Cameron Morrissey is dead. He killed himself earlier this week.
I met Cameron when we both started Year 6 together at Blue Mountains Grammar School back in 1992. Cameron and I were on our own table at the back of the room together in Mr Hewitt’s class and we spent the whole year in each others’ company.
My earliest memory of Cameron is sitting together on our table in the back row on the first day of Year 6. We were writing our names on our new exercise books and Cameron wrote “Cameron Roy”, then, realising his mistake, neatly crossed out the “Roy” and continued “Morrissey”. That confused me. What had happened there?
Eventually I was to find out that Morrissey had lost his biological father, surname “Royle”, and his mother had remarried a “Morrissey”. An absolutely heart-breaking thing to witness a small child do — making a mistake with his new identity — and the memory stayed with me forever, always colouring my regard of Cameron. To me he has always been a brave, tormented and beautiful soul, and when I think of him I will always remember that poor child who had to deal with the loss of his father.
In Year 6 Cameron and I spent heaps of time together. We both got the train, me from Glenbrook, Morrissey from Blaxland, and we spent an hour each way to school every day. Morrissey always used to play my Gameboy which I shared with him to play Mario — I think Morrissey considered that Gameboy essentially his own!
After Year 6 we went into high-school together and started to see less of each other. We were in different classes. Morrissey played volleyball while I played rugby. We didn’t see as much of each other but we had that kind of tempered and enduring friendship that happens when you’ve been childhood friends for so long.
So as it was I stayed in contact with Morrissey over the years, as we each went our separate ways, and he would always take my calls and talk with me about everything from what’s going on in his life through to the meaning of life.
I’ve always worried about Morrissey committing suicide. He had a troubled life. Things obviously weren’t working out particularly well for him. I stayed in touch with him as he moved to Canberra, and then later out West to find his fortune in the Australian mining industry, but apparently that didn’t really work out.
I think Morrissey deserved more out of life than he got, and I think it’s a poor indictment of our community that Cameron was lead to kill himself. I will miss him — and regret the loss of him — for the rest of my life. The world is a smaller and darker place without him. RIP my friend.