Friendship and Loss

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Have you ever lost someone? To illness, to old age, to an accident? I have been pretty lucky so far - I have only lost 3 grandparents and a friend.  This blog is about that friend.

His name was Ian but I never called him that in all the years I knew him, it was just Indy.  That's what we all called him as he was given that nickname as a little boy because he wanted to be Indiana Jones (that want never went away in all his 35 years).

My husband, Scott, has a small and very select group of friends that are very precious to him and he's had them forever.  We have moved around a lot and lucky for me, I have made friends wherever we go! I'm so lucky, but as a people person, I need that.  I like to have mates around me that I can chat too often, bounce ideas off, receive opinions from and laugh until I have to run to the toilet.  Since becoming a mum, a lot of that contact is not as often as I would like but I make time for friends, old and new, whenever I can, as they are my second family.

My hubby's close friends were part of his life when we met and there they have stayed, the inner sanctum.

They have remained his circle from his school and university days and when they catch up, which is not often, it's like they were never apart.  He has no need or want to expand this group - they are there when he needs them, he for them and the fact they have a lot of shared history makes the friendships exactly like a second family.

Indy came along later.

The only close friend that my hubby made since leaving his boyhood town of Ballarat.  So he was also the only friend that Scott and I met at the same time.  He changed the inner sanctum of this friendship group forever.

Indy was English and I hope I won't cause offence to any English guys reading this but he was not your typical pom! Sure he drank way too many cups of tea and was crazy about soccer (sorry, football!!) and in that regard very 'English' but he was a talker, a hugger and someone who wanted to know all about you and what made you tick.  He also wanted you to tell him when you were sad, when you were happy and everything in between...

For my hubby's group, this was a wildcard entry.  I bounced on the couch with joy.  

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Scott, Marty, Indy and Paul

 

I love my hubby's friends and they have become my family too but I am a talker, a hugger and I want to know what makes you tick.  I remember thinking to myself that a very lucky group of men had found the person that could soften them and make them talk about more that the footy scores, the playstation scores and the other kind of scoring (you know what I mean there) 😉 without any oestrogen in the room.

So yes, any girl that met Indy was a fan as he was 'one of us' and the wives and girlfriends of this group approved....I loved hanging out with him, he had great parties, made friends with everyone while we were out and we had some awesome group weekends away. He also fell in love with the most amazing woman, Sam, and so we gained someone else.

Then it was all taken away.

Suddenly, shockingly, leaving everyone numb, none more so than his fiance Sam.

We couldn't believe that Indy's 35th Birthday present had killed him.

A joy flight that was given to him to use when he wished and of course, Indy being Indy, could not wait and booked it as soon as possible. He could barely sleep the night before and was beside himself with excitement because just like Indiana Jones, Indy was a big kid that loved excitement, adventure and doing things that most of us are too scared to do.  He drove a motorbike (I was forever pestering him to sell it and buy a car of course), he dived with sharks, he rode on elephants, he always wanted to fly.....

 

So Sam drove him to the airstrip, waved him goodbye and we never saw Indy alive again.  The plane never came back.

My husband and I at this time had decided to pack up our lives in Brisbane and set off around Australia in a campervan.  Indy's birthday was coming up but we had decided to leave at a certain time so we had an early birthday dinner with him and Sam at a Mexican restaurant in Brisbane and said our goodbyes that night.

We had been on the road for a while and had made it to Port Douglas in Northern Queensland and the very first night we got there, we received a call from Marty to say that Indy's plane had not returned.

We didn't understand or take the full comprehension on board of what this meant, as Indy disappearing did not seem logical. So we stayed positive and said to each other that he would be found.  We hugged together in the back of the van all night, staying awake and when no phone call had come through by 5am, decided to just start driving back to Brisbane.

We were still holding on to hope.  We told ourselves that we would want to see him anyway, that we weren't driving 1800 km back for any major reason, just that we wanted to see he was ok after what was no doubt an awful ordeal. We turned the radio on and waited for news. Many hours passed and we started to get angry with each other, snapping and fighting and then came the long silences.  Being in a van with nothing to look at but the never ending road ahead of you with a lot weighing on your mind is not that great .

I started to think, what if?

Then I started to think of the one and only time Indy and I had argued and how I felt bad about that and then I would check my phone and listen to his voice wishing us goodbye and to have a good trip....

When the radio said that a small joy flight plane had been found in the waters off Stradbroke Island, can you believe, I still didn't think he was gone?

It wasn't until the phone rang that Scott and I knew, it was true, Indy and the pilot had been killed when the plane never made it out of a 360 degree loop the loop but had instead hit the water.

We then allowed ourselves to cry, and we were so glad that we were nearly in Brisbane again so we could be with our friends.

I will never forget what it was like to see the faces of Marty, Sam and Adam when we first got to Sams house.  I think I have never held on to someone as long as I held on to Marty that night.  I had no words for Sam, I just held on to her too.

 

Now why did this plane go down?

Well I'm not in a position to give too much information as the inquest has still not been handed down but I want to share that it has been almost 5 years now.

In that time, Scott and I have done many things.  We finished our trip around Australia.  We lived and bought a house in WA.  We have had 2 babies and lived in Hervey bay and now Brisbane again.

A lot can happen in 5 years.

The inquest is still ongoing and so too is the grief for all who loved Indy.  This is just my version of events and I was only a friend.  For 5 years, Sam, her parents and Indy's family who have had to fly from England to Australia multiple times because we are still waiting for the right thing to be done.

The facts remain that the pilot, unbeknown to Sam or Indy, had his commercial pilot's licence taken away from him as was on medication for black-outs.

That is all I'm going to say but if you would like to tune in to Australian story on the ABC at either - Monday the 24th July at 8pm or Saturday 29th July at midday and see more details of this story and maybe afterwards voice your opinion via e-mail or letter to the appropriate channels, then I would be so appreciative.

Sam, Indy's family and friends deserve the right outcome from this story as there has been no closure for them in 5 long years.  I know people all around the world suffer more than this on a daily basis but these are my friends and I wanted to write about it for all of us.

I hope Australia watches this show knowing that an amazing friend, fiancé, son, brother, animator,  and man was stolen from us and it needs to be said properly. 

*****EDIT - THIS SHOW HAS NOW AIRED  - YOU CAN WATCH IT BY CLICKING HERE*****

I am writing this on behalf of my husband Scott, my dear friend and godfather to my son, Marty and my 'other brother', Adam.

I love you all and I'm glad I have you in my life.

 

Alisha xx

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