European contribution to her DNA make-up.

I recently purchased my own AncestryDNA kit as it was at a decent discount. The kit arrived in the mail earlier this week and first involves activating the kit via the Ancestry website; then filling the test tube with saliva, then cap the tube which includes a stabilising solution which gets sharked for 5 seconds; then place in the postal kit and send. I sent on Thursday, so. now is a 6-8 week wait for results of my DNA to see where we come from, I look forward to seeing what comes back.

New me

In the late 1980s I discovered my paternal grandfather had changed our surname prior to marrying, at the insistence of his future wife, she did not want the hypenated surname. It may also have been related to his being disinherited as he was marrying a catholic where he was I assume Church of England.

Upon learning of this I really wanted to restore our surname to its original, though it did eventually take me another four years before I did so legally. During those years I would use it unofficially and also considered whether I wanted to keep my first name, something I associated negatively with all the bullying I’d endured throughout school.

When in 1993 I formally changed my name I had wanted to change my name to Corin but I faced such opposition within the family just with changing the surname that I ended up retaining the first name but modifying middle names to feature what I wanted. The result never was what I wanted and having all those middle names I felt kind of embarrassed, I would avoid telling people about or how they came to be.

After my little brother took his life in April I couldn’t help but cast a lens over my life and examine what I too wasn’t happy with. For me it was obvious, for 24 years I had lived with those names as middle names that I had wanted to make my new name, it was time to seize the day, carpe diem. At the end of May I began using Corin as a preferred name, I had some interesting reactions:

  • Some friends expressed liking my original name but supported my change;
  • Many expressed liking the new name;
  • Some were curious to understand the name’s meaning – it is Celtic with Roman origins to their god Mars; it means Spear thrower;
  • I got asked by one person at work whether anything else was changing. This made me laugh so much, but I confirmed was solely a change of name, happy with gender and sexuality!

I submitted the paperwork to change name formally in August and a month later, or thereabouts, an email advised I had to send my old birth certificate and change of name certificate to them to be destroyed. I had a quiet chuckle here as mum had covered the birth certificate in contact film in the 80s, good luck shredder! I was forced to delay sending due to a holiday to Singapore in October, I knew I’d not get documentation and a passport quickly enough.

Finally, on my little brother’s birthday, the approved change of name came through and I am now officially Corin. I felt quite elated for about ten or so minutes, almost as though floating. I’ve since been arranging new identification and updating name with banks and government etc, this has been a lot quicker than I thought it might have been with 75% completed in 2 days.

I think I need a holiday!

Same Sex Marriage Survey: I vote YES

My survey form arrived today, it was a no brainer to vote YES and support equal rights for all to have the right to marry, should they wish to do so.

Without that piece of paper same sex couples lack so many rights that heterosexual couples seemingly enjoy, I only discovered this more recently.

A friend’s daughter was pregnant with her third child and in her final month of her pregnancy when she made the decision to end her relationship with her longtime girlfriend. I can’t imagine what that decision must have been like, scary to say the least, but she felt her partner was more committed to partying and clubbing than her and the kids. It was only after splitting and hoping to arrange an equitable split of assets and establish financial support for her and the kids that she discovered the law did not recognise the relationship and she could pretty much get nothing.

It is this example that makes me look at the inequity of our marriage laws that currently allow only for a man and woman. The survey proposes to support same sex marriage, we won’t find out until mid-November the results. I just hope that this expensive $122m survey, if it does come back with a majority in favour, results in our politicians respecting the people’s wishes and pushing through the change.

I feel for the LGBTIQ community who during this whole process are subjected to scrutiny over their right to do what heterosexual couples take for granted and are generally expected to do at some point, marry.

Just Seven

The dreadful events of a van mowing down people in Barcelona just brings home that no matter where you are in the world terrorism can strike at your door. Just a few weeks ago a good friend of mine, Suzanne, had walked the very streets where this had occurred and could herself have been caught up in the situation had she planned her holiday just weeks later, I am so grateful she did not.

It is always so saddening when these events occur and the mongrels succeed in taking even one life because then I feel they gain something, they add a notch to their post so to speak. Here in Australia it was reported a young British-born boy who now resides in Sydney had gone missing during the confusion, just seven years old. It rings home all to closely as my niece is just seven years old, I know how developed their personalities are at this age and how much they mean to their families.

Sadly it was reported today that as his father and other family members arrived in Barcelona to begin their search for him he had been discovered in a hospital, deceased. Having lost my brother just months ago I feel their pain at this time, how hard it must be to lose someone so young and so tragically.

RIP Julian

Wait. No longer!

I decided in late May I would swap from my first name Bryan to my last middle name Corin. It has been an interesting journey, I have been asked why I was doing so many a time, even asked oddly if I was changing gender as the person enquiring had worked with someone whose name changed and later so too did their gender. No, my gender will not be changing, sorry to disappoint.

Some have adapted to my new preferred name relatively easily whilst others several months on still find themselves slipping up and quickly correcting themselves. Generally though most have now adjusted to calling me Corin and have said they really quite like the name.

As someone who likes to hide in the background I find all the attention it has garnered oddly strange. I had planned to formalise my name change in late October or November as I had already booked a holiday to Singapore and thought it better to wait. I got a tad frustrated at work the other day when an IT worker refused to created a new staff ID card as preferred names are no longer accepted. I decided enough, I wanted to move on and change as soon as possible. I finally submitted my paperwork today, it will take around 6 weeks to return, then the process of changing my name everywhere else, especially my passport.

It will be good to be official.