is trying to come to terms with the fact he could have lost his dad.
LIt’s not an easy email to read, when a parent reveals a suicide attempt to you. As has recently been well documented, ted, the above is the subject of the opening chapter of my dad’s latest est book [Jimmy Barnes’s Working ng Class Man] and it makes for harrowing arrowing reading.
When I first t read the chapter on email, mail, I have to admit it took my breath away. I can completely mpletely understand his is childhood and the damage ge that has done to him.
For decades s now, we as a family y have had to privately ely watch him struggle with an addiction that t could have made him im another rock’n’roll statistic. atistic.
Reading his is book, I am even more acutely cutely aware of his internal pain and the fact that his addiction ction was in fact a long slow ow attempt on his own life. Right in front of our eyes. In slow low motion. All we could do was bear witness.
The recounting unting of that night in New w Zealand is hard for me to read. Mainly because that t thing inside of him, which had been driving him to inflict such damage on himself for so long, took over. It was finally let loose and thankfully, for whatever reason, was unsuccessful. My mind races to my chil children. How would they have coped with the news that he was gone gone? And how do I explain to them t that when this happened in 2012, I had no idea the stru struggle for him was all too real? He masks it sow so well. You see, aside from music, the project he ha has most successfully ded dedicated himself to working work on, is that of bei being a high-function high-functioning addict. Sometim Sometimes he seems worse for w wear, yet most of the tim time he is his usual charming self. Were there signs I should have seen? Was I too busy with my own career career? My own children? Had my he healthy distance – which I ha had used at times to protect m myself when necessary – be been too distant? Could I hav have called him more? Should I have believed his “I am great, g better than I have e ever been” mantra less?
I am not stupid. I have read about addiction. About being the child of an addict. I have seen him at his worst. Shouldn’t I have guessed that this was there?
Yet you can never really know. Whether it’s a parent, a lover or a child. All you can do is try your best.
You can’t enable them but you can support them. You can tell them you love them. How important they are, not just to you, but to your kids too.
So we are lucky.
My old man continues to move forward and force himself to confront his demons. To change and grow. He does this publicly and privately. Even in his darkest hour he inspires.
Like the song says… Take it one day at a time. David co-hosts Today Extra, 9am weekdays, on the Nine Network. Lifeline: 13 11 14
“I have read about addiction. About being the child of an addict… Shouldn't I have guessed that this was there?”