Being a mother, my natural instinct was to try and protect Shaun, however, there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t help him unhear what he was hearing or unsee what he was seeing. One the best days of my life was when he returned home and stepped back on Australian soil.
There were many incidents whilst Shaun was in Afghanistan, but there were two major ones.
The first one being involved in a bushmaster accident. Shaun was driving at the time and there was a big bolder in the middle of the road, so Shaun had to serve to avoid hitting it. He was close to the edge of the road and it gave way, sending the bushmaster and its occupants down a cliff, dropping 50 metres before coming to a stop. Several people were injured and hospitalised. Shaun blamed himself for the accident and relived this many times. He never really got over it.
The second major incident was the death of a 16-year-old girl, in which happened right before his eyes. This image never left him.
When Shaun returned home everything appeared to be normal on the surface, however, as time went on it become obvious that Shaun was not the same person as he was before deployment.
He became quieter and sometimes withdrawn. He was having trouble sleeping and at times found it hard to control his temper.
As a mother I tried reaching out to him and get him to talk, but I always got the same answer “I’m good mum, everything is fine”.
Shaun was diagnosed with PTSD in 2015 and unfortunately lost his battle on 31 January 2016.
He will forever be 24.