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Mum's desperate plea to help bring son's ashes home

TRAGIC: Maryborough’s Tam Olsen lost her 22-year-old son Christian to suicide last year.
TRAGIC: Maryborough’s Tam Olsen lost her 22-year-old son Christian to suicide last year. Carlie Walker

IT HAS been 286 days since Maryborough's Tam Olsen lost her 22-year-old son Christian James to suicide and all she wants to do is bring him home.

Losing her son has destroyed her life.

In addition to the pain and grief Tam feels over his death, she has had to contend with the difficulty of having no job; the fear of losing her home; and the fact that her son's ashes will remain with the funeral home until she can pay the outstanding balance on his funeral.

With $4400 left to pay until she can bring her son home, Tam said she was facing the toughest choice of all - whether to keep a roof over her head and that of her other two sons, or pay more towards bringing Christian back where he belongs.

The nightmare started on November 25 last year, when police arrived at Tam's door and asked her name.

"I think I knew straight away," she said.

Christian, a father of two, was working away in New South Wales at the time of his death.

He had been through a rough patch, but had come through the other side and his mum felt that her son had his life on track.

Nothing could have prepared Tam for her son's death. Because he died in New South Wales, Tam had to pay for her son's body to be brought back to Queensland.

That cost $2500, which depleted her savings.

Stricken with grief, Tam said she could barely remember the days after her son's death.

She said people tell her they were at the funeral, or that someone she knew offered their condolences.

She can't remember that. All she can remember was that her son's funeral was the darkest day of her life.

Sometimes Tam tries to pretend it never happened.

She can almost believe that Christian is still working away and just hasn't come home yet.

"It's still not very real to me," she said.

ABOVE: Tam Olsen with a photo of her son. RIGHT: Christian.
ABOVE: Tam Olsen with a photo of her son. RIGHT: Christian. Carlie Walker

Tam has had to be the strong one, managing her money as best she can to hold onto her house for her and her other children.

But financial worries stop her from being able to grieve properly.

In order to provide groceries, Tam and her sons live from day to day, sometimes having to sell their possessions and all the while dealing with the fallout from Christian's death.

Tam said the funeral home where Christian was cremated had been nothing but kind and supportive towards her.

She holds no resentment or blame toward those who helped her put her son to rest. She just wants to bring him home.

"They were absolutely fantastic," she said.

"But I can't bring his ashes home until that's paid for."

Tam is not usually one to ask for help.

But in March this year, devastated by the fact that she couldn't have her son's ashes and terrified of losing her home, she started a Go Fund Me page.

So far $620 has been raised, an amount Tam is incredibly grateful for, but well short of the $10,000 target that would help her hold on to her house and bring Christian home.

When asked how she would describe her son, a smile creeps into her voice.

"A loveable little s**t."

She says he lived his life to the full and she's very grateful that he did.

To make a donation, head to http://www.gofundme.com/om47pw

Reach Out

If you need help, there are services you can call:

Lifeline 13 11 14

headspace 1800 650 890

beyondblue 1300 224 636

Suicide call back service 1300 659 467

Topics:  editors picks maryborough suicide


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