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Sunday 23 February 2014

Charlotte Dawson: Why I Can't Forget

I can't get my mind off Charlotte Dawson.

Though I want to.

It's not that I want to stop remembering her. It's just that… thinking of her brings deep sadness in my heart.

Couldn't we save her? Couldn't someone save her?'

The headline on the cover of The Sunday Telegraph says it all, though: 'Why No One Could Save Her."

The article details the inner turmoil this woman felt, the demons swirling inside her head daily. We are all good at faking happiness and masking pain. But sadly, it looks like Charlotte was an expert at it. In the end, that horrible 'black dog' of depression, biting at her heels… well, it won.

Look. I know. I know she got into Twitter fights and some undesirable things were said. I also know this strong woman was constantly baited and forced to fend for herself, and clearly was crumbling inside. I mean, wouldn't you? The disgusting glee these trolls garnered from getting a rise out of her… this is not normal, this is not what it is to be an empathic human being. Seeing how far you can push someone; feeling joy at their pain. What the fuck, humanity?

I have been coming across so many messages on my social media feeds, and they say more about Charlotte than any article I have read.

Like this one, posted on the Facebook page of 'Mornings', the TV show on which Charlotte appeared the day before she took her own life:

Kate Kelly Dear Charlotte, you were the only judge on Next Top Model that didn't bully our daughter Charlotte. When it went to air and she saw what Alex Perry and Sarah Murdoch said behind her back she was so humiliated by the bullying comments and what her peers said about her she attempted suicide. I sat by her bedside for four weeks, she was left with kidney and liver damage. You and Josh were the only ones who treated the girls with respect and affection. You inspired our Charlotte with how you handled the bullying and trolls. She went on to recently be in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, a TV commercial and Cleo - all because she looked to you for inspiration. A light has gone out in the world. My Charlotte and I will miss your warmth in the world. I loved you on the Fashion Police with Josh, it won't be the same without you. I hope it wasn't suicide that claimed your precious life as then they have won. I wish I had now told you somehow how you changed my Charlottes' life. I had only just posted on Murdoch Research page how hypocritical some high profile can be. I wish I could have returned the favour you did for our daughter. I can't process the news that you are gone. I did meet you a couple of times and you were so warm and generous. May you find peace and happiness in the next life as you deserve. I pass on my condolences to family and friends, I know the pain of bullying and depression on your children and loved ones, no-one can ever understand the depths of despair. Rest In Peace and now your soul is free of this lifes pain. God Bless You. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

And this one, posted by actor Alex Dimitriades:

Alexander Dimitriades

Still can't believe Charlotte. Poor love. Life can be so lonely and mysterious. And people so gutless and irresponsible in their actions. She was a fucking cool cat since forever. Don't make 'em like that no more. Old school. But never too cool for school like some fakers, always gave u the time of day. Heart and humour. Your departure is devastating and a great loss to those who obviously have so many great things to say about u. May ur legacy live on sweetheart. If u could voice anything about this situation right now, u'd probably have us all in stitches! Funny fucker. Love u. And to anyone who thinks it's cool to act big and say nasty shit behind the safety of a computer screen, do us all a favour, eat a turd. Depression is a serious issue which NOBODY is immune to. I've lost family members. Shit is real. Peace.

I can ONLY imagine what her close friends are feeling, the deep pain in the pit of your stomach when you wake up and think, yep… still real. Still happened. And now I have to spend the rest of my life without you.

When my friend Anthony Del Col died suddenly last year I was beside myself with grief. I still cannot, and never will, come to terms with the death of this beautiful soul, dead at 33. His funeral… wow. The most intense experience I can recall: full of love and raw grief and such pain etched on the faces of his loved ones, and those who perhaps knew him a little less than his family and partner.

When they rolled the slide show on his life during the service, I cried. We all cried. My biggest tears came when I saw photos of him as a young boy. A beautiful, bright-eyed boy who had his life ahead of him. That could have been the child of any one of us in that church, and we knew it. Or, perhaps it even represented us as a child. I could barely breathe through my loud sobbing, so much so someone I'd never met reached out and gave me her hand. "I can see you really loved him," she said. I truly did.

It was the most perfectly put together memorial, as polished as one of his perfectly styled and pulled together parties. The fan given out at his funeral with a beautiful message inscribed on it ("Happiness is not a destination. It is a way of life.") is what I see every single morning as it's beside my bed.

There are no real words of comfort I or anyone can offer those who knew Charlotte Dawson. Because they know what they face: a life without a person they loved so much. Whatever you think of Charlotte, this post isn't for you anyway. This post is for those who spent Friday nights hanging with Charlotte, or having a gossip with Charlotte at one of the many events they went to together. Or those who she helped because she wanted to and because she felt she could make a difference to their lives. And that she did.

It's sad to think that, in the end, nobody could really reach Charlotte enough to make a difference to her. Tried their hearts out, they did, no doubt. But, no. Charlotte had her own plans in mind.

Rest in peace, lovely soul.

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