Trigger warning: This post contains details of depression and suicide, and may be triggering for some readers.
Today, Robin took to her radio show Robin, Terry & Bob on Brisbane’s 97.3fm to discuss the “catastrophic” fallout since that devastating event.
Speaking publicly about such a personal loss is an unimaginable task, and difficult to watch, but Robin says she is talking because the treatment of depression and the rates of suicide in Australia are a national disgrace.
Watch Robin’s impossibly brave and confronting speech, here. If you are not able to watch, there is a transcript beneath the video:
Today is a pretty big day for me because it was on this day a year ago that my husband of 15 years Tony Smart decided to take his own life.
I have spent so many hours thinking about this day 12 months ago. Could I have stopped it, what was different about the day, were there signs to predict what lay ahead and why… why would he do this to us… to me, his friends and family but mostly the kids and now 12 months on I know there are no answers.
Tony’s decision was his and his alone but I can say the fall out has been catastrophic. I won’t talk about my boys as they must have their own voice in this and will tell their own story to those they want to when the time comes… but I will say this has changed all of us for ever and damaged the three people Tony said he loved the most. His choices have handed his children a life sentence that they will feel the consequences of their whole lives. It is defining their adolescence and will shape their partner choice and how they parent their own children… as you can hear I am angry… angry at Tony for not realising the consequences of his actions because we will for a long time to come.
So what has happened in the last 12 months… I’ve bought then sold a house. I have turned around Tony’s business with the help of some amazing people and then sold it which means that Smartmen will live on in Shavershops, which is a lovely legacy for the boys. I have learnt how to do the big stuff but also the small like change over a gas bottle and hang pictures on a wall. I’ve lain in bed not wanting to get up but knowing I have to and I have just kept going because ultimately what else can you do?
I have made many mistakes in the last 12 months and big ones but I have also done some things right. I have put amazing people around us. From the practical like my most patient lawyer Gleeso to my accountant Mark and financial advisor Keiron who seriously need a medal as they talk me through documents I don’t understand for the 100th time. I have hired a uni student Clare to help get me organised for a couple of hours a week at home because being a dyslexic paper work is seriously not my thing and then there is my support… a group of woman who have picked me up countless times and either jollied or lovingly bullied me into keep going. There are my besties and countless others on the side lines who have made me meals and loved me into submission Alex, Ness, Fi and Ruth I could not have done this without you… then there are the people who have caught my kids. The GPS school that has been outstanding in their pastoral care of my two eldest boys and my youngest son’s state school. The boy’s Godparents who turn up to watch soccer games or rouse on them to clean their rooms and give them that stern male hand that they desperately crave and my mum and sister who have been thrown back to a time when my father died of natural causes when I was 11. It has forced us all to deal with our own family demons and yet they still fly to me whenever it is needed to stand as a unified force against the world.
Then there is work… Thank God for it as seriously it is the one consistent normal in my life and something I at least know how to do. You guys listening don’t know this but there are many times when Tez, Bob, Ruth and Ash have to cover for me either on air or off as some crisis or another rears its ugly head and I am forced to leave early or miss an event or just not cry coming out of a break. We are a team in every way and I am so grateful for this job and all the people I work with… Thank you guys thank you xxx
And to the countless strangers, you guys, who continue to care about me and offer your love and light through your kind words. I get your messages through social media and email and feel so blessed to have such amazing anonymous support. But I said in the beginning that I didn’t want to be the poster girl for depression or suicide and I still feel that but I do believe my media experience can be used in a way to start conversations. The statistics for both depression and suicide are awful in Australia and something needs to be done so why not me and why not soon… something positive and long term needs to come out of this dreadful experience.
Finally, the one question I get asked the most is “How are you?” Well let me answer this honestly. If there are seven stages of grieving then I am moving into stage number four. I have gone through firstly shock and denial, then pain and guilt, then anger and bargaining and am now shifting into reflection and loneliness. It’s hard, it is really, really hard to watch my children grapple with desperately missing their dad while blaming themselves for HIS decision. In some ways it is harder now than it was when he first died as the practical stuff is resolved it’s the emotional tsunami that just keeps coming and I cannot fill the void that is left and that eats me up as a mum as I am supposed to be the one that can make it all better and I just can’t. And honestly it’s tough keeping my weapons up as I fight and fight to protect my kids and find happiness. Plus I am really lonely… I can’t begin to imagine bringing a partner into our family life but fighting this fight alone is super tough… and at it’s most basic level I just miss being held and sharing my day with an adult I love. The great news is that with three stages left in this process according to the experts it will turn around and things will start to look up until one day I’ll be at stage seven which is acceptance and hope. As a family we are not nearly there yet but I can see the light and know that my boys and I are walking towards it.
Earlier this year, Robin spoke to Mia Freedman about Tony’s death.
In the emotional interview, Robin said “my armour is on and I’m fighting.”
We hope that people feel better able to reach out and offer or receive the help that they need.
As Robin so eloquently said, “something positive and long-term needs to come out of this dreadful experience.”
Leave a message of support for Robin and her family, below.