“As much as [sharing Connie’s story] has been a blessing for the family, so too has it been a curse.”
These are Samuel Johnson’s raw words, spoken to Mia Freedman, just one week after the death of his beloved sister Connie.
Last weekend, the actor spoke about the decision to ‘go public’ with the story of his sister’s experience with cancer, and the impact it had on some of her most cherished loved ones – her two sons, Willoughby, 11, Hamilton, 10, and her husband, Mike.
“Going public was not popular – most of all with me,” he said of the decision to launch Love Your Sister and raise funds for breast cancer. “Connie met a lot of resistance.”
“Overall, though, everyone’s now seen it’s well worth it, and well worth putting our family out there as an example of the other 50,000 families out there all over this country.
Mia Freedman speaks with Samuel Johnson about Connie’s legacy. Post continues below.
“Bit by bit, every family member started to realise this was bigger than us,” he said.
He recalled, however, that the decision to put Connie’s final years in the spotlight were “most uncomfortable for Mike,” Connie’s husband.
“He wanted his wife, and the boys wanted their mum,” said Samuel. “So [Connie] had a lot of guilt about the work that she did.”
“How could Mike not get resentful when Connie’s been away at a conference for four days and three fundraisers… and then comes back and falls in a heap for a week… because she spent all of her energy and all of her heart on trying to deal with this at a national level.
“If you want to do something a little bit great, it comes as a cost,” he said.
Of her last few years with her children, Sam said Connie’s two sons “spent most of their lives in a trauma state.”