A grieving mother has revealed her deepest parental regret after enduring the pain of losing one son to homicide and another to suicide.
Stuart and Thomas Kelly’s parents, Kathy and Ralph, shared their heartbreaking story in an episode of Andrew Denton’s Interview on Channel 7 on Tuesday night.
Mrs Kelly detailed the night her youngest son, Stuart, called them in panic, asking to be picked up urgently after spending his first night at a Sydney university college.
His older brother, Thomas, had been killed in a one-punch attack four years earlier.
In the two months that followed Stuart’s anxious phone call, Mrs Kelly said her son barely emerged from his room in the family’s Northern Beaches home, and refused to go back to university.
She said he told them they were “never going to know” details about the night they picked him up, and had expressed a desire to reconsider his career.
“He also did a complete turnabout about what he wanted to do with his life. He had made a beautiful rocking chair for the HSC and he said, ‘oh, maybe I’ll just go do some woodwork’,” Mrs Kelly told the host.
He took his life in July 2016, aged 18 – the age Thomas was when he was killed in the unprovoked attack during a night out in Kings Cross.
Mrs Kelly has since struggled with the thought she could have done more to save her son’s life, worried she said the wrong things and didn’t listen to what he told her.
“I said all the wrong things like, ‘oh, we didn’t struggle to send you through this school to have you turning timber.’
“And I could kick myself now, because I would — I wouldn’t care what state he was in, if he was in that bedroom I’d be happier than anything, I wouldn’t care what he wanted to do with his life... I just wanted him to be here.”
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