I’ll never forget that day. I had received a phone call earlier from Mike saying he needed to talk to me...without him actually telling me why. I knew something bad...really bad had happened. By the time I arrived home, I felt physically sick. When I saw their faces I almost yelled accusingly, “who”, my first thoughts being of my mother, then my nieces, as the boys were telling me Kingston. For a few moments my mind took me back to the beautiful little boy with the big Then more immediately, my sister I needed to get to my sister. Now I was desperate. I was so sorry for being so far away from her.

During what seemed like days to get to her my mind was I was confused. I was so angry...with him. How could he do this to my sister, my heart was breaking...for her.

On arriving at the house, “I’m here sis” I scrambled to get to her, we held each other. I was supposed to be there for her but found my sister comforting me. I remember it being a little while before I actually focused on Kingston, the following days were a blur...there was anger, disbelief, hurt, and sadness...denial. In consensus with my sister how could this kind, beautiful, melt-your-heart with cuteness little man (that’s still how I see him), mean to do this...we began a mission to find out the truth.

When I left NZ Kingston hadn’t even turned 4. He already had a kind & caring nature. He was a very loving little boy who loved cuddles. Throughout his school years I learned via a very proud mother and grandmother, of his achievements and his (very few) misdemeanours. Of his natural sporting and musical abilities and his interest in the cultural arts.

As an adult, Mum and Paula had explained to me about his being diagnosed with bipolar and by all accounts it was a relief to have a reason for Kingston’s erratic and often unpredictable behaviour. Those actions weren’t carried out by our Kingston.

I felt guilty I was only getting to know my nephew now. I almost felt like an imposter looking out at the sea of faces filled with grief and hurt knowing that these people knew Kingston, they had shared their lives with him, lived with him...loved him. I remember feeling in awe from the hundreds of people that came to farewell him, witnessing the many lives he had touched and after viewing the many videos of him laughing, singing, performing and living. I wished I’d had memories of time spent with this beautiful, gentle and brilliantly talented young man.

After learning about bipolar I am still angry...but not with him. I wish I could go back and tell him it’s all going to be ok, we’ll get through this, you have support and so many people care about you...we all do.

I’ll never believe he’s in a better place. The best place is here with his family who love and miss him. I’ll never understand why life is so unfair, why bad things happen to good people. I wonder how his life would have turned out. I think of him often and smile. He’ll just pop into my head...but always as the adorable little man with the big glasses and infectious smile.

AuntyClea Pettit