This morning our seven-year-old boy and I leaned our cricket bats on the front door to pay tribute to a man we never knew.
I was sure the gesture was more therapy for me than anything else, but whilst preparing breakfast he started cutting pieces of black tape and sticking them on the bats. “Chris, this is how we will remember the cricketer,” he said to me. The gravity of grief felt over Phillip Hughes’ death is not lost even on such a young boy.
24 years ago, on Christmas Eve, my brother, my cousin and I were playing cricket in the driveway of our house when a tragic accident occurred that killed my brother. Just like for Phillip Hughes, a very young man – just a boy – taken too early.
I was nine; my brother was 13 and a passionate cricketer. I can’t remember exactly, but I think I bowled a fairly juicy half-volley and my cousin rightly dispatched it with a glorious drive that eventually skidded under the gate and across the main road we lived on. My brother, as the eldest, went to collect the ball and as always I dutifully followed him, but, as always, stayed safely on my side of the road. He picked up the ball, and waited momentarily before setting off to come back to our game. I was sure he had seen the white car.
Adam never regained consciousness and died later that day. Like Phillip Hughes, his injuries were too severe and no doctor, no prayer could fix him. Like the Hughes family, I never got the chance to actually SAY anything to him he could hear, let alone goodbye. Sad is the only word I can think of when I imagine Phillip’s mother Virginia and his sister Megan sitting in the stands at the SCG, as they watched a fizzing cricket ball knock the life out of him.