“My friend took his own life when I was fifteen years old. I’m sure it was traumatic for his mom, but she sort of just sucked it up. But things were different after that. So my sister stepped in. My sister is eight years older than me. She’d already experienced a lot of heartbreak in life. She grew up in a dysfunctional household with my Dad and step mother, and became a caregiver to me at a very young age. So she was able to conceal her emotions. I was, in her eyes, the good kid. I worked hard to win her smiles. I played three sports but she didn’t care about that. She just cared that I didn’t get caught in the authority of my father. She’d fought his authority from day one. My sister supported me in everything I wanted to try. Not in a pushy way. More of a helpful way. So much of her life was just driving me to be a free spirit: music, art, laughter and being a renegade. Unfortunately her relationship with my Dad was different. She was defiant. Dad wouldn’t listen. He had a good heart but he was doing a lot of mean scary things. One time on the night of her final on the Miss Victoria Pageant, after a year of fund raising and dance classes, he locked her in her bedroom and punched her date in the face when he came to pick her up. My sister screamed so hard someone had to call the police. My sister had been the one who was really old enough to be angry when my mom died, and I don’t think she ever fully recovered. But it motivated her. Nothing could stop her. Five years later my sister graduated from NIDA had her own TV show. I saw a picture of her in a crochet bikini in a fashion magazine. I was so proud. When my sister met her future husband he didn’t like acting so she went to University and studied Law. She said it had many similarities to acting. She went to London and graduated with honours and did her years. She proved our family were decedents from King William 1V so her kids were christened at Westminster. When she came back to Australia I stayed with her through a few divorces. She was always there. She never got on with my Dad’s new wives. She always saw straight through them. She wanted to protect Dad, even after all the drama. I began travelling all over the world on business and I wouldn’t see her for years, I spent a massive amount of time in Nepal to deal with my challenges. In the meantime my sister bought this huge old boarding house mansion in Glebe and it stunk of old man piss. For the next years she, her husband and her three kids lived in the coach house out the back of the house and every day he’d come home from being a top end dentist, and she a lawyer and then put on overalls and wreck and build and pain and work till dark and beyond. After five years they moved in. It had been a tough job but I think it inspired her. She was so happy even in the tiny coach house. My sister is a rock. She will try anything. Later she bought homes in Tasmania. It allowed her to see colour in the world and hear birds chirping. She began to take sculpture classes, and eventually had an exhibition. I could always trust my sister to be brutally honest with me. In all the advice I’d sought throughout my life none was as upfront as hers. She was the Barrister who cut through the fog for me. I like that. Sometimes it hurt but her ultimate goal was always to find what’s best. She is the most resilient person I know because she’d damn determined that nothing will make her unhappy. It didn’t seem possible that anything could stop her. She failed on many things but to her those we hilarious dinner party stories. Nobody wanted to test her on that. She lectures at university, was on the Bar, dancing, literally, when she fell, broke her hand and nearly died from a reaction to the anaesthetic. Another dinner party story. But my sister was determined to live life to the max. I cheer for her the entire way. I walk alongside her while she swam a canal. We don’t eat out of each other’s pocket, don’t always spend Christmas together or call. I think it’s the perfect model of a coaching relationship. Respectful, honest, detached and yet, caring enough to want what she wants and support each other in every way we can.