TRIBUTE: Much-loved family man gone too soon
THE South Burnett community is still coming to terms with the sudden death of much-loved family man Jason Brown.
None moreso than his wife Kylie and their two teenage children.
Jason, a long-time Boehringer employee, died suddendly on Thursday, November 7 by suicide.
He was only 42.
Kylie first met Jason back in 1998 when he caught her eye at an Ipswich service station she worked at.
A few irresistible moves on the dance floor and a few romantic dates later, and they were married in 2000.
Their children Mitchell and Kiearah came along soon after, and from the outside looking in, the Browns had the perfect family life.
But Jason was challenged by internal demons.
Kylie recalls she noticed Jason struggling with his mental health about 10 years ago.
"I noticed things the whole way through," she said.
"Probably about three years ago it got really bad and the drinking got heavier. He went to the doctors and got put on antidepressants."
But in recent times, Kylie believed her husband had turned a corner and was in a good place.
"Five months ago Jason started seeking help," she said.
"He went off alcohol and got very fit.
"He was seeing a psychiatrist, going to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), seeing doctors and taking medication."
So, when she received the news of Jason's death, Kylie's life turned upside down.
"We celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary on the Monday and went out to tea," Kylie said.
"We had a great laugh.
"We celebrated Mitchell's 18th birthday the next day, and then we went to Kingaroy State High for an info night, because Kiearah is going there next year.
"Thursday night he didn't come home."
The close-knit Kingaroy family is now picking up the pieces and coming to terms with their tragic loss.
"I honestly thought he had turned the corner," Kylie said.
"Even the psychiatrist said it came as a massive shock. He had spoken to Jason a week beforehand and had said how positive he was for the future."
In the past couple of months, Mitchell had a lot of honest and emotional conversations with his dad.
"Dad told me everything," he said.
"As a young male it's hard seeing your father cry."
He recalls his father's loving nature, and says his fondest memory is of him teaching him to ride a motorbike.
"He was a very generous person," Mitchell said.
"No matter who it was, he would always try to lend a hand.
"He was good at teaching me to drive.
"But he got more frustrated when I was learning to ride a motorbike.
"He said, 'if you fall off you get back up and try again'."
"I grew up learning that it doesn't matter how much it hurts, you don't give up."
Daddy's girl, Kiearah, remembers her dad's competitive nature at the family board game evenings.
"He was very competitive," she said.
"It didn't matter that we were his kids, he would still try and beat us."
Jason's death has shattered the Brown family, and has had a knock-on effect right across the community.
"What we are feeling now is not something you would wish on your worst enemy," Mitchell said.
"Lots of people are affected. It's that ripple effect.
"All the way out to people who you never thought would care, but they do care.
"What would have surprised Jason were the number of people at his funeral and who respected him and are very saddened by what has happened."
Jason's sudden death has left Kylie with questions that will never get answers.
"Why?" she said.
"You said that you loved us and you would do anything for us, so why do this?"
The Browns are bravely doing their best to get on with their lives and have been overwhelmed by support from friends, family and the South Burnett community.
"One of my girlfriends rings me every day and comes and visits," Kylie said.
"Other friends will take us out for tea."
After the devastation they have been through and continue to experience, Kylie and her children encouraged anyone going through dark times to seek help before it became too overwhelming.
"You may think that no one cares, but people do care," Kylie said.
"Your family do care, your friends do care.
"You may feel like there is no hope, but there is hope.
"Jason wasn't a talker, but he would've had to have known how much love was around him.
"Just because you think you can't do any good to anyone, it's not true.
"It really isn't."