You can hear the pride in Lynene’s voice when she talks about her son Cameron.
“He was such an outgoing, loving, caring young man,” she says. “And he was so loved. By so many people.”
It was just over a year ago that Lynene, Simon, and their family had their world turned upside down when their beloved Cameron lost his battle with depression and took his own life.
Understandably, the days following were a blur for Lynene.
It was during this time that she and her whānau connected with Victim Support Worker Karen.
“Karen was able to listen,” she says. “She was really good for our whole family. A godsend, really.”
As Lynene has worked to navigate grief over the last year, Karen has been with her every step. A phone call away if she needs a chat, a coffee, or a cry.
“She suggested so many avenues we could go down, was able to direct us to resources, give us booklets – she was instrumental in getting us through.”
“Having somebody I could cry to, having somebody who understands in some sort of way, has been amazing,” she says. “Even now, it’s really reassuring knowing she’s always there if I need a chat.”
To mark Cam’s 27th birthday, his family threw a birthday party in his honour. “The kids really wanted to do something for him,” Lynene explains. “So, we held a dress up party and told people to come dressed as anything that reminded them of Cam – we had some very interesting costumes!”
It was a $5 donation to attend the party, with all proceeds going to Victim Support. Thanks to Cam’s birthday event, Lynene and her family were able to donate close to $500 to Victim Support in his memory. “The party was really quite healing actually,” she says.
For Lynene, working to keep Cam’s memory alive every day is the most important part of her grief journey.
Sometimes it’s talking to him just like she used to, saying goodbye before she heads out in the morning and telling him to ‘get out of bed and get to work!’.
Other times it’s small, unexpected moments. Ones that take her by surprise and remind her just how special Cameron was.
“Today I had a memory pop up on my Facebook page,” Lynene explains. “It was from 2014, and it was a text I had received from Cam. It said: ‘Hey Mum, I love you. Always.’”
“He was an amazing human, that’s for sure.”