THE death of Albury teenager Mary Baker has touched many lives on the Border, but for country singer Korey Livy it was particularly painful.
The Jindera guitarist was there for the final moments of Mary’s life, which she had decided to end in 2011.
He had never met the 15-year-old and faced with such a tragic situation he felt helpless.
Sadly Livy believes fate had placed him there for a reason which only became clear after the suicide of his own father Gerard later the same year.
“I was a bit lost and didn’t understand why I was there if I couldn’t do anything to help, but when I lost my dad it was then that I learnt a valuable lesson with Mary,” Livy said.
It’s something he reflects on in liner notes to his CD Route 63, which features songs he will perform at tomorrow’s Winter Solstice for Survivors of Suicide night, which has been organised by Mary’s parents Stuart and Annette Baker.
“Mary Baker, I never had the honour of knowing you before you had your wings, yet you changed my life in the most profound way,” Livy, a father of three, wrote.
“You helped me understand depression and how devastating this disease can be.
“You gave me the most precious gift, an understanding and acceptance for what I cannot change.
“This lesson was soon to be put to the test only months after our worlds collided, my dad, Gerard Livy also lost his silent battle to the same disease.
“Although you did not win your battles, you were messengers to encourage me to keep fighting my own battle.”
For Livy his own fight against depression saw him contemplate suicide as he dealt with “an anxious feeling that cripples you in such a way that no matter what you to do stop it, it just won’t go away”.
Coping with memories of army life and the deaths of military mates, a failing marriage and the fallout on his mental health saw him give up music for a few years.
His guitar sat idle as he turned to alcohol in despair as his now wife Erica tried to help.
“She didn’t judge me which I think is really important when you talk about people with depression,” Livy said.
“It was 8am and I was drinking beer and I remember she was walking past and I was embarrassed and she put a hand on my shoulder and just said ‘you do what you need to do’.
“She was not judgemental, just understanding and I dragged myself out of it without the added pressure of someone telling me what I was doing was wrong, because I knew it was wrong.”
Livy only met Mary’s parents in the past three months and is pleased to contribute to the Winter Solstice occasion.
“It’s going to be an emotional night,” he said.
“I’m going to put my heart on my sleeve in telling some stories between those songs and describing how those songs have affected my life.
“It’s something where I have to be courageous, I have to not worry about how I come across.”
Livy will be supporting fellow country singer Catherine Britt in a concert at Wodonga’s The Cube following ceremonies outside.
Tickets can be bought at The Cube’s website or on the night.
IF YOU NEED HELP Lifeline: 13 11 14 Kids Help Line: 1800 551 800 SANE Australia: 1800 187 263 (Monday-Friday 9am to 5pm) Suicide Helpline: 1300 651 251 NSW Rural Mental Health Support Line: 1800 201 123 Upper Hume Community Health Service: 1800 657 573